Migration trends: North Carolina is the U-Haul No. 3 growth state

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 4, 2024

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North Carolina is the No. 3 growth state in the U.S., moving up one spot from its previous ranking, according to the U-Haul Growth Index analyzing one-way customer moves during 2023. It is the fourth time in the last five years that North Carolina has registered as a top-10 growth state.

One-way U-Haul customers arriving in North Carolina fell 1 percent from 2022, but departures fell almost 2 percent as overall moving traffic slowed.

Do-it-yourself movers arriving in the Tar Heel State accounted for about 51 percent of all one-way U-Haul traffic in and out of North Carolina (49 percent departures) to keep it a leading growth state.

North Carolina’s top growth markets include Charlotte, Wake Forest, Wilmington and Asheville. Other notable net-gain cities include Garner, Greenville, Sanford, Chapel Hill, Gastonia and New Bern.

“People are moving to North Carolina because it’s such a diverse state,” said Kay Church, U-Haul of West Charlotte president. We have mountains and beaches, small towns and big cities. You name it, you can find it in North Carolina.

“I think a lot of people are sick of living in expensive, urban areas. North Carolina is a great place to live because it still has country vibes. Everyone is kind to each other, and people really care about their neighbors and their communities. You can get more bang for your buck in North Carolina. It’s an affordable state with lots of natural beauty. We also have relatively mild weather, which seems to attract people from northern states.”

The U-Haul Growth Index is compiled according to the net gain of one-way U-Haul trucks, trailers and U-Box moving containers arriving in a city or state, versus departing from that city or state, in a calendar year. Migration trends data is compiled from more than 2.5 million one-way U-Haul customer transactions that occur annually across the U.S. and Canada.

Texas and Florida top the growth state rankings. South Carolina and Tennessee round out the top five. California ranks 50th for the fourth year in a row with the largest net loss of one-way U-Haul customers.