A new study finds most millennials stayed put in 2023, but those who did move typically chose red-leaning states and cities over blue locations.

HireAHelper, an online marketplace for finding moving services, recently released its Millennial Migration study, analyzing Census Bureau data to determine how many millennials moved in 2023, where they were moved to, and why. 

Over the past 10 years, the share of millennials who moved has dropped from 21% in 2013 to just under 11% in 2023, which is a sharper drop than the overall national decline in moving.

Economic reasons and lifestyle changes topped the list of reasons for why millennials chose to move, including wanting new or better housing (16%), changing jobs (13%) wanting to establish a household (11%), and wanting to own a home or to find cheaper housing (both 9%).

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The number of millennials moving for more affordable housing is the highest it’s been since 2011, HireAHelper claimed, as mortgage rates and rental prices continue to climb.

The desire for more affordable housing coincides with the study’s findings that millennials typically chose red states and locations over blue states and cities for their big move in 2023. 

Texas attracted the highest number of millennials from out-of-state, according to the study, with about 400,000 from this generation settling down in the Lone Star state.

Montana had the highest net positive migration than any other state, with 95% more millennials moving in than moving away, followed by Connecticut at 56% and Maine at 54%.

Oklahoma, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida, Tennessee and Arizona were the next top locations that enjoyed positive net migration from this generation.

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Moving furniture

HireAHelper spokesperson and consumer advocate Miranda Marquit believes these locations are attractive to those seeking a slower pace of life while still being able to access the amenities major cities nearby offer.

“I think the thing that holds both Montana and Connecticut in common is you have these mid-sized cities that offer some amenities, but also offer what a lot of people would consider a little bit of a slower pace of life. Right?” she remarked.

“So if you’re moving out to Connecticut, you’re moving out for that kind of suburban feel to get a little way away from the hustle and bustle while still having access to maybe a city close by. Now, if you’re moving to Montana, you’re looking for something else, a different kind of lifestyle, I’m sure,” she added. “And so I think that it really depends on what kind of lifestyle are you looking for, what matters to you…”.

Deep blue locations, however, like New York, California, Massachusetts and Illinois saw the highest negative migration rate, with 52%, 39%, 28% and 25% more millennials leaving than moving in, respectively.

Austin, Texas

Washington, D.C., Iowa, Louisiana, Wisconsin, North Dakota and Arkansas also saw more millennials leave than come in.

At the metropolitan level, Tampa, Florida, topped the list of desirable locations, with nearly twice as many people moving there than leaving. Las Vegas, Nevada, and Austin, Texas, were also two top locations for positive millennial net migration. 

More millenials fled New York, San Jose, Los Angeles, Detroit, San Francisco, El Paso, Milwaukee, Chicago and Miami metro areas than came in, the study found.

HireAHelper’s research also found 60% of millennials who wanted to move in 2023 said they couldn’t because of financial strain. Marquit believes the decline is mostly due to a normal life stage shift for this generation, but also reflects current economic challenges. 

Looking ahead, she believes many young adults will continue to stay put as interest rates remain sky-high.

“Right now, I think, though with millennials, with half of them owning their homes, I don’t expect to see a huge jump in millennials moving in 2024. I think many of them are going to stay put, wait and see if mortgage rates come down. Wait and see if the housing prices moderate a little bit. We haven’t seen housing prices come down quite as much as we would have expected them to come down in the last year or two,” she said.

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