Americans are a mobile population, generally comfortable with the idea of moving away from their childhood homes for college, jobs, new ventures or to be closer to family. Some people in the military or corporate jobs have moved as often as every two years. 

Knowing the states that people are moving out of can help insurance agents and brokers plan for the potential loss of clients who relocate to another state. It can also help those agents and brokers provide the best information available to their clients as they transition from one state to another.

Related: Here are the top 10 states people are moving into

It’s important for insurance agents and brokers to review moving patterns because when large numbers of people move away from an area, the situation has a ripple effect on the city or state’s economy. Marginal small businesses — which often make up a majority of a small agency’s clients — could go under from a lack of customers, resulting in one less client for the agency.

United Van Lines, based in Fenton, Missouri, which moves people locally, nationally and internationally, has been tracking which states people are moving to and from for 40 years. They also survey their customers to understand why they’ve chosen to relocate from one state to another.

“This year’s data clearly reflects retirees’ location preferences,” said Michael A. Stoll, economist, professor in the Department of Public Policy at the University of California, Los Angeles. “We are seeing more retirees than ever decide to relocate, and as a result, new retirement hubs are popping up in Western and Southern states. Interestingly enough, these retirees are leaving at such a fast pace that the movement of millennials to urban areas is being overshadowed.”

Here are the top outbound states of 2016, according to United Van Lines’ survey:

Liberty Bell in the Liberty Bell Center in Philadelphia

The Liberty Bell in Liberty Bell Center in Independence National Historical Park. (Photo: iStock)

10. Pennsylvania

The role that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania had to play in the American Revolution and the early years of the U.S. is generally what most people think of when they think of the state, with visions of the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and Benjamin Franklin.

Total shipments in and out of state: 6,868

Total shipments out of state: 3,829

Percent of total shipments: 55.8 percent

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The Utah State Capital building in Salt Lake City. (Photo: iStock)

9. Utah

Although closely identified with the Mormon Church, Utah is also home to beautiful scenery and is well known for its ski resorts — a significant factor in its selection to host the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Total shipments in and out of state: 2,094

Total shipments out of state: 1,172

Percent of total shipments: 56.0 percent

Related: 15 cities with the best-paying cybersecurity jobs

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame building in Cleveland

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame located in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo: iStock)

8. Ohio

Few states bring to mind the Midwest as much as Ohio does, with a mix of manufacturing (steel, autos and appliances) and agriculture, as well as Ohio State University and its celebrated football team. Bordered on the north by Lake Erie, the state’s economy also includes shipping and transportation.

Total shipments in and out of state: 7,049

Total shipments out of state: 3,995

Percent of total shipments: 56.7 percent

Related: 20 most helpful state insurance websites

Coal mine in West Virginia

A coal mine in West Virginia. (Photo: iStock)

7. West Virginia

Most people picture coal mines and rural poverty when they think of West Virginia. The state has added chemicals and biotech to its economy, and several federal agencies have established back-office operations there, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Criminal Justice Services Division and the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Bureau of the Public Debt.

Total shipments in and out of state: 547

Total shipments out of state: 314

Percent of total shipments: 57.4 percent

Related: What insurers should know before ditching coal from investment portfolios

Churchill Downs entrance in Louisville, Kentucky

Main entrance to Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, where the Kentucky Derby is held annually on the first Saturday in May. (Photo: iStock)

6. Kentucky

Probably best known for the Kentucky Derby, the state also has a reputation for tobacco farms and the start of the KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) fast-food chain. It’s also known for bourbon, bluegrass music and horse farms.

Total shipments in and out of state: 2,919

Total shipments out of state: 1,704

Percent of total shipments: 58.4 percent

Related: Profiling insurance pros under 40: Virginia Goff

Misty sunrise over a wheat field in Kansas

A misty sunrise over a wheat field in Kansas. (Photo: iStock)

5. Kansas

Who can forget Dorothy’s famous line in The Wizard of Oz: “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” From the movie, Kansas evokes family farms, rolling wheat fields and tornados. Its economy is still heavily agrarian.

Total shipments in and out of state: 2,329

Total shipments out of state: 1,388

Percent of total shipments: 59.6 percent

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Classic New England church in Avon, Connecticut

Classic New England church in Connecticut. (Photo: iStock)

4. Connecticut

One of the original 13 colonies, many of Connecticut’s towns could be the backdrop for a Norman Rockwell painting of the town green and Congregational Church with its white steeple or the setting of “Moby Dick” in Mystic. Although the defense industry in the state is fading, it’s still home to several large insurance companies and Yale University, one of the top three in the U.S.

Total shipments in and out of state: 3,076

Total shipments out of state: 1,849

Percent of total shipments: 60.1 percent

Related: 10 richest states in America

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls at sunrise, on the American side. (Photo: iStock)

3. New York 

The state of New York, with a population of almost 20 million, ranges from the Big Apple of Manhattan to Niagara Falls on the Canadian border, with cities and towns of all sizes in between. The economy as well has a broad range from agriculture to the financial services found in Wall Street.

Total shipments in and out of state: 8,846

Total shipments out of state: 5,554

Percent of total shipments: 62.8 percent

Related: Proposed changes to NY cybersecurity regs could affect financial institutions 

Wacker Drive in Chicago, Illinois

View of Wacker Drive and train in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo: iStock)

2. Illinois


Illinois
is another state that ranges from sophisticated Chicago at the tip of Lake Michigan to worn out coal towns in the south and farming communities in between.

Total shipments in and out of state: 8,782

Total shipments out of state: 5,521

Percent of total shipments: 62.9 percent

Related: 15 costliest U.S. winter weather events by insured losses, 1980-2015  beach boardwalk in New Jersey

Beach boardwalk in New Jersey. (Photo: iStock)

1. New Jersey

A state with 130 miles of beautiful Atlantic seashore, New Jersey is also home to a number of musicians including the late Frank Sinatra, Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi. It has a diverse economy and culture, from the sophisticated New York City suburbs, to Atlantic City, to Princeton University, to the vegetable farms known.

Total shipments in and out of state: 5,489

Total shipments out of state: 3,471

Percent of total shipments: 63.2 percent

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