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Thoughts on Migration Patterns

One of my favorite Seinfeld lines came when Jerry explained why his parents moved to Florida. “They turned sixty, and that’s the law.”

Every year, Atlas Van Lines analyzes the origins and destinations of interstate moves it handles. The idea is to get a 20,000 foot view of people’s moving patterns. Which states see an influx? Which ones see an exodus?

PA Last 10 Years Migration PatternsLooking at the numbers for Pennsylvania, for the last two years we have been classified as “outbound.” Which means more than 55 percent of Atlas moves in or out of Pennsylvania have been outbound. This movement reverses a 12-year trend in which Pennsylvania was considered “balanced.” That is, neither inbound nor outbound moves accounted for 55 percent or more of moves to and from the state. If we turn the calendar back a little further, we notice Pennsylvania was considered outbound from 1995 to 2000.

Statisticians have fun trying to guess what causes these kinds of shifts in moving patterns. I think the biggest influencers are opportunity and climate. As for the first, the 2014 numbers may well reflect a loss of opportunity in recent years. In August, the Keystone Research Center released a report on the commonwealth’s lackluster economic performance since 2010. Pennsylvania scored below average in job growth, joblessness, wages and income, and economic growth. The commonwealth’s overall grade was a C-minus. Clearly, such factors indicate people are likely to find greener career pastures elsewhere.

As for climate, a southerly draw is always likely. Perhaps the harsh weather events of recent memory influenced some to leave seek more temperate surroundings. You may recall in October of 2012, Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on the mid-Atlantic region. Although New Jersey took the worst of it, Pennsylvania saw significant power outages, evacuations, and storm-related fatalities. However, adverse weather events can take place anywhere, anytime. So I don’t attach too much significance to one storm. (But Sandy was one heckuva storm.)

While it may be tempting to look at outbound numbers and see the hole instead of the donut, there’s a good case to make for Pennsylvania as a destination. Honest, hardworking, and educated people live here. The topography varies from beautiful to breathtaking. And this area is a prime location for doing business. Did you know that 60% of the U.S. and Canada are within one day’s drive of our commonwealth?

Those of us who live in Pennsylvania know it to be a great place to live and work. Our business, Weleski Transfer, has had roots in Pennsylvania since 1909. We’re proud to be here, and the climate has been good for us all the way around.

Check out the full 2014 Migration Patterns Report from Atlas, and the Migration Patterns Infographic, which provides a snapshot of the 2014 patterns as well as past 10 years data.