Image credit: Atlas Van Lines

Virginia has not been one of the nation’s fastest growing states but it has consistently enjoyed a healthy net in-migration from other states. In other words, for years more people have moved into Virginia than moved out.

That likely changed in 2014. According to Atlas Van Lines moving records based on nearly 77,000 interstate and cross-border household relocations, more households moved out of Virginia — 66 to be precise — than moved in last year. Now, that’s just Atlas Van Line customers, not everyone. Atlas’ sample size is so small compared to total migration and the margin of out-migration is so tiny, that it’s conceivable that Virginia actually gained population through in-migration. Of course, it’s also possible the Atlas sample was biased the other way and that the Old Dominion lost more than indicated by the numbers.

What really matters is the trend. I’ve reformatted the numbers from the table above: inmigration_trend

Declining movement between states is a national trend, usually attributed to people being locked in by the prices of their houses. Still, there are two obvious inflection points in the Virginia numbers: between 2009 and 2010, outbound migration took a jump up, and between 2011 and 2012, in-migration took a nose dive. The latter can be attributed to sequestration and federal cuts. I have no ready explanation for the former. Any ideas?


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  1. LarrytheG Avatar

    First – I’d like to validate the data by comparing it to the Census American Community Survey:

    unfortunately it’s in xls format which I am ashamed to admit but I don’t
    like messing with it.. between Microsoft and GOOGLE both disowning the formats at times.. but even after they take it – I’ am incompetent at manipulating except for the most simple things..

  2. As you say,it’s a small sample. Further skewed by the small slice of the population whose employers will afford them a move by one of the old-line moving companies. I wonder if there’s a more localized or SMSA-specific breakdown of Atlas’ data that might correlate better with other known local factors?

  3. […] Jim Bacon over at Bacon’s Rebellion has some great questions about Virginia’s current emigration problem: […]

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