Florida is the No. 2 growth state in America, coming in just behind Texas, according to 2021 transactional data compiled for the annual U-Haul® Growth Index.
People coming to Florida in one-way U-Haul trucks rose 27% year-over-year, while departures increased 24% from 2020 as overall moving traffic surged.
Arriving customers accounted for 50.7% of all one-way U-Haul traffic in Florida during 2021 to make it a top-two state for netting do-it-yourself movers. Florida was third on the U-Haul growth states list last year, first in 2019, and second behind Texas from 2016-18.
Growth states are calculated by the net gain of one-way U-Haul trucks entering a state versus leaving that state in a calendar year. Migration trends data is compiled from well over 2 million one-way U-Haul truck customer transactions that occur annually.
“Many people started relocating during COVID for political reasons,” said Brady Rome, U-Haul Company of Gainesville president. “Taxes are low in Florida, so people from high-tax rate states are flocking here.”
Tennessee, South Carolina and Arizona round out the top five growth states. It is the second year in a row that Texas, Florida and Tennessee (2020 leading growth state) comprise the top three growth states.
California ranks 50th and Illinois 49th for the second consecutive year, indicating those states saw the largest net losses of one-way U-Haul trucks.
Florida’s top growth cities include the markets of Kissimmee-St. Cloud, Palm Bay-Melbourne, North Port, Fort Myers-North Fort Myers, Clermont, Sarasota-Bradenton, Daytona Beach, Port St. Lucie, Brandon-Riverview and Ocala.
Other notable net-gain cities are Panama City, Neptune Beach, Fort Lauderdale, St. Petersburg and Lakeland.
“Floridians just don’t have to deal with much bad weather. It’s beautiful and warm all the time,” said Dave Thompson, U-Haul Company of Western Florida president. “A lot of people moving here have had winter homes all along. They would come to Florida to escape the snow, and now they are retiring to the same homes and communities.”
While U-Haul migration trends do not correlate directly to population or economic growth, the U-Haul Growth Index is an effective gauge of how well states are both attracting and maintaining residents.
U-Haul is the authority on migration trends thanks to its expansive network that blankets all 50 states and 10 provinces. The geographical coverage from more than 23,000 U-Haul truck- and trailer-sharing locations provides a comprehensive overview of where people are moving like no one else in the industry.