The Most Sought-After Places to Move to in the U.S.

Idahoans, if you’ve been noticing a lot more out-of-state license plates in your area, your eyes aren’t deceiving you. It’s no secret that as the pandemic upended our lives, many people started dreaming of wide open spaces, ditching their city dwellings for suburban homes. Low interest rates made the thought of ending your lease and buying a home hotter than ever, and it seems many people shifted their focus to Idaho.

According to United Van Lines’s annual migration study, most of the company’s moves brought people to the Gem State, as part of a larger shift to the west and south. Here, the top five states people are moving to, why they’re so appealing right now and what cities to consider checking out, if you’re considering making moves yourself.

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best places to move idaho
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1. Idaho

Idaho may not get top billing as a tourist destination, but it’s been a popular place to move for the past few years. Why? Well, it’s not just for the bucolic backdrop and people’s love of spuds; the cost of living is nearly 8 percent lower than the national average, a fact that most people in United Van Lines’ study cited as their primary motivation for moving.

It’s also renowned for its hiking and fishing—two socially distant ways to embrace friluftsliv (and just get out of the house)—and has been deemed one of the ten safest states in America, according to U.S. News & World Report. In these uncertain times, a sense of security and stability may be more powerful than ever.

Popular Cities to Move to:

  • Moscow, a college town with a strong arts and culture scene
  • Boise, the capital (and top pick in the study), which boasts low unemployment rates and a booming real estate market
  • Coeur d’Alene, a postcard-esque town surrounded by mountains and a lake (making it a popular destination for skiers)

Airbnbs to Check Out Before You Move*:

best places to move charleston
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2. South Carolina

Baby Boomers aren’t just heading to Florida when they retire; it was a top reason people moved to South Carolina, according to the study. Like Idaho, it has a lower cost of living than most states, and the state also boasts low property taxes and median home values that are much lower than the national average (as in, roughly $60,000 lower, Zillow reports). It doesn’t hurt that you’re never more than a few hours from the beach or the mountains either.

Popular Cities to Move to:

  • Charleston, a charming city renowned for its Southern food
  • Greenville, one of SC’s most affordable places to live, located right by the Blue Ridge Mountains
  • Columbia, home to the University of South Carolina, the Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, and the Columbia Museum of Art

Airbnbs to Check Out Before You Move*:

best places to move oregon
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3. Oregon

Blame it on the enduring popularity of Portlandia. Or the fact that there’s no sales tax. Or the fact that this one state houses both the world’s tallest barber pole and a carousel museum. Whatever the reason, people have been flocking to Oregon for years, and 2020 was no different. Most people in the study cited “personal/health reasons” for their decision to head to the Beaver State, which aligns with what real estate agents are seeing. “Most of my clients have been moving and wanting to get away from…the demands of being in a large city, the kind of chaos of being in a large city," Portland-based broker Melissa Ewbank told local news station KATU.

Popular Cities to Move to:

  • Bend, a desert city that’s become known as a “Zoom Town” as remote workers relocate there
  • Corvallis, a college town surrounded by wineries and vineyards
  • Portland, a metro area with a solid art scene and 80 miles of trails to hike

Airbnbs to Check Out Before You Move*:

best places to move sd
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4. South Dakota

If you’re dreaming of a small-town vibe and plenty of space to roam—with the added bonus of no state income tax—South Dakota is for you. The state’s seen a lot of California, Minnesota and Texas transplants, Realtor Brad Stockberger said, with many people finding they can buy a much bigger house there than in the states they came from.

Popular Cities to Move to:

  • Sioux Falls, South Dakota’s largest city and home to 70+ parks
  • Rapid City, known for its proximity to the Black Hills mountains and geology and history museums
  • Watertown, a small town where you can get in touch with nature while exploring the Bramble Park Zoo or view renowned wildlife art at the Redlin Art Center

Airbnbs to Check Out Before You Move*:

best places to move az
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5. Arizona

Arizona dropped from third to fifth most popular place to move in UVL’s annual study, but don’t let that deter you. C’mon, this state is home to the Grand Canyon and tends to flutter between 47 degrees Fahrenheit and 68 in the dead of winter! Tack on relatively low income taxes, and it’s easy to see why it’s a popular destination for people looking for a change of pace. (Though, if warmer weather is a big draw for you, be prepared for triple-digit days in the summer.)

Popular Cities to Move to:

Airbnbs to Check Out Before You Move*:

*If you do visit the cities on this list, please review the state and local area’s travel advisories first and maintain all social distancing guidelines as we fight the spread of COVID-19.

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VP of editorial, recipe developer, kitsch-lover

Candace Davison oversees PureWow's food and home content, as well as its franchises, like the PureWow100 review series and the Happy Kid Awards. She’s covered all things lifestyle...