FILE - Moving truck, U-Haul

Tim Patterson | Flickr via Creative Commons

Florida has dethroned Texas as the state with the highest percentage of one-way inbound U-Haul rentals, yet another confirmation that more than retirees and tourists are funneling into the Sunshine State.

According to U-Haul’s annual “Migration Trends Data” report released Monday, Florida arrivals of one-way U-Haul trucks increased 1 percent while departures were down 1 percent, earning it the company’s status as the “number one growth state” for the first time since 2015.

In 2018, inbound U-Haul rentals increased by 8 percent, but one-way rentals headed out of the state spiked by 9 percent, placing Florida behind Texas for the third consecutive year.

The company’s analysis of 2 million one-way rentals from 22,000 truck-and-trailer rental sites across 50 states and 10 Canadian provinces last year follows last week’s release of U.S. Census Bureau’s estimates for 2019 state populations in advance of this year’s official census count.

The Census Bureau estimates the state’s population grew by 2.6 million new residents between 2010-19 as Florida surpassed New York to become the nation’s third most-populous state with 21.5 million residents.

About 1.1 million of the newcomers came from other countries, with a significant influx from Puerto Rico. The Census Bureau counts people moving from Puerto Rico to Florida as immigrants despite the fact that they are American citizens.

The state’s population is growing at a rate of 1,000 new residents a day, state officials often say, and is projected to grow to at least 26 million by 2030; some estimates top 30 million.

U-Haul’s “Migration Trends Data” may not “correlate directly to population or economic growth,” the company states, but its “growth data is an effective gauge of how well cities and states are attracting and maintaining residents,” it maintains.

The company calculates “growth states” by the net gain of one-way U-Haul trucks entering a state versus those leaving that same state during a calendar year.

According to its report, Kissimmee, Ocala, West Palm Beach, Port Saint Lucie and the Bradenton-Sarasota corridor attracted the most in-bound one-way rentals.

“Central Florida is really booming,” U-Haul Company of Orlando President Miguel Caminos commented in the report. “I can’t think of any major suburb where there aren’t home developments or new shopping centers being built.”

Caminos cited the state’s job growth rate and low taxes. Florida has no income tax.

Through November, Florida gained 217,400 jobs last year, an increase of 2.5 percent, according to the state’s Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO). The state’s seasonally adjusted total nonagricultural employment was 9,089,900 in November.

“There’s an expectation of comfort for people moving here. They know there are jobs,” he said. “Plus, there are tons of attractions, and our state is family-friendly. The weather is perfect, and no matter where you live, you’re less than an hour from the beach.”

Trailing Florida as the top destination for do-it-yourself movers was Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina and Washington state.

Alabama had the largest year-over-year increase in one-way rentals heading into the state, surging from 42nd in 2018 to No. 6 in U-Haul’s rankings. Ohio, Utah, Indiana and Vermont rounded out the top 10.

Illinois led the nation in the most out-bound one-way rentals for the fourth time in five years, while California was second in the negative side of the ledger.