(The Center Square) – North Carolina is one of the top 10 states in the U.S. for inbound migration, according to the 2020 National Movers Study.
The United Van Lines' study, which was released earlier this month, tracks customers' state-to-state migration patterns. North Carolina was the state with the sixth-highest percentage of inbound migration (60%) in 2020.
Data analysts said the COVID-19 pandemic was a significant factor in many Americans' decision to move out of state.
"As the largest household goods mover in the country, United Van Lines' data-driven insights uniquely point to national trends and, this year particularly, the resounding impact of COVID-19 on moving choices and the moving industry," said Eily Cummings, director of corporate communications at United Van Lines. "For example, as more people experience job and lifestyle changes amid the pandemic like remote working, we're seeing they have more flexibility in where they can live – many choosing to move from urban to more rural areas."
Data showed major metropolitan areas such as New York City; Newark, N.J.; and Chicago saw greater outbound migration. A lower-density city, such as Wilmington, saw the highest level of inbound moves. The Charlotte-Gastonia and Greensboro-Winston metropolitan areas ranked in the top 20 for inbound migration among cities.
Changes in employment status and the ability to work remotely influenced 57% of Americans' decision to move in 2020, and 53% of movers said they desired a lifestyle change or better quality of life.
About 4.3% said they moved to North Carolina in 2020 because of the cost of living, placing North Carolina seventh among other states. About 60% of Americans who moved because of the pandemic said they had health and well-being concerns, and 59% wanted to be closer to relatives because of the coronavirus outbreak.
North Carolina ranked 10th for retirement-motivated moves. The state exempts Social Security benefits from tax calculations, which could lead to a better qualify of life for retirees.
Tax climate can be a decision-making factor for where people choose to move, and North Carolina has one of the best business tax climates in the country, according to the Tax Foundation.
The state ranks 10th out of 50 states for its overall business tax climate, according to the Tax Foundation's 2021 State Business Tax Climate Index. North Carolina received an overall score of 5.51 out of 10 for its business climate from the Tax Foundation.
Contributing to North Carolina's Tax Foundation score was its corporate tax ranking, which ranked fourth in the U.S. North Carolina's top corporate tax rate is 2.5%. The state also ranked 10th in the business climate index for its base unemployment tax rate of 1.9%
Gov. Roy Cooper said Thursday many companies find North Carolina attractive because of its tax policies, diversity, inclusion and qualified workforce.
"CEOs in some parts of the country have had soul-searching conversations during the past 10 months. Many of them decided it would be worthwhile to consider relocating to a state like North Carolina," Cooper said during an economic forum. "They've seen the sound fiscal policies, the good education system, and they've seen steady, stable leadership that's guided the state through the pandemic."