FILE - U-Haul, moving van

North Carolina greeted more inbound U-Haul trucks versus those that exited than all but two other U.S. states in 2019, evidence that the state is in the midst of a migration boom.

One-way arrivals of U-Haul trucks increased 1 percent while departures were down 2 percent compared to 2018, according to U-Haul’s annual Migration Trends Data report. In ranking third in the 2019 U-Haul study, North Carolina jumped 21 spots from 2018. Only Florida and Texas bested North Carolina in the analysis.

U-Haul determines the “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. U-Haul representatives note that “the company’s growth data is an effective gauge of how well cities and states are attracting and maintaining residents” but does not “correlate directly to population or economic growth.”

However, U-Haul representatives say the in-migration growth could be due to the state’s developing job and housing marketing.

“North Carolina is seeing growth in businesses coming in, which attracts new residents,” said Jason Grider, U-Haul Company of Central North Carolina president. “The housing market is booming. People are moving to the inner cities, as well as to the rural outskirts. With plenty of jobs to choose from, residents from every background are making North Carolina their home.”

Most of the in-migration took place in the Raleigh-Durham area, Wilmington, Clayton, Boone and Hendersonville, according to the U-Haul report. 

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.

North Carolina also ranked high for its percentage and overall population growth from 2010 to 2019, according to the Census data. 

The population increased by 10 percent, more than 952,000 over the last nine years. The state's estimated population is 10.4 million. It ranks fourth for its percentage growth in the nation in 2019, and 13th for its numerical population growth.

About 8.5 percent of North Carolina’s population growth was caused by migration, according to the Census. More than 67,000 migrants were from other states and U.S. territories while 14,000 were international migrants.


Staff Reporter

Nyamekye Daniel has been a journalist for three years. She was the managing editor for the South Florida Media Network and a staff writer for The Miami Times. Daniel's work has also appeared in the Sun-Sentinel, Miami Herald and The New York Times.