FILE - Moving truck, U-Haul

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(The Center Square) – South Carolina ranked fourth in the nation for growth in 2021 based on U-Haul's annual growth index.

U-Haul uses moving transactional data to create the U-Haul Growth Index. It calculates growth states by the net gain of one-way U-Haul trucks entering a state versus leaving that state in a calendar year.

Texas, Florida and Tennessee topped the list ahead of South Carolina. California, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Alabama were at the bottom of the index and represented losses.

“South Carolina’s coastal communities are expanding as we see huge numbers of retirees moving in,” said Matt McCoy, U-Haul Company of Southern Atlantic Coast president. “We also see people from the northern U.S. and Canada who are looking to escape the cold and are searching for an affordable beach home. Cost of living is still reasonable here, and with many opportunities to work from home, people are able to really choose where they want to live.”

One-way U-Haul trucks into South Carolina increased 22% from 2020, and outbound trucks increased by 20%. South Carolina was 15th in 2020's index but was third in 2019 and fourth in 2018.

U-Haul noted South Carolina’s top growth cities were Myrtle Beach, Greenville, the North Myrtle Beach-Little River market, the Charleston-North Charleston market, Spartanburg and Bluffton. Aiken, Indian Land, Goose Creek, Moncks Corner and Sumter also had positive net gains.

“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,” the company said.

South Carolina was third in inbound shipments in United Van Lines' 45th annual National Movers Study with 63% of the more than 5,500 shipments tracked being inbound. Myrtle Beach was the No. 7 ranked metropolitan statistical area with 76% of its movement inbound.

South Carolina ranked second with 36.6% of movers surveyed saying they moved to retire, ranked sixth with 23.7% saying they were looking for a lifestyle change and ranked atop the list of states where those surveyed said cost of living was a large factor (13.3%).

Staff Reporter

Jon Styf is an award-winning editor and reporter who has worked in Illinois, Texas, Wisconsin, Florida and Michigan in local newsrooms over the past 20 years, working for Shaw Media, Hearst and several other companies.