Oregon has once again topped the list of a national survey of people relocating from elsewhere, making the Beaver State the top moving destination of 2014.

United Van Lines, one of the largest moving companies in the country, releases an annual report that examines data on the number of shipments between states to keep track of the rate people are entering and leaving each states.

For the last several years, Oregon has consistently come in near the top of that list. In both 2013 and 2014, in fact, it dominated.

In last year alone, 66 percent of Oregon’s moves were of people coming into the state — an increase of five percentage point from 2013.

So what makes Oregon such a popular relocation destination? Survey says: They’re coming to Oregon for a job or to retire.

United Van Lines surveyed a sample of those who used their services to ask for the reason behind the move; 55 percent of respondents said they were moving to Oregon for a company transfer or to take a new job. Another 29 percent said they were coming to the Beaver State to retire.

“There’s a sort of younger, highly-educated, higher-income person coming to Oregon over the last year and a half,” said Michael Stoll, an economist and professor of public policy at the University of California Los Angeles. “Oregon’s employment growth has accelerated from some lackluster employment numbers, and there’s been an acceleration of employment opportunities in Oregon.”

The trend of moving for a job is indicative of the whole Pacific Northwest, Stoll said. But Oregon does include some factors that make it uniquely appealing.

“There’s also the lifestyle amenities that Oregon has to offer,” Stoll said. “Oregon is consistently top of the list for living standard indices that’s characterized by abundant green space and recreational activities.”

Oregon’s economy has been in steady recovery over the last several years, which is contributing to more and more people moving to the state for jobs.

But a high quality of life and affordable cost of living has also made Oregon attractive to retirees.

“Looking at it nationally, a lot of those people are coming from California, which is characterized by high housing costs,” Stoll said. “Moving to Oregon is a lower-cost state, but it also has all those amenities and it’s less congested. I would think that pattern will continue into the foreseeable future.”

The 29 percent who said they were coming to Oregon to retire was substantially higher than the region writ large — including Washington and California.

“What makes Oregon different is the large retirement stream,” Stoll said. “You can see in the data, there’s the younger, more affluent and more educated coming for jobs, and then there’s the older population of retirees, so there’s two streams there.”

lfosmire@StatesmanJournal.com, (503) 399-6709 or follow on Twitter at @fosmirel

Moving in, Moving out

Moving in

The top inbound states of 2014 (percentage* inbound in parentheses):

  1. Oregon (66.4)
  2. South Carolina (61.4)
  3. North Carolina (60.5)
  4. Vermont (59.4)
  5. Florida (58.9)
  6. Nevada (57.3)
  7. Texas (57)
  8. District of Columbia (56.8)
  9. Oklahoma (56.6)
  10. Idaho (55.5)

Moving out

The top outbound states for 2014 (percentage* outbound in parentheses):

  1. New Jersey (64.9)
  2. New York (64.1)
  3. Illinois (63.4)
  4. North Dakota (60.5)
  5. West Virginia (60.1)
  6. Ohio (59)
  7. Kansas (58.2)
  8. New Mexico (57.4)
  9. Pennsylvania (56.8)
  10. tie Conn., Mass. (56.7)

*State percentage refers to that portion of all moves that were either inbound or outbound

Source: United Van Lines

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