Updater issued its first list of top destinations Monday, although it’s been tracking the information since its inception in 2011.
The top spot for those picking up stakes and heading out of town was Washington, D.C. Dallas-Fort Worth was second, followed by Los Angeles, New York City, Atlanta, Austin, Houston, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Chicago. Rounding out the top 15 are Orlando, Seattle, Denver, Boston and Phoenix.
“These cities are some of the most attractive places to live. They’re huge markets with nice suburbs. You don’t have to live downtown to have a really great lifestyle,” said Jenna Weinerman, chief marketing officer for Updater. “Americans in general are migrating back to metro areas, [and] suburban metros are on the rise, pushing the city limits further out.”
The real estate website Trulia reports that suburbs have been gaining population since the recession, albeit more slowly than in past decades. The last U.S. census in 2010 found that nearly 81 percent of Americans — more than 249 million people — live in urban areas.
In Boston, a healthy job market turbo-charged by universities and big biotech firms has long been an engine of population growth. In July the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found Boston's non-farm employment rose 2.1 percent compared to the previous year, significantly outpacing the national rate of 1.5 percent.
Boston's place on the list of top moving destinations is a reflection of its booming jobs market, according to Michael Goodman, executive director of the Public Policy Center at UMass Dartmouth.
“With a white-hot job market and numerous higher educational institutions that continue to be a magnet for young persons from across the nation and the world,” Goodman says, “it is not surprising that Boston is considered one of the top destinations for movers in the U.S.”
Massachusetts leads the Northeast in population growth, with all but four of the state's counties seeing a rise in population between July 2015 and July 2016, according to the most recent Census Bureau data. Much of that growth was in Suffolk County, which includes Boston, and neighboring Middlesex County, which is home to crowded suburbs like Cambridge, Somerville and Waltham. The state's population is up 4 percent since the 2010 Census.
It's not just people from other cities in the U.S. that are coming to Boston in droves. Massachusetts' international migration rate was almost double the national average, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Census.
Updater founder and CEO David Greenberg said the 2017 list represents one of the largest sample sizes of Americans who are actually moving, as opposed to real estate listings, housing trends or the lists compiled by individual moving companies. Updater’s data was collected from a subset of 1 million household goods relocations from Jan. 1 through the fourth quarter. The information is sent to Updater by real estate brokerages, property management companies, mortgage lenders and others, and the company’s software systems aggregate it.
“The list reveals that large cities are very attractive destinations for both consumers that move in and the corporations that attract them,” Greenberg said.
Greenberg, who is an attorney, developed Updater after discovering — during a particularly aggravating move — that no app existed to help him choose a moving company, change addresses on accounts and other records or arrange for cable, internet, electricity and other utilities. The company currently employs 72 people and said it helps 16 percent of those making a move in any given year with those details. Since the app came online in 2011, the company says it has saved 1 million users 4.7 million hours.