Campion: Moving in, moving out, and moving on

By Chris Campion

Vermont Business Magazine recently published an article titled “Vermont tops moving-in list for second year“, based on an annual United Van Lines movers’ study. While the title is interesting, the article itself is misleading, as it’s based on a percentage of all moves (inbound and outbound), not a raw number.

Vermont topped the list of Top Moving Destinations of 2018 according to the 2018 National Movers Study by United Van Lines, the nation’s largest household goods mover. In 2018, more residents moved into Vermont than out of the state, with 72.6 percent of moves being inbound. This marks the second straight year that Vermont is the top inbound moving destination in the US.

Vermont is only the top inbound moving destination, by percentage of total moves, not the total count of moves.

The study also found that the state with the highest percentage of inbound migration was Vermont (72.6 percent), with 234 total moves. Oregon, which had 3,346 total moves, experienced the second highest percentage nationally, with 63.8 percent inbound moves.

So Oregon places second to Vermont, even though it had over 14 times the volume of in-bounds, compared to Vermont. In other words, no, people are not flocking to Vermont. Oregon, maybe, but not Vermont.

The reasons why people move into and out of Vermont are extremely telling. For people moving into Vermont, 34 percent are moving in for a job. But 86 percent of people moving out of Vermont are moving out for a job.

In other words, there’s a 3-1 ratio of people moving out of Vermont vs. moving in, for employment reasons. The only thing making up the difference, in terms of net in-bounds, is people moving to Vermont for retirement, almost 1/3 of all in-bounds. As the article goes on to state: “The study reveals that those moving into Vermont are older and wealthier and most often move here as a retirement destination. Those moving out are younger and tend to do so for a job elsewhere.”

Young Vermonters leave Vermont because it’s such a challenge to find well-compensated employment, and the cost of living is so high. In-bound retirees tend to have the highest incomes and the ability to afford homes in Vermont, and the attendant property taxes. One third of in-bounds is 65 or over. Almost two-thirds of in-bounds are age 55 or older.

Vermont is 47 of 50 states in terms of population growth, based on census data and 2018 estimates.  That’s a net change of roughly 500 people, out of 625,000, a couple hundred of that numbers due to in-bound movers.  Vermont’s population growth is the lowest in the country, as of 2005 data, of 10.1 births per 1,000 people – Utah is twice that rate.

Vermont’s problems with its demographics are so bad, that the state is actually paying people to move to Vermont, as if a small financial incentive will overturn decades of work establishing Vermont as one of the worst business climates in the country.  Even though South Burlington made USA Today’s list of best cities to live in, by state, if you look at the income to home value ratio, it’s perfectly clear why fewer young people are staying or moving to Vermont (data from the article):



Selling Vermont as a great place to live is easy, if you don’t have to contend with messy details like being able to afford to live there.  When Vermont’s politicians are busy celebrating their fine work in legalizing marijuana (which is a layup in terms of effort) instead of addressing the critical core failings of Vermont’s “leadership” for the past 40 years, the outlook for those remaining is darker than ever, and a long slow ride into oblivion awaits.

Chris Campion is a business analyst who worked for decades in leading organizations in Vermont. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Dwight Burdette

11 thoughts on “Campion: Moving in, moving out, and moving on

  1. The only people who use a big moving company like UVL are either wealthy or the employer is paying the cost of the move. Most other folks will move with UHaul or other truck rental.
    If we had more data on that, it would be very telling. Good article and examination Chris.

    • When my family and 3 kids extracted ourselves from VT we certainly didn’t use an expensive moving company. We used ABF freight. They drop the trailer off and you load it pay by the foot used and they haul it and drop it off at our new residence. It’s very reasonably. I asked the fellow when he dropped it off if he has many full ones come in from out of state. He said about 1/2 and many and he sends out.

      The reasons we left Vermont in order:

      1) Taxes
      2) Taxes – Understanding that a Carbon tax was coming sooner rather then later.
      3) Cost of living, including taxes, housing, fuel, and the ever increasing property taxes.
      4) Always looking over my shoulder and hoping next year we don’t get hit with new taxes on my family.
      5) Lack of Job options.
      6) Always having to drop $1000 bucks on car repairs every year to get it to pass inspection.
      7) Looking like a piggy bank to the lawmakers.
      8) Weather

      We did not qualify for a property tax subsidy. We had significant student loans, to the point that most families that had property tax subsidies had more disposable income then we did. Very frustrating paying a $5500 tax bill while your neighbor dishes out less then half that on a more expensive house yet has two new card while we drove 6-12 year old cars.

      By moving we essentially gave our family a 25%-30% raise. We are paid the same as we were in VT. I can now EASILY expect to get 10 years our of a car at the minimum. We can now easily save for our kids education, simply a pipe dream in VT.

      • Our same story. I had friends in VT that would move but they could not make it happen for either family or financial reasons. Our money sure goes farther down here in Tennessee and our emotional well being has never been better.

        • My wife’s family is still in VT. They couldn’t believe it when I sat them down and showed them the numbers on the savings our family incurred moving down here. Now they’re trying to extract themselves from the clutches of liberalism.

  2. The United Van Lines study is flawed. Many of the moves to and from Vermont are facilitated by a Ryder or UHaul rental with hired labor on either end to load and unload. We moved to Florida years ago, purchased a new home and furnished it with purchases at local stores. We didn’t need United Van Lines. We keep the Vermont property as a seasonal home to visit on occasion. We review that decision every year as the property tax is the single largest expense in keeping the house. For similar valued properties, our property tax in Vermont is about double our property taxes in Florida. And the level of public services we receive for those Florida tax dollars are unequaled anywhere in Vermont.

  3. Being one of those who moved out in 2018, we left because of the extreme liberalism of the State government. This lib/prog ideology is responsible for; excessive taxation making it impossible to retire there, the high cost of utilities and fuel, and the insatiable desire to consume my constitutional rights. Every morning when we wake up we’re so glad we left.

    • For those that have kids like myself. School choice is openly encouraged is most if not ALL states in the SE. I have at least 6 schools I can choose to send my kids to school at. Each one tailored to their individual interests and strengths.

  4. Those moving into Vermont haven’t yet been pilfered by Vermonts left, they can afford to rent a commercial moving truck, those moving out…lucky if they still have the shirt on their backs…

  5. Obviously, this study is flawed. No one moved out because of Retirement, Health or Family (or Government which is not on the list) ? Give me a break.
    I thought VBM was a “business” magazine. I guess not. They seem to think the United Van Lines is a reliable indicator.
    Reminds me of the time a few years ago when I was in the Ways & Means committee during the testimony of the leader of the Blue Ribbon Tax Commission. He mentioned that the only indicator they could find about moves came form the IRS. The data they found indicated that the combined income (AGI) of move-ins was more than move-outs, so they felt this negated the theory that folks were moving out because of taxes.
    What they failed to mention was that a major reason for this is that the people who move out tend to increase their income (i.e better jobs) whereas the ones who move in bring their money with them knowing they will be unlikely to realize the income they had when living elsewhere.

    • Blue Ribbon Tax Commission…lol. Lipstick on a pig. When the far-left Vermont Legislature wants our opinion, they’ll give it to us. They’re mission is to save us from ourselves, and they’ll happily ruin the state in their effort.

  6. Vermonters are moving out due to one reason Taxes, Taxes, Taxes with no end in sight,
    because of the Progressive DemocRATs foolish agenda !!

    Wake up Vermont before it’s too late, send these fools packing so you don’t have to.

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