I realize that PMI’s 2019 National
Conference isn’t until October. Theoretically none of you
will be forced to defend your home state until then. Unless
you’re working on virtual teams, whereupon you might well be
asked your opinion about the click-bait thrown at you by a
First, the bad news: the media is having a field day with
NJ’s #1 ranking in percentage of people moving out vs
percentage of people moving in; News12
are perpetrators. CNBC
went as far as to title an article: Why people are
fleeing this state more than any other!
These hacks are citing the 2018 National Movers Study. The
data is collected annually by United
, the nation’s largest household goods mover,
according to their press release. There are interesting
insights in this data – and we’ll get to that in a bit.
Second, the good news: Three counties in NJ made MSN Money’s
list of MSN Money compared counties using American Community
Survey data (from the Census Bureau) to rank the 25 best US
Counties in which to live. Judges were looking for places
where one’s neighbors would be uniformly healthy, wealthy
The article placed Somerset County at #15, Morris County at
#16 and Hunterdon Count at #17. Colorado had more counties
listed (including the #1 spot) and California also had three
counties listed. New Jersey, a smaller state, can feel pride
Back to topping the list of net exits in percentage terms.
The actual difference between outbound and inbound moves is
1,488 households. We do not know family size, though we can
assume that the total number is 3,000 or more. In a state of
9-million people, the net loss of a few thousand people is a
The same study showed New York experienced a net loss of
1,784 household units. Connecticut, a small state, was down
830 net; Massachusetts lost-on-net 567; Michigan lost-on-net
508. Illinois and California had a greater exodus. Then
again, like New York, those are much more populous states
To provide a sense of perspective, the Morris County
Economic Development Corporation
plotted the household
shipments in and outbound in states with a similar
population to New Jersey.
Household Moves in States of 7.5M -
It’s true that New Jersey does have the greatest percentage
difference between inbound and outbound, but not the numbers
themselves. Without explaining that, CNBC goes onto say that
the top reason residents left was for a professional
opportunity, i.e. listing "job" as the deciding factor.
What was left unsaid, is that "job" is the primary reason
that people came into the state as well. See chart below.
On the doughnut chart, the inner ring shows the relative
percentages of those moving into the state. [That is, the
households using United Van Lines for the move in.] This can
be compared with the outer ring which shows the relative
percentages of those moving out of the state.
The data also tells us that New Jersians either stay put or
move themselves across state lines. The traffic in / out of
NJ is modest compared to other states. One might also guess
that, because we are an immigrant-friendly state, many
households pack the car or rent a truck to move in. When
they gain enough wealth, they can afford to hire someone to
move them out. If there’s an outflow of wealth from this
state because that's why people came here. Yet according to
the United Van Lines data, the affluent move in and out of
NJ at the same rate. Apparently, the system is working.