Dothan, Huntsville among top national destinations in 2021, says moving company

Two Alabama metro areas landed among the top 15 in the continental U.S. for the percentage of new arrivals, according to the annual report from moving company United Van Lines.

Dothan – in Alabama’s Wiregrass region in the southeastern part of the state – was the highest ranked Alabama metro in this year’s National Movers Study. In Dothan, 70% of moves involved people arriving rather than leaving, reported United Van Lines. That landed Dothan at No. 11 nationally.

Fast-growing Huntsville was just behind Dothan at No. 14 nationally, with 68% of moves inbound. In the previous year’s study, Huntsville ranked as the fourth most popular destination in America, with 70% of 2020 moves being inbound.

In south Alabama, the Mobile metro area also landed in the top 25 nationally, placing 22nd with 64% of moves coming in.

Alabama overall remained a popular destination in 2021.

For the second consecutive year, Alabama ranked in the top 10 for inbound movers in the annual National Movers Study from moving company United Van Lines. More than 62% of moves to or from the Yellowhammer state were inbound, which ranked 6th best in the lower 48 states.

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Alabama ranked behind Vermont (74% inbound), South Dakota (69%), South Carolina (63%), West Virginia (63%) and Florida (62%).

Alabama has benefitted from a large population boost due to domestic migration, according to recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau. From July 2020 to July 2021, Alabama gained a net of more than 22,000 people from domestic migration – meaning 22,000 more people moved in than moved out. That’s the biggest net increase in population due to domestic migration for Alabama since at least 2011.


United Van Lines listed some reasons for why people chose to move to or from each state. In 2021 the most popular reason to move to Alabama was for a job, with 45% of respondents listing that as the reason for their move. Nearly 27% of movers came here for family, the second most popular reason to move here.

But jobs and family were also big reasons why people moved away from Alabama. There was one big reason why people moved to the Yellowhammer State that wasn’t also a reason to move away: Retirement.

More than 16% of people who moved in came here to retired, compared to just 9% of people who moved out.

Do you have an idea for a data story about Alabama? Email Ramsey Archibald at [email protected], and follow him on Twitter @RamseyArchibald. Read more Alabama data stories here.