Study: More people leaving state than moving in
Study: State has highest outbound percentage
Kevin McNamara has worked 30 years in the moving business. You don't have to tell him that people are more likely to pack up and leave Connecticut than come here.
This past year, the branch manager of Danbury's Certified Van Service of Connecticut says, his truckers relocated about 100 families from the Hartford area to Charlotte, N.C., and from Fairfield County to Atlanta.
Their jobs had discovered cheaper pastures.
"That was a good piece of business for us," McNamara said. "It's keeping a lot of people busy."
In fact, Connecticut is keeping a lot of movers busy -- that is, if you put much stock in a study published this week by Certified Van's parent network, Atlas Van Lines.
The Evansville, Ind., company issued its 21st annual report on whether its customers who've moved across state lines were exiting or entering each respective state. According to the "2013 Migration Patterns" study, the Nutmeg State is the country's laggard in luring residents.
In fact, of the 2,055 customers Atlas moved in or out of Connecticut, 60 percent of them headed elsewhere -- creating an "outbound ratio" that edged out New York and Indiana (both 59 percent) as the most unbecoming state.
On the other hand, 67 percent of Atlas' customers crossing the North Dakota line were making new homes. The "inbound rate" was also high for North Carolina (60 percent) and Texas (58 percent), rounding out the top three.
"We track these moves to make sure we have capacity and agencies and services in the right places in the country," said Aaron Chenoweth, a marketing specialist at Atlas, in a phone interview Friday.
Chenoweth called the study "not that strong of an indicator" about what's going on in the U.S. economy, but nonetheless, a "significant" one. What struck him this year, he said, was that most states were pretty balanced in terms of residents moving in and out.
Still, the report offers a narrow window into demographic trends and it's of questionable use to researchers and policy makers. The data also offers inconsistencies of scope. For instance, Atlas moved 343 customers in or out of North Dakota, but 14,505 in or out of California for a 53 percent "inbound rate."
There are inconsistencies of location, too. Atlas' nearly 400 U.S. agencies, including Certified Van Service of Connecticut, are not evenly distributed geographically. Nor does Atlas have a monopoly on the moving industry, or data on how many people actually moved in each relocation.
Condon said he'd rather study the U.S. Census' decennial report on migration patterns to judge how Connecticut stacks up in the competition for residents.
By that measure, Connecticut isn't doing so badly. Between 2000 and 2010, the state's population actually grew by 4.9 percent to about 3.57 million -- although, to be fair, the national growth rate was about twice that high and Texas' population ballooned by 21 percent to 25.1 million.
Still, Condon granted of the Atlas study: "It's interesting."
For Kevin Kaster, president and owner of Kaster Moving in Stamford, the study confirms one trend he's recently experienced.
"Texas has been a hotspot the last two years, no question," he said. "An inordinate amount of people from around here are going to Texas."
Brielle Sollinger, assistant marketing manager at Fallon Moving and Storage in Windsor, agreed.
"Texas is big. We also do lots of Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina," she said in a phone interview Friday afternoon.
Keys tapped on the other end of the phone. "Hold on," she said. "I'm pulling up reports."
Retirees, Sollinger concluded, are probably the state's biggest source of out-migration.
"I think we put a lot more people in Florida than anything else," she said.