Pilgrim State Exodus: The moveBuddha 2023 Massachusetts Migration Report

Massachusetts has seen better days when it comes to domestic moving trends. New moveBuddha data from 2023 shows for every 77 people moving into Massachusetts, 100 are interested in moving out (0.77 ratio).

  • Massachusetts ranks #42 out of 51 nationally (including Washington, D.C.) in 2023 regarding moving interest, according to moveBuddha.
  • South Carolina ranks #1 overall with a ratio of 2.12, while California ranks dead last at #51 with an 0.57 ratio.

How does Massachusetts stack up with the rest of New England? Not good. The Pilgrim State is #5 out of the six states in New England.

  • Maine is the most popular state for movers in New England, with a ratio of 1.34, followed by #2 Vermont (1.22).

The only New England state worse than Massachusetts is #6 Connecticut (0.69). Rhode Island ranks at #4 with a 0.87 ratio.

Massachusetts Timeline: Moving Trends Aren’t Great, But They’ve Improved Post-Pandemic

It could be worse for Massachusetts - and it has been.

  • Massachusetts’ moving ratio of 0.70 in 2020 ranked #47 nationally and was tied with neighboring state Connecticut.

Things have improved since then. Massachusetts ranked #38 nationally in 2021 with a 0.77 ratio and #37 in 2022 with a 0.89 ratio.

Where are Massachusetts residents moving to?

Surprisingly, California is the top state Massachusetts residents are moving to in 2023. The Golden State accounted for 15.61% of all moving interest from departing Massachusetts residents in 2023.

Massachusetts folks are also interested in moving to Florida (14.86%), Texas (7.94%), North Carolina (6.95%), and New York (5.71%).

Massachusetts is mostly trading residents with these states, though

The top states showing interest in moving to Massachusetts are also some of the ones that Pilgrim State residents want to pack their bags for.

The top 5 states sending new residents to Massachusetts are:

  1. California (14.71%)
  2. Florida (11.68%)
  3. New York (7.80%)
  4. Texas (5.66%)
  5. Pennsylvania (5.30%)

Stagnant Growth: Which Massachusetts Cities Are Popular and Which Are Losing Residents?

Some cities in Massachusetts are doing better than others. Thankfully, the state’s top city, Boston, has seen positive move-in interest in 2023. 

  • Boston has a 1.29 in-to-out ratio, by far the best in Massachusetts in 2023, meaning 129 moved in for every 100 moving out.
  • Boston’s moving interest ratio is good for Massachusetts but mediocre nationally. It ranks #148 nationally in 2023.

Only 2 of the 9 Massachusetts cities we studied (Boston and Sudbury) saw positive or neutral moving interest in 2023.

  • The two cities that fared the worst were Quincy (0.38) and Brookline (0.35).
  • Cambridge also had a negative moving interest ratio (0.91).

What Does the Future Hold for Boston?

Boston’s population growth rate pales compared to other fast-growing MSAs throughout the U.S., especially those in the Sunbelt.

  • moveBuddha estimates the Boston MSA will fall from the #11 most populous in the U.S. in 2022 to #21 in 2100 (see the moveBuddha 2100 Population Projections report to dig deeper).
  • The Boston MSA’s growth rate between 2010 and 2020 was 6.83%, which isn’t bad. But it’s nowhere near the level of cities like Austin, Texas, and Raleigh, North Carolina, that boast double-digit growth rates.

Sources & Methodology

This data was collected from January 1, 2020, through June 8, 2023, and includes searches nationwide by individuals who were either planning to move or hire a moving company throughout 2023.

More information about our move data and in-to-out ratio equation can be found in our annual Migration Report.

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