U-Haul Growth Index Reveals Texas and Florida are Top Two Growth States of 2021, With Florida Holding 10 of Top 25 Growth Cities – What It Means for the Self Storage Industry. 

Each year U-Haul releases its Growth Index, formerly the Migration Trends Report, which sheds light on which states and cities are seeing the most growth based on one-way U-Haul truck transactions, as well as net losses based on one-way rentals departing states. Texas and Florida claimed the top two spots last year respectively, receiving the largest net gains of one-way U-Haul trucks in 2021. Tennessee (third), South Carolina (fourth) and Arizona (fifth) rounded out the top five growth states, while California and Illinois saw the greatest net losses. 

The Kissimmee-St. Cloud market in Florida netted the most U-Haul trucks in 2021, after holding the number two spot in 2020 and 2019. In fact, Florida was home to 10 of the top 25 growth cities in 2021. Other Florida cities to make the top 25 are: Fort Myers-North Fort Myers; Clermont; Sarasota-Bradenton; Daytona Beach; Port St. Lucie; Brandon-Riverview; and Ocala. Together, Florida and Texas account for 60% of the top 25 growth cities.

Texas has been in the top two growth states for the last five years, and it also happens to be home to the most self storage facilities. In fact, Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington is the market with the largest self storage inventory in the U.S., with more than 65 million square feet of total self storage inventory. Over the last decade, the Dallas metro area has also ranked No. 1 in the U.S. for self-storage construction, adding around 23 million square feet of new space. 

This doesn’t happen by accident. The self storage industry closely tracks migration data from U-Haul and others to understand both migration and supply and demand trends. For example, if we are seeing an influx of migration to a state with a low self storage supply, that could indicate the market is ripe for new development. On the flip side, if there is a market that is flush with self storage facilities but migration trends indicate a declining population, it may have reached saturation and is not be an ideal market for continued expansion and development.  

While U-Haul migration trends do not correlate directly to population or economic growth, the U-Haul Growth Index is an effective gauge of how well cities are both attracting and maintaining residents. The U-Haul report is always full of interesting insights. We encourage you to check it out state and city reports. 

Migration to southern states continues to be magnified by the lingering pandemic, and no state netted more U-Haul® customers during the last year than Texas.

The Lone Star State earned bragging rights as the leading growth state of 2021, narrowly besting Florida for tops honors, according to transactional data compiled for the annual U-Haul Growth Index.

Texas, Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina and Arizona are the top five growth states in America, based on one-way U-Haul truck transactions in 2021.

Tennessee ranks third, South Carolina fourth and Arizona fifth among the top growth states.

Growth states are calculated by the net gain of one-way U-Haul trucks entering a state versus leaving that state in a calendar year. Migration trends data is compiled from well over 2 million one-way U-Haul truck customer transactions that occur annually.

California is 50th and Illinois 49th on the list for the second consecutive year, indicating those states once again witnessed the largest net losses of one-way U-Haul trucks.

Texas reclaims the No. 1 growth state status it held from 2016-18. It ranked second to Florida in 2019 and Tennessee in 2020.

“We see a lot of growth coming from the East and West Coast,” said Matt Merrill, U-Haul Area District Vice President of the Dallas Fort-Worth Metroplex and West Texas. “A lot of people moving here from California (and) New York. We also see a lot of people coming in from the Chicago markets. I think that’s a lot due to the job growth – a lot of opportunity here. The cost of living here is much lower than those areas. Texas is open for business.”

Indiana, Colorado, Maine, Idaho and New Mexico round out the top 10 growth states of 2021 as self-movers target the Southeast, Southwest and Rocky Mountain regions as their destinations of choice.

Select Northeast markets showed year-over-year migration recoveries as Maine rose 21 spots, Vermont 14 spots and Connecticut 25 spots in the U-Haul Growth Index. Yet three of the six states with the largest net losses were also in the Northeast: New York (45), Massachusetts (47) and Pennsylvania (48).

California remained the top state for out-migration, but its net loss of U-Haul trucks wasn’t as severe as in 2020. That can be partially attributed to the fact that U-Haul simply ran out of inventory to meet customer demand for outbound equipment.

Texas’s growth is statewide, although some of its biggest gains occurred in the suburbs around the DFW Metroplex. Florida’s gains are equally widespread, with considerable growth south of Orlando and along both coastlines.

Overall moving traffic across Texas increased in 2021, as it did in most states. Arrivals of one-way U-Haul trucks jumped 19% while departures rose 18% over 2020. Arrivals made up 50.2% of all one-way U-Haul traffic last year in Texas.

“The Texas economy is growing fast,” stated Kristina Ramos, U-Haul Company of South Austin president. “With a strong job market and low cost of living, it’s a no brainer. Texas doesn’t have an income tax, so families get more for their money.”

Visit myuhaulstory.com to view the top 25 U.S. growth cities, individual state reports and the top 25 Canadian growth cities.

While U-Haul migration trends do not correlate directly to population or economic growth, the U-Haul Growth Index is an effective gauge of how well cities are both attracting and maintaining residents.

U-Haul is the authority on migration trends thanks to its expansive network that blankets all 10 provinces and 50 states. The geographical coverage from more than 23,000 U-Haul truck- and trailer-sharing locations provides a comprehensive overview of where people are moving like no one else in the industry. Find U-Haul stores and neighborhood dealers at uhaul.com/locations.