The latest annual 'migration trends' report from U-Haul, on approximately two million, one-way household moves in 2020, showed Washington state dropping from the number five spot in terms of migration growth to number 36.
California ranked last at 50, with Tennessee ranking first. Texas and Florida were revealed as the other most sought after destinations for one way U-Haul movers. More people used U-Hauls to move to Alaska than into Washington. Contracts from Atlas Van Lines also showed that people who chose to move to a new state relocated away from the nation's most populated cities.
The Washington Office of Financial Management's (OFM) latest population data showed that in April 2020, Washington had a population of 7,656,200, just 1.45 percent larger than the year before and the smallest population growth the state had recorded since 2015.
Paul Guppy, Vice President for research at the Washington Police Center cited what he believed were the reasons were for the exodus. “For years leaders in state government have been increasing the tax burden and imposing ever-tighter regulations that limit personal opportunity, lower household incomes, and fall hardest on working people, middle-class families and small business owners. On top of that statewide trend, Washington recently experienced deadly political violence in its largest city, accompanied by rising crime, public camping and drug use, and similar signs of widespread lawlessness.”
According to a report earlier this month, thousands of residents moved from the cities they were living in, citing hostile political climates as a pervasive reason for their moves. The coronavirus pandemic made it easy for residents to flee the cities which they used to call home because so many were working remotely. Millions of Americans ended 2020 living at different addresses then where they began.
"We thought about leaving Seattle the past couple years, but we weren't ready," said Mark Jenkins to CNN. Jenkins recently moved to Idaho. "The weather is a big improvement. The traffic is better. It is very welcoming. People are strangely friendly."
At issue for Jenkins were the ongoing protests in Seattle over the summer of 2020 where Antifa militants and Black Lives Matter activists marched and rioted against police brutality. "It was my tipping point," Jenkins said.
Jenkins wasn’t the only resident to flee Seattle after violent protests that rocked the city for a period of months in the wake of George Floyd's death in Minneapolis on May 25.
"The pendulum of the political environment really swung in the past 10 years," Rick Halstead told CNN. Halstead left Seattle for Idaho as well, and for him it was also a result of the pandemic, protests, and decline in quality of life. "There were more and more protests, which would snarl traffic. Opioid problems. Homelessness. Crime. It was encroaching where we lived," Halstead said.
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