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During Covid-19’s First Year, Americans Poured Out of Some States, and Into Others.

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Eric Zuesse

During 2020 — the opening year of Covid-19 (or coronavirus-19) — United Van Lines helped around 80,000 American families move from one state to another, and here is the list showing how many were moving into each state, and how many were leaving each state, as ranked according to the percentage who were moving in there:

79,387 Total Shipments (1 January 2020 to 21 December 2020)

Inbound Shipments, Outbound Shipments, Inbound %

1. Idaho: 758 in, 323 out, 70% inbound (30% outbound)

2. South Carolina: 2054 in, 1154 out, 64% inbound

3. Oregon: 1389 in, 833 out, 63%

4. South Dakota: 213 in, 129 out, 62%

5. Arizona: 2852 in, 1781 out, 62%

6. North Carolina: 4039 in, 2669 out, 60%

7. Tennessee: 2202 in, 1465 out, 60%

8. Alabama: 1190 in, 802 out, 60%

9. Florida: 7335 in, 4981 out, 60%

10. Arkansas: 543 in, 385 out, 59%

11. Wyoming: 193, in, 140 out, 58%

12. West Virginia: 185 in, 135 out, 58%

13. Delaware: 304 in, 222 out, 58%

14. Maine: 445 in, 354 out, 56%

15. Rhode Island: 331 in, 265 out, 56%

16. District of Columbia: 487 in, 390 out, 56%

17. Utah: 878 in, 720 out, 55%

18. Washington: 4162 in, 3475 out, 54%

19. Texas: 7098 in, 6045 out, 54%

20. New Mexico: 757 in, 659 out, 53%

21. Kentucky: 955 in, 866 out, 52%

22. Nevada: 1025 in, 932 out, 52%

23. Iowa: 518 in, 476 out, 52%

24. New Hampshire: 311 in, 289 out, 52%

25. Montana: 530 in, 505 out, 51%

26. Georgia: 2995 in, 2876 out, 51%

27. Colorado: 2923 in, 2879 out, 50%

28. Wisconsin: 1092 in, 1093 out, 50%

29. Michigan: 1404 in, 1413 out, 50%

30. Oklahoma: 659 in, 678 out, 49%

31. Minnesota: 1106 in, 1159 out, 49%

32. Missouri: 1368 in, 1438 out, 49%

33. Nebraska: 487 in, 516 out, 49%

34. Mississippi: 499 in, 538 out, 48%

35. Louisiana: 811 in, 902 out, 47%

36. Virginia: 3536 in, 4008 out, 47%

37. Indiana: 854 in, 968 out, 47%

38. Pennsylvania: 2072 in, 2362 out, 47%

39. Maryland: 1333 in, 1632 out, 45%

40. Ohio: 1923 in, 2453 out, 44%

41. Massachusetts: 1455 in, 1900 out, 43%

42. North Dakota: 176 in, 230 out, 43%

43. Kansas: 773 in, 1092 out, 41%

44. California: 6888 in, 9776 out, 41%

45. Connecticut: 682 in,1867 out, 37%

46. Illinois: 1942 in, 3840 out, 34%

47. New York: 1960 in, 3953 out, 33%

48. New Jersey: 1074in, 2451 out, 30%

Vermont was eliminated from the overall results because there were so few shipments too-or-from Vermont. And, when I also asked the company about the absence of Alaska and of Hawaii, they told me that there’s “No Hawaii or Alaska as they are not considered domestic moves because of they way household goods are shipped.” Consequently, only 48 states, plus DC, were included in their report.

Two factors are generally used in order to rate how safe a locale is against a resident’s becoming struck by the Covid-19 disease — the disease-rate per million inhabitants, and the death-rate per million inhabitants — however, since the two ranking systems tend to produce remarkably similar rankings (with the death-rates merely being a lagging indicator, months behind the disease-rates), we shall use here be using only the disease-rates.

Below is presented each of these states’ rank in the lowness of the percentage of its population who have become diagnosed as being sick from Covid-19 (and each given state’s rate of that sickness, to-date, per million inhabitants); so, the lower the numbers are here, the safer its residents have been against this epidemic (and you can see that the disease-rates vary enormously from one state to another):

1. Idaho: #43 (80,190)

2. South Carolina: #24 (63,719)

3. Oregon: #4 (28,085)

4. South Dakota: #50 (114,254)

5. Arizona: #36 (77,963)

6. North Carolina: #13 (54,862)

7. Tennessee: #48 (90,443)

8. Alabama: #34 (77,418)

9. Florida: #26 (64,817)

10. Arkansas: #40 (79,160)

11. Wyoming: #39 (78,736)

12. West Virginia: #10 (51,983)

13. Delaware: #19 (62,746)

14. Maine: #3 (19,763)

15. Rhode Island: #46 (88,593)

16. District of Columbia: #7 (42,743)

17. Utah: #47 (90,129)

18. Washington: #5 (34,129)

19. Texas: #23 (63,364)

20. New Mexico: #28 (70,256)

21. Kentucky: #21 (62,860)

22. Nevada: #33 (76,443)

23. Iowa: #49 (91,061)

24. New Hampshire: #6 (34,807)

25. Montana: #37 (78,012)

26. Georgia: #27 (66,509)

27. Colorado: #17 (59,637)

28. Wisconsin: #44 (84,388)

29. Michigan: #12 (54,736)

30. Oklahoma: #35 (77,905)

31. Minnesota: #31 (75,406)

32. Missouri: #30 (70,428)

33. Nebraska: #45 (87,668)

34. Mississippi: #32 (75,750)

35. Louisiana: #29 (70,265)

36. Virginia: #8 (43,572)

37. Indiana: #41 (79,184)

38. Pennsylvania: #11 (53,103)

39. Maryland: #9 (47,928)

40. Ohio: #22 (62,879)

41. Massachusetts: #16 (56,956)

42. North Dakota: #51 (122,686)

43. Kansas: #42 (80,088)

44. California: #20 (62,835)

45. Connecticut: #14 (55,246)

46. Illinois: #38 (78,262)

47. New York: #15 (55,522)

48. New Jersey: #18 (62,023)

Vermont was #1 (12,882)

Hawaii was #2 (15,657)

Alaska was #25 (64,256)

So: If a state’s effectiveness at protecting its occupants from this epidemic is increasing that state’s attractiveness as a place to live, then one would expect to find that, for example, the top ten scorers in the first list, by inbound percentage, would have lower infection-rates per million, and the bottom ten would have higher infection-rates per million; but the reverse is true: the top ten on inbound percentage have Covid-19 disease-rates of 74,094 per million, whereas the bottom ten have Covid-19 disease-rates of 68,442 per million. Furthermore, the top-scoring state on its having the lowest Covid-19 disease-rate, which is Vermont, has virtually nobody moving into the state, and virtually nobody leaving the state. However, that state, though it was not ranked inbound-versus-outbound, actually should have been ranked; and the United Van Lines press release, on January 4th, which was headlined “United Van Lines’ National Migration Study Reveals Where And Why Americans Moved In 2020”, noted, only in passing, in a footnote, that, “*Although Vermont experienced the highest percentage of inbound moves overall, United Van Lines moved fewer than 250 families in and out of the state. The inbound and outbound rankings in the 2020 study only reflect states with 250 moves or more.” (They meant that in Vermont, the total of both inbound and outbound was below 250, and that, among those few, Vermont’s inbound ratio was even higher than #1 Idaho’s 70%, so that fewer than 75 of those families were moving out of the state.) So: actually, the #1 state as regards protecting its inhabitants from Covid-19 happens to be, also, the state that has actually the highest inbound/outbound ratio, even higher than does Idaho. Apparently, Vermont is an exception to the general rule that Americans are finding the riskier states to be more attractive to move to. This might indicate that if only Americans had been informed, for example, that South Dakota has the second-highest Covid-19 disease-rate in the country (exceeded only by North Dakota — which has the entire world’s highest Covid-19 disease rate), then South Dakota would not be the state that has the nation’s fourth-highest inbound/outbound ratio (actually, the 5th-highest, if Vermont had been included).

Consequently, though Americans don’t generally seem to be attracted to states that have performed well on this, but — to the contrary — appear, on balance, to be attracted to states that have performed poorly on it (they’re generally leaving the safer states, in order to relocate into the more dangerous states), Vermont is a remarkable exception, but one that only few Americans even know about.

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Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.