CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The number of people moving out of West Virginia last year exceeded the number moving in, according to an annual study by United Van Lines.
Of the 722 interstate shipments moving in and out of West Virginia last year, 418 or 58 percent were outbound and 304 or 42 percent were inbound, the company said.
West Virginia also was on the high-outbound traffic list in 2011. But in 2010 and 2009 West Virginia's in- and out-migration was balanced.
The Northeast led the United States in outbound migration last year, according to the study. New Jersey, with 62 percent of United's household moves outbound, was the top outbound state last year. Illinois was second, West Virginia was third, New York was fourth and New Mexico was fifth.
Washington, D.C., was the top moving destination last year with 64 percent of moves inbound. It is the fifth consecutive year the District of Columbia was the top moving destination in the United States.
Other top inbound states in 2012: Oregon, Nevada, North Carolina and South Carolina.
Carl Walter, vice president of United Van Lines, said in a prepared statement, "As the nation's largest household goods mover, United's data is an accurate reflection of the overall U.S. moving trends. Tracking the number of inbound and outbound domestic moves helps provide insight into overall migration trends."
United has tracked migration patterns every year on a state-by-state basis since 1977. The company classifies states as "high inbound" if 55 percent or more of the moves are going into a state and "high outbound" if 55 percent or more moves were coming out of a state.
Migration is considered "balanced" if the difference of inbound and outbound is negligible.
Contact writer George Hohmann at busin...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4836.