Arkansas, has historically been balanced in inbound and outbound migration, it’s recently become a more prominent destination for movers, highlighted by recent reports from U-Haul and United Van Lines. Despite a 6% decrease in U-Haul trailers and trucks bound for Arkansas last year, the state still saw a net gain due to a 12% drop in outbound moves. In national rankings, Arkansas placed 4th in United Van Lines and 17th in U-Haul data, with United Van Lines reporting 60.2% inbound moves for Arkansas, the highest since 1978.
Northwest Arkansas (NWA) is continually attracting new residents. The region’s affordability is a key factor, with the median home price of $348,225 as of December 2023, although we are starting to close the gap. The national median home price was at $434,700 in December 2023. A heat map analysis of population migration patterns indicates that the top source of inbound migration to NWA is Little Rock, Arkansas. Other significant contributors include Dallas, Texas; Fort Smith, Arkansas; Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Kansas City, Missouri, among others.
The U-Haul study showed Fayetteville and Springdale as top growth cities in the state, with Bentonville, Centerton, also experiencing net gains. United Van Lines data displayed Fayetteville having a 61% inbound move ratio.
It’s also noted in the United Van Lines report, people moving to Arkansas predominantly come from Texas, California, Florida, and Illinois. Although the pandemic has shifted the number one reason for people moving, which was job relocations. People are now moving for quality of life, affordability and closer to family members. The majority of inbound movers are aged between 55 and 64, with a significant proportion aged 65 and older.
An important factor is Arkansas has negative natural population change where there are more deaths than births occuring annualy. This reflects the importance of inbound migration to sustain the state’s population and growth.
Census.gov, Arkansas Democrat Gazette, U-Haul, United Van Lines