People Are Moving Out of Washington State. The Place They’re Heading, by City


The state of Washington is renowned for its progressive politics, thriving tech industry, and picturesque scenery. However, not everybody enjoys their life in the Evergreen State. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that in 2021, there was a net loss of almost 101,000 households in Washington, indicating a greater number of evictions than arrivals. In 2022, this trend persisted, resulting in a net loss of over 94,000 homes. So what is the destination and reason for these ex-Washingtonians’ departure?

Top Relocation Spots for Washingtonians

The United States Postal Service (USPS) change-of-address statistics indicate that California, Texas, and Florida are the most popular states for Washington immigrants. In 2021 and 2022, these three states constituted around 34% of all Washington out-of-state movements. Washington citizens also moved to Oregon, Idaho, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, North Carolina, and Tennessee, among other states.

Based on the number of address changes, the USPS data also shows the top cities that immigrants from Washington state relocated to. The top ten cities for 2021 and 2022 are listed below, along with the proportion of out-of-state moves from Washington that they attracted:

  • Los Angeles, CA (3.5%)
  • Phoenix, AZ (2.9%)
  • Portland, OR (2.8%)
  • Las Vegas, NV (2.6%)
  • Dallas, TX (2.4%)
  • Denver, CO (2.3%)
  • San Francisco, CA (2.2%)
  • Austin, TX (2.1%)
  • San Diego, CA (2.0%)
  • Boise, ID (1.9%)

Reason for Departing Washington

People decide to move to a different state for a lot of different reasons, including work, family, cost of living, way of life, temperature, and politics. The 2021 United Van Lines yearly national movers study found that work-related reasons were the most common reason people moved out of Washington. These were followed by family, retirement, lifestyle, and cost of living. But from 2019 to 2021, the percentage of moves related to work went down a lot, while the percentage of moves related to family went up. This makes me think that the COVID-19 pandemic may have changed people’s goals and choices.

Some of the specific reasons people from Washington have given for leaving are:

Washington has one of the highest median home values in the country, at $509,800 in November 2021, according to Zillow. This means that living costs are going up. With a median home worth of $722,100, the Seattle metro area is even more pricey. Costs have made it so that many people can’t afford to buy homes or rent apartments, especially in cities.

The Tax Foundation says that Washington has one of the highest sales taxes in the country, at 9.23% as of January 2021. It does not have an income tax. It also has high taxes on gas, taxes on homes, and taxes on some goods and services. There are places with no income tax and low sales taxes, like Texas, Florida, and Nevada, that some people want to live in.

Politics: Washington is a mostly blue state, and its governor, legislature, and congressional representatives are all Democrats. It also has some of the most radical laws in the country, like a minimum wage of $13.69, legalized marijuana for recreational use, and major changes to the way health care is provided. However, not everyone agrees with these policies. Some people want to live in states like Texas, Idaho, and Tennessee, which are more conservative and are led by Republicans and have similar views.

Climate: Washington has a temperate climate, which means that the summers and winters are warm and there is a lot of rain. But some people are sick of the rain and clouds and want more sunshine and warmth. Others are worried that wildfires, which have burned millions of acres and made the air dirty in the past few years, are becoming more likely. Some people are going to states like California, Arizona, and Florida which have a wider range of climates and more outdoor activities and scenery.

Washington’s arts, music, sports, and food all play a big role in the state’s rich and varied culture. It’s also known for being forward-thinking, creative, and good for the environment. There are, however, people who want a different pace of life or vibe. Some of them are moving to Florida or other states with beaches, golf courses, or senior villages to enjoy their golden years. Some people are moving to states like North Carolina, Oregon, and Colorado to enjoy more scenery, adventure, and culture.


Washington is a great place to live because it has so many things to do and places to see. It’s not for everyone, though, and some people are leaving for different reasons. California, Texas, and Florida are the top places for people from Washington to move to, followed by other states in the South, Midwest, and West. Work, family, cost of living, way of life, and weather are the major reasons people leave. For now, Washington is saying goodbye to some of its people and hello to new ones. Only time will tell if these trends will continue or change in the future.

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