Out-of-staters began flocking to Maine during the pandemic. And the latest figures show that trend continued last year.
In this Oct. 23, 2020, file photo, Main Street in Rangeley is seen. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

Maine ranked second nationally as the state with the highest percentage of inbound moves last year behind North Carolina, the annual Atlas Van Lines migration patterns study released Tuesday found.

The two states flipped positions over 2021, when Maine ranked first. Maine had 64 percent inbound moves in 2020, down 3 percent from 2021. Outbound moves were 36 percent, up 3 percent from 2021.

Both inbound numbers are up dramatically from the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, when inbound moves were 50 percent. Out-of-state people flocked to the relative safety of Maine towns like Rangeley and Ogunquit during the COVID-19 pandemic. The new figures show that Maine continues to be a major draw.

The company tallied the percentage using the total number of moving shipments multiplied by 0.55, so in a state with 100 moves, 55 must be outgoing for that state to be considered outbound.

The company said people are leaving some of the most affordable states, including Iowa, Indiana and Illinois, indicating that cost of living is no longer the top factor in why people move. It said being closer to family is a more important reason to move.

Maine’s population was 1,385,340 on July 1, 2022, up by 8,102 over the year before and up by 21,783 since July 1, 2020, according to the U.S. census data released on Dec. 22 .