Recently as I was exploring the Internet, I came upon an article that caught my attention. According to a report, entitled, the 42nd National Movers Study, produced by United Van Lines, Kansas is not a very popular state. The report said our state is one of 10 that people are anxious to leave. 

The report generated by United Van Lines tracks the state-to-state migrations during the past year. The company has complied a list of the states with the highest number of departing residents. Kansas was No. 5 on that list. According to that survey, more people are moving out of our state than into our state.

New Jersey is at the top of that list. The report stated that 66.8 percent of the relocation movement in that state was outbound. After New Jersey, Illinois, Connecticut, New York and Kansas were listed as the top five states that people want to leave behind. Ohio, Massachusetts, Iowa, Montana and Michigan were also included in the top 10. 

According to the study, the leading reason for these migrations involves a career change.  The survey said that one out of every two people who moved in the last year did so for employment related reasons. Other reasons included retirement, moving closer to family, or simply looking for a change of lifestyle. 

Since these states are so undesirable, where should one move to find their personal utopia? According to the survey, it’s time to pack up and head for Vermont. If you are seeking a lifestyle change, Idaho is the place to be, and more retirees chose to move to New Mexico last year than any other state. 

The top five inbound states are Vermont, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada and Arizona. Also included in the top 10 were South Carolina, Washington, North Carolina, South Dakota and the District of Columbia. 

It’s interesting to note that New Mexico didn’t actually make that list. 

United Van Lines states that they have tracked state-by-state migration patterns each year since 1977. The company classifies a state as being highly inbound if 55 percent or more of the moves are going into the state, and highly outbound if 55 percent or more are leaving the state. 

I doubt there is a single state that doesn’t have some problems. I also suspect that some of the residents in those outbound and inbound numbers will become dissatisfied with their new location and eventually be outbound again and on their way to a new location. 

There are valid reasons to relocate. Better employment or being closer to one’s family are very good reasons. If I lived far away from most of my family, I’d probably want to make a change. For the unemployed, or wanting to advance in their chosen profession, relocation is sometimes unavoidable.

But I also know that the grass always seems greener on the other side of the fence. It has been my experience that upon my arrival, I eventually discover there are just as many weeds and sandburs on that side. 

I once moved from a community because I thought the conditions were so much better elsewhere. Years later, I began to realize exactly what I had left behind.  I made some gains through that move, but there were also some unexpected losses.

During my 60 plus years, I have learned that my happiness and satisfaction with my life depends more on how I choose to feel, than on my situation or even my location. Kansas has its problems, there’s no denying that. But it has exceptional qualities as well. I love the fact that I can walk up to almost anyone in any location and start a conversation. I have had many enjoyable visits with total strangers while standing in a checkout line or eating in a restaurant.  

I love the wide-open spaces. Even in a city the size of Wichita; you can drive 25 minutes in any direction and be in the peaceful countryside. 

Some say Kansas is boring because it is so flat. Apparently they have never visited the beautiful Flint Hills or the Gypsum Hills.  

You’ll never see more beautiful sunrises or sunsets than those on a Kansas prairie or over a golden Kansas wheat field.  After the sun has set, you can take in the beauty of the endless stars, spilled across the clear night sky.

I’ve lived in Kansas all of my life and I can’t think of any place I’d rather be. For those who want to leave our state, I hope they find what they are looking for. But as for me, I’ve already found it, and I’m staying put. 

CourierTraveler reporter John Shelman can be contacted at (620) 442-4200 or

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