Relocation: The Most Desirable US States and Foreign Countries

There is no place like home, right? Not quite. The truth is that many of us would move out of our home city, state, or even country if given a chance. This could be a goal you’re working towards or a ‘maybe one day’ daydream.

We wanted to take a look at where Americans would move to if all barriers were removed. Our survey of over 5,000 US residents asked a handful of simple questions, starting with which state they would prefer to live in outside of their own. We then asked if they would leave the US entirely, and if so, which country would be at the top of their relocation list.

This report summarizes the results of that survey, identifying the most desirable states in the US. It also breaks down how each state voted. Finally, the report also identifies the most sought-after countries for American expats. Keep reading for the full results.

The Most Desirable States to Live in

The most desirable state to live in among Americans is California. The Golden State is home to some of the best beaches and national parks in the entire country. It’s multicultural, has great transport links to the rest of the world, and has mild winters, so it’s no surprise that 14% of Americans asked chose California as their dream destination.

The Most Desirable States

In second place is another Western State. Over 9% of respondents said Colorado would be their state of choice to live in. The Centennial State has some of the most breathtaking scenery found not only in the US but in the world. Life in Colorado tends to come with plenty of outdoor activities, and the state is well-regarded as a great place to live.

On the other side of the country, and in a close third behind Colorado, is Florida. Of those surveyed, 9% said they’d move to the sunshine state with no hesitation. Good weather year-round, the cost of living, and beautiful beaches were cited as the main reasons.

In fourth and fifth place are Washington (5.8%) and New York (5.7%). Despite being on opposite sides of the country, both states offer some very similar benefits. Idyllic nature, plenty of outdoor activities, and a good quality of life can be found in both locations, and the difference in votes could come down to East or West Coast preference.

Other notable mentions in the rankings include Texas (4.9%), North Carolina (4%), Oregon (3.4%), and Arizona (2.7%).

How Each State Voted

Looking at the data on a more granular level, we were able to see how each state voted. For example, California was the top pick overall, but also the majority vote in much colder states like Alaska, Illinois, and Indiana.

Interestingly, two of the top states in the overall rankings voted for each other. New York residents would pick Florida as their next destination, and vice versa. In fact, there are many Americans willing to move cross-country in a bid for a better quality of life. Alabama and Michigan both choosing Colorado and North Dakota and Nebraska both choosing New York are prime examples of this.

How each state voted

There are plenty of residents in other states that wouldn’t want to move too far from home, including Louisiana, Mississippi, and Oklahoma, all of which voted for Texas as their preferred place to live. The same could be said for North Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia, all of which selected Florida.

The Most Desirable Countries Outside of The US

Going one step further than just switching states, we asked Americans if they would be willing to move out of the US and relocate to another country – 68% said yes. We wanted to know more, so we gave them the choice. The world was their oyster; they could have chosen from any of the 195 countries across the world.

The top answer? Canada – with over 16% of respondents choosing it as their first-choice country to move to. Canada is close enough to home that they don’t have to fly halfway across the world to visit. There is free healthcare for citizens and permanent residents, a lower crime rate than a lot of the US, and stunning nature and national parks. All of this appears to outweigh the high cost of living in some areas and the snowy winters in the mind of the Americans we surveyed.

Most desirable countries

In second place was The United Kingdom with 10.9%. The main reasons cited include the English language, the friendliness of the people, and the proximity to the rest of Europe. Japan is in third place, with 5.6% of Americans deciding that cleanliness, public transportation, and technological advancements make it a great alternative place to live. Italy (4.7%) and Australia (4.3%) were a close fourth and fifth.

Key Findings and Methodology:

  • California, Colorado, Florida, Washington, and New York are the most desirable states.
  • 68% of survey respondents said they would leave the US, given the chance.
  • Canada, UK, Japan, Italy, and Australia are among the most desirable countries to live in among US residents.

In April 2023, we surveyed 5,000 US residents between the age of 21 and 65. We asked them which state they lived in, and which state they would move to if given the chance. We also asked if they would leave the US entirely, and if so, which country would they move to.

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