SALEM, Ore. (AP) — What is that magical element Oregon has that makes people want to live here? The environment? The people?
Whatever it is, it's working.
National migration statistics from 2012 show that Oregon is second in the nation among places where people are moving in — only Washington, D.C., is higher.
Both United Van Lines and Atlas Van Lines, two of the largest moving companies in the country, released their annual migration studies this week. The studies examined data on the number of shipments between states to keep track of the rate people are entering and leaving each state.
Combined, the studies tracked more than 393,000 shipments among all 50 states and the nation's capital.
The high rating reflects well on the Beaver State, showing that more people are relocating to the area in pursuit of job opportunities and a higher quality of life.
Many of the transfers are done through corporations, indicating that jobs are bringing in many movers. Tim Evans, general manager at Swartz Moving and Storage in Portland, said that 92 percent of his business is done through corporate relocation.
"United Van Lines moves about 400 of the Fortune 500 companies," he said. "We're seeing positive indicators in corporate relocations. Our business isn't back from pre-recession levels, but we're seeing slow growth."
Both companies went by a threshold, as opposed to raw numbers, to indicate which states had a high inbound or outbound rate. A high inbound rate, for example, is characterized by a state having a more than 55 percent rate of people moving in. Anything below that means a state is considered to be in balance — that is, a fairly equal number of people are moving in and moving out.
Oregon's inbound rate, calculated from the combined data, was 59.51 percent, second only to the District of Columbia's 63.81 percent.
The Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles keeps track of people moving to Oregon through their driver's licenses. David House, the press officer for the DMV, said one method to track people relocating is through how many out-of-state licenses are surrendered as people obtain an Oregon license with the change of residency.
Data for 2012 is still being compiled by the DMV and will be released in a couple of months. In 2011, however, the state received 59,643 licenses from other states and Canadian provinces.
Additionally, the DMV also keeps numbers on how many driver's licenses are issued overall, although some of those numbers are from Oregon residents obtaining their driver's license for the first time.
Evans said there's a lot of reasons why Oregon is a desirable place to live — among them, technology business growth and a family friendly environment.
"Technology still continues to thrive here in the Northwest," he said. "I see Oregon starting to be a little more business-friendly; they're very vocal about what they did for Nike recently. I think by and large the Northwest is a great place to raise a family. I think it's a very easy sell when big corporations want to transfer employees.
"Other than the weather, I think everyone sees Oregon as a big draw," he added.
Each moving company identified the top five states for both inbound and outbound movers. The combined data, however, only had a high inbound rate for three states: Washington, D.C, Oregon and North Carolina.
The state with the highest outbound rate from was New Jersey, with 60 percent of shipments from people who were moving out-of-state.
Evans acknowledged he might not be wholly objective to the idea of Oregon being a great place to live.
"It's maybe a biased opinion but I think you'll agree that this is God's country, right?" he said.