Despite inflation and talks of a recession, retirees were on the move in 2023.

Last year saw one of the biggest retirement relocations in three years, according to a report from moving company HireAHelper, which analyzed Census Bureau data to determine how many retirees moved.

The moving company’s third annual retirement movement study used U.S. Census Data to find that more than 338,000 Americans relocated to retire in 2023, an increase of 44% over 2022. But the demographics of this crop of retirees were unlike previous years.

For one, they had higher incomes, said Miranda Marquit, consumer advocate and spokesperson for HireAHelper. “We found that the median household income of retirees who moved in 2003 was $88,347, but last year, that median salary ... was $65,000,” she said.

Marquit said relocating retirees were also much younger than in the past. About 37% were under 65, including 23% who were under 55. In comparison, the company found that 26% of 2022 retirees were under 65.

Retirees moving last year were more likely to be single than in past years, Marquit said, surmising that “this makes them a little more mobile and more able to make those choices and deal with increased costs.”

The Sunshine State, once again, was the top destination for retirement moves, attracting 11% of retirees in 2023. But South Carolina was a close second with 10% of retirement moves that crossed state lines.

The Miami-Fort Lauderdale and North Port-Sarasota Bradenton metro areas were the top destinations in Florida, while those moving to South Carolina flocked to Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, the research showed.

A surprising showing on the 2023 top 10 retirement destination list was New Jersey at No. 3, with 6%. Marquit said most of those moving to New Jersey migrated from neighboring New York. “The only thing that I can speculate on is that these are folks who are not quite ready to give up the N.Y. lifestyle and move to Florida,” she said. 

New Jersey also was on the outbound list at No. 6, with 4.1% leaving the state last year. Another surprise on the inbound list was Pennsylvania at No. 8, with 3.6% entering the state. Like New Jersey, it too was on the outbound list at No. 5. 

The other top destinations last year for retirees were Texas at No. 4 with 5.8% who crossed state lines, followed by Washington with 5.3%, Tennessee with 3.8% and Wisconsin at 3.6%. Oregon followed Pennsylvania with 3.2% and North Carolina rounded out the top 10 with 3%.

As for the states where retirees fled, California topped the list with 18.3%, followed by New York with 11.4%. Virginia with 6.5%, Ohio with 4.9% and Pennsylvania with 4,8%.

Marquit pointed out that though California led with the highest number of retirement moves, there were two wealthy areas in the state—Santa Rosa-Petaluma and San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles—that were high on the list of metropolitan destinations for retirees. “Folks that had a lot of savings and a high income in retirement were more likely to move to more expensive areas like San Obispo and Miami,” she said.

Those looking for a lower cost of living in retirement were more likely to move to El Paso, Texas, which took in the second most retirement movers, and the Kansas City and Cleveland areas, which each attracted about 3% of all retirement moves that took place in 2023. 

The report noted that besides retirement, family and health were key factors in why retirees relocated last year.

The annual retirement moves study used data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s current population survey and annual social/economic supplements for 2023. To calculate the most moved-in and moved-out states and cities, the company took the percentage of all retirees in 2023 who moved or left a state or city.