So Many People Fled California in 2021 that U-Haul Ran Out of 1-Way Trucks to Rent

Craig Bannister | January 11, 2022 | 1:18pm EST
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(Getty Images/Robert Alexander)

So many people rented one-way trucks to move out of California in 2021 that U-Haul outlets in the state ran out of inventory for most of the year, the nation’s largest renter of do-it-yourself trucks reports.

“California remained the top state for out-migration,” U-Haul says in a news release announcing the latest findings of its annual U-Haul Growth Index, which ranks states based on “the net gain of one-way U-Haul trucks entering a state versus leaving that state in a calendar year.” U-Hauls migration trends data are compiled from more than two million annual one-way U-Haul truck customer transactions.

While Texas edged out Florida for the largest net gain of one-way U-Haul truck rentals in 2021, California saw the largest net loss.

California’s net out-migration of rental trucks permanently leaving the state would have been even more severe – but, the state’s rental locations ran out of one-way truck inventory and, for much of the year, remained without trucks to rent to people fleeing the Golden State to live elsewhere.

“U-Haul simply ran out of inventory to meet customer demand for outbound equipment,” the company reports. However, since U-Haul locations dedicate a portion of their inventories to “in-town” rentals, vehicles for round-trip customers remained in stock and available throughout the year.

As a consequence of the net loss of inventory, it costs significantly more to rent a one-way U-Haul truck to popular destination cities than it does to rent a one-way truck to cities experiencing a net loss of vehicles, a U-Haul spokesperson told

According to the website, it currently costs about three thousand dollars more to rent a two-bedroom/three-apartment 20-foot truck moving from San Francisco, California to Austin, Texas than it does to rent one relocating from Austin to San Francisco.

“While U-Haul migration trends do not correlate directly to population or economic growth, the U-Haul Growth Index is an effective gauge of how well cities are both attracting and maintaining residents,” the company notes.

See full ranking of states according to the U-Haul Growth Index.

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