Thursday, April 2, 2009

Maine gain

Maine doesn't wane, it gains, at least according to U-Haul. The infelicitously named U-Haul National Trend Migration Report has come out and we lead the nation once again. Sixteen percent more one-way rentals came into the state in 2008 than went out, more than double the next state, Washington, at 7%. The spokesperson at U-Haul had no idea why Maine is so popular.

"Why" is not the question (isn't it obvious why people want to come to Maine, not to mention why they need to leave it?). The question is, "Who?" That people retire to Maine is well-known, but do they rent U-Hauls? Young people do, but there aren't any jobs and bad winters don't fit the zeitgeist. Mid-careers? Wages aren't exactly top of the scale. And where are they going?

If I extrapolate on the U-Haul data (Maine has about 0.4 % of the US population, therefore its share of U-Haul's 1 million+ trips is some 5,000) I get 2,700 people moving in, 2,300 moving out. OK, so 400 extra do-it-your-selfers is not really a big deal. Just the kind of people we want, in fact.

Now if United or Atlas comes up with similar numbers for huge trucks carrying 40 years of ottomans, curios from Niagara, multiple complete dinner sets, macrame kits, riding lawn mowers, and 27 boxes of dog toys, be afraid, be very afraid.

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