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Texas, California residents top out-of-staters moving to Arkansas in ’23, DMV data shows

2020 made moving a reality for millions of Americans. Some moved to be near family, others chose to pursue their pre-pandemic pipe dreams and move to distant locations in pursuit of a better lifestyle and a cheaper cost of living.
Nicole Xu for NPR
Thousands moved to Arkansas from neighboring states, California and Florida according to new data from the state Department of Finance and Administration.

From the Arkansas Advocate:

More new Arkansans moved to the Natural State last year from Texas and California than any other states, according to state driver’s license data.

The Division of Motor Vehicles issued 44,271 license transfers in 2023, offering one of the first looks at in-bound migration.

The data only captures people who moved to the state and transferred their licenses from the other 49 states and a handful of territories, so it doesn’t count children and others who may not transfer licenses.

But the data is available before Census statistics, which run a year or two behind.

Thousands moved to Arkansas from neighboring states, California and Florida.

The top seven states for in-bound license transfers last year were:

  • Texas: 7,993
  • California: 4,293
  • Missouri: 3,329
  • Oklahoma: 2,652
  • Florida: 2,609
  • Tennessee: 1,852
  • Louisiana: 1,830

“This list further confirms people from across the United States are choosing to make Arkansas home,” said Scott Hardin, a spokesperson for the Department of Finance and Administration. “The state’s momentum in attracting new residents results in a broader tax base, providing additional resources to cities and counties throughout Arkansas.”
Arkansas’ total population grew by 21,328 from 2022-2023, according to preliminary Census data. Arkansas’ population is 3.03 million, according to the Census.

The Census’s most recent state-by-state migration data is from 2022. It estimates that 86,375 people moved to Arkansas from out of state, and about 74,000 Arkansans left the state.

More than 17,000 were from Texas, the most of any state, followed by California (7,783), Florida (7,065), Oklahoma (5,995) and Louisiana (4,994), per the Census.

In addition to residents from other states, new Arkansans came to the state last year from outside the contiguous U.S., according to the DMV.

The bulk of those new license transfers came from Puerto Rico (134), France (109), Germany (38) and South Korea (37).

Deputy Editor of Arkansas Advocate, which is part of States Newsroom, a national nonprofit news organization, supported by grants and a coalition of donors and readers. The Advocate retains full editorial independence.