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U-Haul patterns show Kansas is losing out, says economist

Data on how much people will pay for a moving truck gives some insight into Kansas out-migration problem, according to an economist with the Sandlian Center for Entrepreneurial Government at the Kansas Policy Institute.

“Kansas has had an out-migration problem, you know, we lost that Congressional seat a couple decades ago,” said Michael Austin. “We most certainly know that more people are leaving the state than
coming in. In 2019, there’s data out there that’s now saying that so many people are leaving Kansas, we’re now having a shortage on U-Haul trucks.”

This is an application of a supply and demand calculation.

“If truck prices are high in one area relative to another, that actually tells us that the demand for U-Haul trucks in that one area is higher than the other,” said Austin. “We tried to apply that method in
Kansas to see where we’re seeing high U-Haul truck rates relative to other places in the country.”

The rental rates are based on a 26 foot long U-Haul, as the company claims it’s an acceptable transport for a 3-4 bedroom home.

“If you decided to rent a U-Haul truck, let’s say from South Carolina and take it to Kansas, it would cost you about $926, this was at the time we pulled the information,” said Austin. “However, if you
wanted to do the reverse, that is, go from Kansas to South Carolina, that would actually run you about $1700. Basically, it’s twice as expensive to leave Kansas than it is to come to it.”

Austin says in his blog post that, according to U-Haul’s market pricing, Kansans are fleeing to states with faster economies and lower tax burdens. Unfortunately, U-Haul’s pricing also shows far fewer are coming back.

Image courtesy: Uhaul.com

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