COVID-19 is accelerating suburban growth in places like Sterling Grove, a 780-acre master-planned neighborhood, west of Loop 303 in Surprise, that offers homeowners access to a private country club and 18-hole Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course.

January 11, 2022

AZ Business Magazine

Surprise among Top 25 growth cities in the U.S.

The sun-soaked Kissimmee-St. Cloud market less than 30 miles south of Orlando isn’t just for vacationers chasing roller-coaster rides and encounters with a famous mouse. In 2021, no American city or market netted more do-it-yourself movers in U-Haul trucks. And Surprise, Ariz., isn’t far behind as one of the fastest growth cities in the U.S.

Kissimmee-St. Cloud, which ranked second for growth in 2019 and 2020, earned the No. 1 spot in 2021. It is one of 10 Florida markets among the top 25 growth cities, according to transactional data compiled for the annual U-Haul Growth Index.

The North Carolina hotbed of Raleigh-Durham – which was No. 1 on this list in 2019 – remains a top growth area at No. 2 in 2021. It is followed by Florida’s Palm BayMelbourne market and then North Port, the No. 1 growth city of 2020. Madison, Wis., rounds out the top five.

READ ALSO: Most Influential Women: Jeanine Jerkovic, City of Surprise

Growth cities are calculated by the net gain of one-way U-Haul trucks entering a city/market versus leaving that city/market in a calendar year. Migration trends data is compiled from well over 2 million one-way U-Haul truck customer transactions that occur annually. Neighboring cities in U-Haul markets are often packaged together for migration trends purposes.

Florida remains competitive, especially during the COVID era,” said Miguel Caminos, U-Haul Company of Orlando president. “We’ve pushed through and business is thriving. It’s not just people moving to Florida, but businesses moving because they see better opportunities here.”

Texas boasts five growth cities among the top 25, led by the College StationBryan market at No. 7. GrapevineAustinRichardson and Carrollton also make the cut as premier destinations for U-Haul customers. Together, Florida and Texas account for 60% of the top 25 growth cities.

While California ranks last among U-Haul growth states, it enjoyed pockets of growth in 2021 – the SacramentoRoseville market is the No. 8 growth city, while San Diego ranks 12th.

Other Florida cities to make the top 25 are: Fort MyersNorth Fort MyersClermontSarasotaBradentonDaytona BeachPort St. LucieBrandonRiverview; and Ocala.

Arrivals of U-Haul trucks into Kissimmee-St. Cloud climbed 31% while departures rose 29% as overall moving traffic spiked in the market. Arriving trucks accounted for 53.2% of all one-way U-Haul traffic in Kissimmee-St. Cloud.

Florida has always been a destination location for retirees, but more so (in 2021), I think a lot of people took early retirements and decided to come down,” said Mario Martinez, U-Haul Area District Vice President of Southern Florida.

“There are many other reasons why people are coming to Florida, and have come in previous years. We have lower cost (of living) than other states. There is no state income tax – that’s a huge factor. The warm weather. Basically, we have summer weather all year long. Attractions. Our beaches. The activities. There’s just so much to do. Jobs that are available play a very important part in people moving into Florida. And during this pandemic for the past two years, we’ve also pretty much been open the entire time. This state has kept on going, and (2021) has just been busy all the way around.”

Visit to view the top 50 growth states, individual state reports and the top 25 Canadian growth cities.

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.

2021 U-HAUL TOP 25



Kissimmee-St. Cloud, FL (2)


Raleigh-Durham, NC


Palm Bay-Melbourne, FL (23)


North Port, FL (1)


Madison, WI (5)


Fort Myers-North Fort Myers, FL


College Station-Bryan, TX


Sacramento-Roseville, CA (11)


Clermont, FL


Sarasota-Bradenton, FL


Daytona Beach, FL


San Diego, CA


Port St. Lucie, FL (3)


Milwaukee, WI (13)


Grapevine, TX


Austin, TX


Myrtle Beach, SC


Surprise, AZ (8)


Brandon-Riverview, FL


Wilmington, NC


Denver, CO


Richardson, TX


Auburn-Opelika, AL (4)


Ocala, FL (6)


Carrollton, TX

2020 growth rankings in parentheses, if ranked

PLUS FIVE more notable cities that just missed the cut but posted big growth numbers in 2021:

• Greenville, SC

• Fort Collins, CO

• Seattle, WA

• Conroe, TX

• Nashville, TN

U-Haul is the authority on migration trends thanks to its expansive network that blankets all 50 states and 10 Canadian provinces. The geographical coverage from more than 23,000 U-Haul truck- and trailer-sharing locations provides a comprehensive overview of where people are moving like no one else in the industry. Find U-Haul stores and neighborhood dealers at

Independent small business owners interested in joining the U-Haul Dealer Network at no cost and earning commissions from rental transactions at their locations can visit to learn more and submit an information form.

Increased demand for Moving Help® through has mirrored increased demand for one-way U-Haul equipment during the pandemic. Moving Help has been the No. 1 choice of customers seeking labor services for loading and unloading during their moves since 2002, offering a network of 6,700 local and independent Moving Help Service Providers across all 50 states and 10 Canadian provinces. With more than 5 million jobs completed and 2.3 million customer reviews, customers have access to the largest network of moving labor services in North America through Moving Help.