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Education
Jan 25, 2021

New To NC? Welcome To Wilmington

Sponsored Content provided by Heather McWhorter - Interim Director, UNCW Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

If you’ve just arrived in Wilmington or nearby, you probably don’t know how delighted we are you’re here. In fact, you’ve probably been stuck at home waiting out the pandemic. Well…we are happy you’ve moved here and we’re eager to meet you. So…

Welcome to Wilmington! Thank you for Choosing Cape Fear!

You’ve made a great choice. The Cape Fear Region truly has it all – beautiful waterfronts, vibrant downtowns, excellent university, abundant arts and culture, affordable living, the list goes on and on. And it offers a dynamic entrepreneurial ecosystem with lots of support for new innovative businesses of all types.
 
You’re also not alone. As the saying goes…great minds think alike. If you missed the headlines, according to an annual study prepared by United Van Lines since 1977, Wilmington was the number one city in 2020 for inbound moves in the United States.

The study shows residents across the United States continue to move southbound and westbound. While Wilmington was the number one city for inbound moves, overall North Carolina logs in at number six, firmly in the Top 10 states, for inbound moves.

Does this sound like you? The top three reasons new residents chose North Carolina are 1) a job (37.4%), 2) to be closer to family (27.9%), and 3) retirement (23.9%). I found it surprising that lifestyle ranked fourth with just 15.9%. When I poll my undergraduate entrepreneurship students, 80% claim beach proximity was the primary reason they chose UNCW, with the second most-cited reason being our highly acclaimed academic programs – especially in Creative Writing, Film Studies, Marine and Environmental Sciences, Education, and the Allied Health fields. The majority of residents moving to the state were older, in fact, 61% were 55 and older.

The trend, driven by the Covid-19 pandemic, shows people leaving bigger cities and choosing locations like Wilmington where they can work remotely and enjoy a higher quality of life.

“Throughout the pandemic in 2020, major metropolitan areas and hotspots, such as New York City (72%), Newark (72%), and Chicago (69%), experienced greater outbound migration, while lower-density cities like Wilmington (79%) and Boise, Idaho (75%) saw high levels of inbound moves,” according to the United Van Lines release.

The top 10 cities by inbound percentage were:

  1. Wilmington, NC
  2. Sarasota-Bradenton, FL
  3. Boise, ID
  4. Huntsville, AL
  5. Fort Myers-Cape Coral, FL
  6. Knoxville, TN
  7. Melbourne-Titusville-Palm Bay, FL
  8. Austin-San Marcos, TX
  9. Nashville, TN
  10. Fort Collins-Loveland, CO
To see more information about inbound moving trends, check out the United Van Lines interactive map.

Now that you’ve made the best choice, let’s get you plugged in. If your interests include community engagement, business, or entrepreneurship, take the first step by subscribing to the Greater Wilmington Business Journal. At the very least, register for the free online access. Next, check out The Coalition of small business resource and entrepreneurial support organizations. Whether you’re interested in sharing your skills and experiences as a mentor or advisor, becoming an entrepreneur, relocating your business, investing in our startups, or volunteering to support the Creative Economy or to build our Blue Economy – we need you.
 
Please contact us at the UNCW Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and we’ll get you connected: [email protected]


Diane Durance, MPA, is director of UNC Wilmington's Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE). The CIE is a resource for the start-up and early-stage business community to help diversify the local economy with innovative solutions. For more information, visit www.uncw.edu/cie.

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