HARLINGEN — Texas ceded its top spot in the annual U-Haul growth states for 2019, dropping to second behind Florida.

Sunbelt states took four of the five top spots with North Carolina, South Carolina and Washington rounding out the top five.

Bottom-dwellers were Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Michigan and California, with Illinois coming in dead last at No. 50.

The annual U-Haul report is based on the net gain of one-way U-Haul trucks entering a state versus those leaving that state over a calendar year. Migration trends data is compiled from more than 2 million one-way U-Haul truck-sharing transactions annually.

Although U-Haul migration trends do not correlate directly to population or economic growth, the growth data is a gauge of how well cities and states are attracting and retaining residents.

The Florida cities with the largest net increases in one-way traffic were Kissimmee, Ocala, West Palm Beach, Port Saint Lucie and the Bradenton-Sarasota corridor. Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Pensacola, Miami and St. Petersburg also saw significant increases.

“Florida has been showing signs of growth for a decade,” Miguel Caminos, U-Haul of Orlando president, said in a statement. “Central Florida is really booming. I can’t think of any major suburb where there aren’t home developments or new shopping centers being built.

“There’s an expectation of comfort for people moving here,” he added. “They know there are jobs.”

Alabama was the biggest gainer in 2019, moving up 36 spots from No. 42 to No. 6 in the standings.

U.S. Census Bureau data shows the top 10 fastest-growing states in the country as of 2019 are Nevada, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Florida Washington, Colorado, Texas, South Carolina and North Carolina.

Projections for 2020 by the census bureau indicate Texas’ population will increase by 2.68 percent to 29,472,295 people. Census 2020 begins counting in April and will give the bureau new baseline numbers for the next decade.

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The top 5 U-Haul growth states

1. Florida

2. Texas

3. North Carolina

4. South Carolina

5. Washington