Why are Americans fleeing some states like New York? Is there a mass migration of Americans moving within the country? Even before the turmoil of these past few months, Americans were already searching for better ways to live. However, there are recurring themes, such as high taxes, real estate prices, and employment rate, and one major migration factor is a career change. Additionally, some states are more attractive due to certain benefits, may it be a more affordable cost of living or a milder climate.
The Pacific Northwest is beautiful, with its many forests, waterfalls, rivers, and lakes. One has many opportunities to spend time in nature in the temperate - although rainy, weather. The crime rate is really low and there is no income tax.
However, there are some facts to take into account before making the big move. The cost of living is on average 20% higher than the rest of the States, and the real estate prices are skyrocketing, especially in Seattle. And as there is no income tax, the sales tax is way higher.
Total outward moves: 40.5%
The scenic views of New England, its beautiful landscapes, and the breathtaking autumn leaves are something we can’t get enough of. And there’s more, New Hampshire was ranked fifth for senior health by the United Health Foundation, and the state is tax-friendly.
However, peaceful living doesn’t come cheap. The cost of living in New Hampshire is relatively high compared to the national average. Although, with no income or sales tax you might make it work. Let's not forget about the weather though, freezing winters and humid summers.
Total outward moves: 47.2%
No sales tax on all items purchased in Oregon. Portland is one of the top 10 most bicycle-friendly cities in the United States. The state has one of the lowest carbon footprints in the US. And Oregon has a rich outdoor life with many forests, mountains, lakes, and rivers.
Although you might want to keep in mind the gloomy weather. Anticipate rainfall and eight months of grey sky. You might still get a couple of months of sunshine in the summertime. Despite having no sales tax, Oregon residents end up paying higher overall taxes, the State has one of the highest state income taxes – 9.9 percent.
Total outward moves: 34.3%
Oklahoma is one of the most affordable states to live in the US, real estate prices are low, and rent is cheap. The many benefits of living in the state include no tax on Social Security benefits, and convenient transportation, the cherry on top is that there is no traffic.
The winters are gentle, and the sun is shining during most days of the year. Keep in mind that the low cost of living comes with low incomes. This might not be the best state to retire to as it was ranked third-worst in the nation on senior health.
Total outward moves: 49.8%
Colorado was ranked in the top 10 for medical care in the country, and the state has a longstanding culture of health and wellbeing making it one of the overall healthiest in the country. The weather is nice with sunshine most of the year.
However, the cost of living is way above the national average, especially in Denver and Boulder. The traffic there is almost constant, and worse on weekends. Keep in mind that Colorado has a flat-tax system, meaning that everyone pays the same income tax rate of 4.63%.
Total outward moves: 46.6%
Alaska also called the Last Frontier is quite tax-friendly, having the lowest tax rates in the U.S., with no sales tax and no income taxes. This is not a state for city lovers, the population is very small.
The cost of living is higher – 32 percent above the U.S. average, due to the isolation getting products into the state costs more. Alaska is very cut off, traveling out of state is more time and money-consuming. Keep in mind that some regions don’t see the sun fully rise in winter, while the summers are a never-ending sunny day.
Total outward moves: 29%
Nature lovers will adore this state and admire its natural beauty, fantastic scenery, wildlife, trees, and water bodies. The United Health Foundation gave the Green Mountain State a good healthcare ranking. Vermont is a sparsely populated state, which means less traffic and more focus on supporting smaller, independent family-run businesses.
The home state of Ben & Jerry's ice cream is known as one of the least tax-friendly states in the U.S. The cost of living is also somewhat higher than the national average.
Total outward moves: 25.7%
Delaware is beautiful in the summer, with seaside towns and long stretches of sandy beaches. The state is one of only 4 with no sales tax, and it’s very tax-friendly for retirees.
On the other hand, Delaware is a small state with many residents, it can feel crowded at times, and rush-hour is real, especially during the summer season. The cost of living has climbed in recent years and it’s 11 percent above the national average.
Total outward moves: 44.6%
South Dakota, home of Mount Rushmore was ranked by Kiplinger as one of the most tax-friendly states. And not only is living there affordable but the scenery is majestic. One will find many trails to hike and breathtaking views of mountains and prairies.
However, be mindful of the weather as North Dakota is known for its icy weather and blizzards. The state is rural, with no big cities, and is one of the least populated states in the nation.
Total outward moves: 42.6%
Hot sunshine, stunning desert landscape, and the Grand Canyon national park is what Arizona is famous for. The weather is a perfect counterbalance for one who has faced too many cold winters. The cost of living - a small three percent above the national average, makes it more affordable than in other coastal states like California.
Although, the dry heat of Arizona can quickly get impossible to bear especially in summer. Temperatures can reach between 104 and 107 degrees Fahrenheit in some parts of the state.
Total outward moves: 36.8%
The state of Wyoming is also called The Equality State because of its historical role in establishing equal voting rights for women. The Mercatus Center rated it fifth in fiscal health out of all the U.S. states. However, keep in mind that Wyoming might not be the perfect choice for city lovers.
The state of Wyoming has one of the smallest populations in America - 577,737 people, and no big cities. What is impossible to ignore, though, is the natural beauty of the State but if you’re not into nature, you won't find many distractions there.
Total outward moves: 44.7%
Forbes deemed Pittsburgh the best city in the U.S. to settle down in. One can get almost anywhere walking or biking, and the state is brimming with doctors. The state also offers reasonably priced healthcare. The cost of living is low and affordable.
Snow and snowstorms are on the forecast for winters! The state has two additional taxes that residents have to pay, and the property tax is higher. Be also careful on the road, of other drivers and potholes.
Total outward moves: 51.2%
Idaho has a breathtaking rugged landscape where nature lovers will be able to enjoy snow-capped mountains, canyons, and lakes. The cost of living is below average, allowing residents to save money and enjoy life with less financial pressure.
Idaho is one of those states that are not for city folks enjoying a busy lifestyle, as there are no major metropolitan areas in the state. The taxes are average. Keep in mind that winters can get pretty cold.
Let’s start by saying that New Mexico is nothing like Breaking Bad or Better Call Saul. It’s a state with a rich history, where the cost of living is low, and the landscape is beautiful. It’s also close to both Texas and California.
While you may enjoy the laid-back lifestyle of the state, keep in mind that it was rated by Kiplinger as one of the least tax-friendly states, where Social Security, income, and pensions are all taxable.
Total outward moves: 43.9%
North Carolina has mild temperatures and boasts nice weather most of the year. The cost of living is below the national average, real estate is pretty affordable, and Social Security benefits are not taxed.
Keep in mind that the cost of living may be low but so are incomes. Income state tax is at a flat-rate, meaning that everyone pays the same amount. Be aware of the weather and the risk of hurricanes on the coast.
Total outward moves: 42.7%
South Carolina is also called the Palmetto state due to the tree on the state’s flag adopted in 1861. The state has appealing year-round mild weather and is quite affordable with a cost of living seven percent below the national average. South Caroline is also tax-friendly.
Beware though, the summers on the southern side of the state can get pretty hot and humid. Also important to note, is that South Carolina is not the healthiest State, plenty of people smoke and obesity levels are on the rise with a low consumption level of fruits and vegetables.
Total outward moves: 38.2%
Georgia is known for its quality peaches, and as a result, was nicknamed the Peach State. The state is famous for its Southern hospitality, and warm weather. The cost of living is below the national average, healthcare is relatively affordable, and the state taxes are low.
If you are ready to make the move to Southern living, prepare for long humid summers, where most people stay inside during the middle of the day. Oh, and don’t forget to stock on a lot of bug spray to keep the mosquitos at bay!
Total outward moves: 48.8%
Texas is pretty affordable and has a low cost of living - 10% below the national average - in terms of housing, food, transportation, and other basic living amenities. Texas also doesn't have an income tax and overall taxes are lower. Austin and Dallas are big cities with many interesting things to do.
On the other hand, the property tax is high, and healthcare is not easily accessible or of the best quality. Unfortunately, Texas is prone to hurricanes so protect your house!
Total outward moves: 44.4%
Tax-friendly state with no state income tax and really low property taxes. It is the 2nd most affordable state in the country. Lots of music festivals, tons of culture and art.
Tennessee is known to weather tornadoes during the tornado season, but the state is built to withstand the potential damages. However, in the summer be prepared for extreme heat - with humidity and July temperatures reaching 92 degrees Fahrenheit. Be aware that there’s a lot of traffic in Tennessee.
Total outward moves: 43.9%
Florida is one of the most tax-friendly states in the U.S. with no income tax. Also called the Sunshine State because of its blue sunny skies, it is a preferred destination for retirees to settle down. The state financial benefits are also pretty secure.
The weather in Florida is, however, unpredictable. The heat and humidity can have an impact on residents’ health, especially retirees with health conditions. The danger of hurricanes and powerful lightning storms is also always present. Notwithstanding a hurricane warning, the weather is pretty agreeable.
Total outward moves: 41.9%
Alabama or the Heart of Dixie is where you want to settle down if you’re looking for an affordable lifestyle. The income tax is pretty low at 2.5%, and Social Security benefits are not taxed. Barbeque is a religion there, and food culture is rich.
The state has nice warm weather that can get pretty humid in the summer though. And, in the spring and during November the weather can get pretty rainy with lots of thunderstorms.
The Hoosier State has a cost of living 15% lower than the national average, making it one of the most affordable states to live in. The state has a low crime rate, four-season weather with snowy winters, and sunny summers, beautiful springs, and leaves falling in autumn.
The annual income is lower than the national average in Indiana. The summers can get pretty hot and humid. Be prepared to see a lot of corn and cornfields everywhere.
Total outward moves: 52.1%
Rhode Island is America's smallest state. As a result, everything is close by which is convenient. It’s home to the Ivy League, Brown University. And in summer you will be able to enjoy the beach.
Property prices are way above the national average, and everyday expenses including transport and utilities are also priced higher. The state is densely populated making it feel crowded, and the traffic can get pretty bad.
Total outward moves: 49.2%
Mississippi is known for its Southern comfort food and music scene, but it also has beautiful Gulf Coast beaches. However, work opportunities are rare, and the unemployment rate is one of the highest in the country.
As Mississippians say "See y'all later," and one of the reasons they may be leaving is that "it gets very HOT in Mississippi," wrote Tom H. "There are tons of mosquitoes and biting flies too. Wonderful folks, but terrible conditions."
Total outward moves: 49.4%
Arkansas is known for its amazing parks and wildlife reserves, and its weather, the state being in the central Tornado Alley of the U.S. It is one of the most affordable states to live in. However, work opportunities are not the best, as a result over 7% of those leaving the state do so in search of better work options.
Property tax is below the national average. The weather is fantastic although summers can get a bit hot and mosquitos are quite big. Beware of the snakes which love Arkansas. Total outward moves: 49.7%
Maine is a pleasant enough State, but people moving away wouldn’t describe it as the perfect place to retire. Almost half of the residents leaving the state do so for a presumably warmer environment. "It gets pretty cold during the wintertime. With a lot of wind and snow," writes Elsa K., on Quora.
"I'm originally from Iceland, and the wintertime in Maine isn't as long or dark as in Iceland, but they feel colder and snowier." Elsa added that the summer weather isn't much better: "There are so many insects, especially if you get away from the coast. Ticks, mosquitoes, and flies."
Total outward moves: 50%
St. Louis is known as the "Gateway to the West," and yet Missourians tend to head right out. Work opportunities are the main reason behind the majority of departure for another state.
Factories are closing rapidly around Kansas City, causing the entire metropolitan area to lose 1.9% of the manufacturing jobs over a year. Missourians have posted on Reddit about the State other downsides, like the weather. "Humid Southern summers and northern-like winters mean swiftly jumping from one extreme to the other,” writes one user.
Total outward moves: 51%
North Dakota is one of the U.S.'s most sparsely populated states. The main reason pushing residents to leave North Dakota is the dullness, according to over half of those leaving the state. "Every state has something interesting to offer," writes a former resident, on Quora.
"What's interesting about North Dakota?" Well, on the other hand, North Dakota is perfect if you are looking for a job. The unemployment rate is very low, only 2.5% during September 2019.
Total outward moves: 51.3%
Researchers at the University of Virginia recently reported that the rural parts in the southern part of the state are quickly losing residents. The main reason is the high cost of living, averaging $500 more than the U.S. average.
Interestingly, over a fourth of those leaving do so to move closer to family. And yet, the weather in Virginia is nice, with four-season mild weather. The state is full of history, and the job market is doing well above the national average.
Total outward moves: 51.6%
Even though the state of Utah boasts some of the most breathtakingly beautiful features — we’re talking about snow-capped mountains and national parks with fantastic rock formations — it’s still not enough to get residents to stay.
The main reason for 65% of the people leaving is the search for a better job opportunity - paradoxically Utah has one of the best unemployment rates in the country. The rising prices of housing may also be part of the story.
Total outward moves: 51.7%
The wild and wonderful West Virginia has some of the most breathtaking mountains and rivers. However, the economy isn't doing so well, which is leading the younger generation to leave. Unemployment is higher compared to the national average.
More than half the residents leaving the State are between 28 and 44 years old, and over 70% of those leaving do so in search of jobs elsewhere. As a result, many local businesses are having difficulty growing within the job market.
Total outward moves: 51.8%
United Van Lines found out that 70% of those leaving Nebraska, also called the Cornhusker state, do so in search of better job opportunities. Even though the famous investor Warren Buffett lives in Nebraska, this state is not fit for just everyone.
A 2018 report highlighted that it’s not so much the lack of jobs that is at fault but the lack of high-paying jobs. Hank Robinson, a researcher at the University of Nebraska, said during an interview with the Omaha World-Herald, "We don't need more minimum wage, jobs that require no-experience."
Total outward moves: 52.6%
Maryland may be filled with history and outdoor adventures, it doesn’t seem to be enough for residents to stay. The high cost of living is a departure factor, house prices are way above the national average, and renting is expensive as well. Everything is expansive really, including medical costs, and unreasonable taxes.
Maryland is one the worst states for retirees, and that's why half of the people who left are 55 and older. The governor of Maryland has proposed a plan to cut taxes in the State by $500 million within the next few years.
Total outward moves: 53.1%
This State is famous for its beautiful bluegrass landscapes, but the lack of good jobs is driving Kentuckians to flee. Kentucky holds one of the nation's highest rates of unemployment. While the state's neighbors — like Missouri, West Virginia, Ohio, and Illinois— have been raising the minimum wage, but Kentucky has been stuck at $7.25 an hour for the last decade.
Like many of the other states, over 50% of the residents moving out of Kentucky are doing so to take a better job somewhere else. State officials are working on bringing more opportunities in engineering and manufacturing within the next few years.
Total outward moves: 53.5%
Despite Wisconsin's low cost of living and stable employment market still make it attractive, residents are on the up and go. The rapidly rising price of housing may have something to do with it.
Another factor regarding Wisconsin is the long and harsh winters. Almost every year, in the winter, the temperatures drop at least 30 below zero, according to data collected by the National Weather Service. Some residents may be looking for milder weather.
Total outward moves: 54%
Louisiana is known for its unique cuisine and music culture, friendly folks, and a ton of outdoor activities. The state is a very touristic place, especially New Orleans, however many people are now leaving.
The average combined tax is second highest in the country at 9.46%, but employment was on a hopeful rise of a small 0.1% from 2018 to 2019. United Van Lines found that a staggering 70.8% of people who were on the move were heading to new jobs elsewhere.
Total outward moves: 54.3%
California has it all, perfect sunny weather, beautiful beaches, mountains, deserts, rivers, and forests. However, the State has exorbitant housing prices, high living costs making it the second most expensive state to live in, and horrible traffic. The main reasons for people to take the leap and move away include work opportunities, and retirement.
"Unlike a few decades ago, residents are leaving California instead of choosing to stay until things get better," said Michael Stoll, a public policy economist at the University of California to United Van Lines.
Total outward moves: 54.4%
The State of Michigan boasts breathtaking sceneries, many parks, and miles of coastline to explore. And yet, it is not even enough to retain nature lovers. Indeed, while the unemployment rate is just above the national average, the jobs available are low-paying, like food preparation, according to Michigan-based Bridge Magazine.
Michigan is ranked as the 7th State for "brain drain," meaning that the younger generation who may be more educated are fleeing for better opportunities elsewhere. About half the people who moved out last year said that the primary reason was work.
Total outward moves: 55%
Montana is known for its friendly people and its inimitable landscapes have attracted many A-listers and wealthy out-of-staters — though only for a holiday. While the State had a low cost of living in the past, it has steadily gone up. Other difficulties arose, it is hard to find a house, work options are sparse outside of low-paying seasonal jobs and the oil industry.
And as if that wasn’t enough for one state, Montana has no major cities and it can get pretty lonely. The main reason people are moving out of state is to be closer to family.
Total outward moves: 55%
Iowa sunsets over the golden cornfields don’t leave many indifferent to their beauty. And yet, even with expanding cities and a growing job market, nearly 75% of those crossing state lines do so to find better work opportunities. There are jobs available in Iowa, but even the in-demand tech jobs are paid lower than in neighboring states, all the while the cost of living in the state’s largest cities has risen.
The people leaving Iowa are the younger active generation — adults between 18 to 33 years old. Their reasons are the extreme weather, the crumbling infrastructure, and because according to many "Iowa can be boring."
Total outward moves: 55.5%
Massachusetts is a beautiful state to explore, full of history to discover. It has one of the best healthcare systems in the nation, and some of the best universities. Sadly, the cost of living is high, the state is densely populated, and the winters harsh, leading many to pack.
More than 50% of those making their way out are, once again, are citing that jobs are the main driving force. The brutal winters, exorbitant housing prices, and terrible traffic are also cited.
Total outward moves: 55.7%