Republican-controlled states saw an influx of residents in 2022 as the exodus from high-tax states accelerated.
A growing number of Americans migrated from predominantly blue states with steep taxes like California and New York to red states with lower taxes like Florida and Texas last year, according to new data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
Florida saw the biggest rush of new residents, with about 319,000 Americans relocating there in 2022. That amounts to a population increase of nearly 2% – well above the 0.4% national growth rate recorded in the U.S. between July 2021 and July 2022.
Other red states that led in population growth include Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Arizona and Idaho.
Three of those states – including Texas, Florida and Tennessee – do not tax regular income, according to a separate analysis from the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, a group that advocates for lower taxes.
On the other end of the spectrum, California, New York and Illinois, which have some of the highest tax burdens in the country, saw the biggest population declines in 2022. California saw its population tumble by more than 343,000 people in 2022, although New York had the overall largest decline in its population with a 0.9% drop.
New Jersey and Massachusetts also saw their populations shrink last year.
The analysis uses United States Postal Service change-of-address data to identify domestic migration patterns. When people want to forward their mail from their old homes to their new residences, they typically file a change-of-address request to USPS. The NAR said it is a "good proxy for how and where" many people are moving.
The analysis covers relocation by ZIP code across the U.S. during 2022.
The NAR identified another reason that Americans chose to up and move to more Republican-led states last year: robust job markets.
"Among the top 10 large areas with the highest inbound move rates, not only was their economy able to recover all the jobs that were lost at the beginning of the pandemic, but there are about 5% on average more jobs now than in March 2020 in these areas," the analysis said.
In fact, compared to the national level, the job market recovery after the pandemic has been more than twice as fast compared to the nationwide trend.
At the same time, big cities like New York, San Francisco and Chicago have lost out as a lack of affordability prompts many residents to consider relocating.
The NAR noted in its report that many of the areas that saw the most people relocating featured economies where the labor market had bounded back since the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, which featured state and local governments across the United States shutting down or restricting business operations in an effort to quell the virus.
"This population shift paints a clear picture," said Janelle Fritts, a policy analyst at the Tax Foundation. "People left high-tax, high-cost states for lower-tax, lower-cost alternatives."