Americans, as a whole, have been leaving their homes in high-tax states behind in search of new opportunities elsewhere. While it does not suggest the exact motives for moving, a new study from career resource site Zippia outlines the 10 states from which Americans are fleeing the most.
Zappia’s study was a simple comparison of 2017 and 2018 U.S. Census data. The company calculated the population difference between the two dates to determine the percent change.
10. Rhode Island
The state of Rhode Island lost 2,324 citizens between 2017 and 2018, representing a 0.22 percent population loss. Zippia data showed former Rhode Island residents move primarily to Massachusetts, Florida, Connecticut, Virginia or California.
While fewer people left the state of Wyoming than left Rhode Island (1,578), the western state saw a larger percentage of its population flee. The already thinly populated state lost 0.27 percent of its population, Zippia noted, while its neighboring Idaho is one of the nation’s fastest-growing states. Wyoming residents tended to relocate to Texas, Colorado, Montana, Utah or California during the 2017 to 2018 time period.
The largest state by landmass in America suffered a population decrease of 0.32 percent between 2017 and 2018 as 2,357 residents fled the state. Alaskans tended to relocate to Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Texas or California.
Connecticut has an aging population and a low birth rate, according to Zippia. In addition to this population reducing formula, 15,519 people left the state between 2017 and 2018. As a result, the population of Connecticut has fallen by 0.43 percent. Many former Connecticut residents can now be found in Florida, New York, Massachusetts, South Carolina or California.
The only Midwestern state on this list, Illinois saw its population decrease by 0.48 percent between 2017 and 2018. The state has been losing residents for years, according to Zippia, with 60,943 people leaving the state during the time the study was conducted. People not only left for the greener pastures of lower-tax states like Indiana, Florida, Wisconsin or Missouri, they also left Illinois for higher-tax California.
Hawaii’s population between 2017 and 2018 decreased by 0.5 percent. Zippia suggested part of the reason people left the tropical island is the state is not affordable. The company did, however, mention the state has a strong labor market and low unemployment rate. The 7,047 Hawaiians who left their island home flooded into mainland states like California, Texas, Nevada, Washington or North Carolina.
The state of Louisiana is in distress despite the end of the recession, according to Zippia. It is one of only four states to lose jobs between 2017 and 2018. A population decrease of 0.52 percent - equivalent to 24,355 total residents -- showed people moving to states including Texas, Mississippi, California, Florida or Georgia.
3. West Virginia
West Virginia’s declining population has persisted for the past few years, Zippia says. It has been driven by a lack of economic opportunity that fails to incentivize younger adults to remain in the state. West Virginia said goodbye to 10,025 residents between 2017 and 2018, resulting in a population decline of 0.56 percent. Former West Virginians primarily fled to Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, Maryland or North Carolina.
2. New Jersey
The high cost of living in New Jersey, coupled with its aging population who covets the warmth of the South, resulted in 97,124 people leaving the Garden State between 2017 and 2018. New Jersey’s 1.09 percent population decline during that period of time flocked to states including Pennsylvania, New York, Florida, North Carolina or California.
1. New York
A whopping 307,190 New Yorkers fled their state between 2017 and 2018. Zappia suggested while the Empire State may be a cultural and economic hub, such things come at a cost. New York’s high prices, the company added, are, in part, why the state has the most rapidly shrinking population in the United States. During the time of the study, 1.57 percent of the state’s population sought a new life in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Florida, California, Connecticut or North Carolina.
Despite the population of America growing by a couple of million each year, the population density distribution is not even. As apparent from the data, Northeastern states dominated the list. Conversely, the fastest-growing states are:
- South Dakota
- South Carolina