New York, New Jersey have highest resident exodus in 2019

SALT capped blamed for moves out of high-taxed Empire, Garden states

New Jersey, New York and other states in the northeast continued to see an uptick in outbound migrations in 2019.

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According to United Van Lines National Movers Study, which tracks annual migration patterns on a state-by-state basis, New Jersey had the highest percentage of outbound migrations of any state last year at a rate of 68.5 percent.

The highest percentage of residents that left the state were wealthy, with nearly half of all outbound migrations occurring at income levels of $150,000 or more.

The primary reasons people cited for leaving the Garden State were retirement and jobs.

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Illinois and New York came after New Jersey with 66.5 percent and 63.1 percent rates of outbound moves, respectively. They were closely trailed by Connecticut at 63 percent. Illinois and New York also saw the largest outflow of residents at the highest income brackets.

California ranked seventh among the top outbound states.

These high-tax states have been hurt by a $10,000 cap on state and local tax deductions, imposed as part of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. New York, New Jersey and Connecticut even filed a lawsuit to have the measure overturned, which was dismissed by a judge last year.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has credited the SALT cap and the flight of the wealthy for a $2.3 billion budget deficit in the state.

As previously reported by FOX Business, recent U.S. Census Bureau data showed similar patterns as New York, New Jersey and Connecticut each lost tens of thousands of residents to Florida.

Baby boomers, who are of prime retirement age, drove much of the moving patterns last year. About 45 percent of all inbound moves involved people belonging to this demographic.

That helps explain the outbound migrations in the northeast, Michael Stoll, economist and professor at the University of California in Los Angeles, said.

“What is unique about the northeast is that the northeast age distribution is shifted towards more older Americans than the rest of the country as a whole,” Stoll told FOX Business. “With that alone, you’re going to see a prompting of moves out of that region.”

Stoll noted that many residents from the northeast moved to southern states like South Carolina and Florida, moves that were driven by climate and lifestyle preferences, as well as lower housing costs.

Similar demographic and migration patterns were observed in the Midwest, among states like Kansas, Michigan and Iowa.

Stoll said that while state taxes factor into Americans’ moving decisions, they tend to be secondary concerns when compared with the main drivers, like employment changes or retirement.

On the other hand, Idaho had the highest percentage of inbound migration at 67.4 percent. It topped the list for the first time in more than 25 years.

Idaho, which has a relatively strong and stable economy, is a place where people are locating for both retirement and lifestyle changes, Stoll said.

Oregon has the second-highest percentage of inbound moves, at 65.7 percent. Arizona, South Carolina and Washington were next on the list. Florida also made the top 10, ranking seventh.

Of the top 10 inbound states, three have no statewide income tax.

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