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Americans on the move: Illinois top state for outbound migration

by Jason Porterfield

Americans are leaving the Northwest and Midwest in favor of the warmer Southeast and Southwest, according to a new report.

The 2020 U.S. Moving Migration Patterns Report from North American Moving Services shows Illinois, New York, California, New Jersey and Maryland to be the top five states for outbound moves among people relocating. For inbound movers, the top states were Idaho, Arizona, South Carolina, Tennessee and North Carolina.

Illinois had 31% of people moving into the state and 69% moving out. For New York, it was 35% in and 65% out. California, New Jersey and West Virginia each saw 36% inbound and 64% moving out. Michigan had 60% moving out and 40 percent moving in, while Pennsylvania recorded 59% leaving compared to 41% inbound. The leading metropolitan areas for outbound migration were New York City, Chicago and in California; Anaheim, San Diego and Riverside.

Idaho led the inbound relocation states with 70% moving in to 30% moving out, followed by Arizona with 64% inbound and 36% outbound. Tennessee and South Carolina both had 63% moving in and 37% moving out, while North Carolina showed 61% moving in and 39% leaving.

Florida, Texas and Utah rounded out the top eight states for inbound moves. In Florida, 57% of moves were inbound and 43% were outbound. Texas recorded 55% inbound moves and 45% outbound, while Utah had 54% moving in and 46% moving out.

Cities attracting the most inbound moves were: Phoenix, Houston, Dallas, Atlanta and Denver.

The Northwest led all regions of the United States for outbound migrations. Harsh winters, job availability and the high cost of living in some of the region’s cities were listed as contributing factors.

The Midwest saw the second-highest rate of outbound migration. Harsh winters are likely a factor across the region, while more specific reasons may be leading people to leave certain states. The report cited the difficulty of finding jobs in Michigan after the collapse of the auto industry and public policy in Michigan as potential contributing factors in those states.

The report cited climate, job growth and the availability of open space as reasons for relocating to southern states.

Additionally, Florida, Tennessee and Texas do not collect state income tax. Arizona, North Carolina and South Carolina do each have a state income tax, but the rates remain relatively low. As for Idaho, it remains a fast-growing state due to its relative affordability and a slower pace of life, according to the report.

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