The states Americans move to – and the states they leave

THE pandemic sparked a stir in American life, with many families choosing to relocate in search of more space or a lower cost of living. This trend has continued in 2022, with hundreds of thousands of people uprooting their lives and settling in new states.

But some regions are benefiting from an influx of new residents — a trend that can help those regions grow their economies and broaden their tax base — while others are experiencing a net loss of residents. About 25 US states saw more people moving within their borders last year, while about 25 states either lost residents or were relatively stable, according to an analysis of census data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

States gaining residents share a few traits, said Nadia Evangelou, senior economist and director of real estate research at NAR. On the one hand, many states have labor markets that have grown faster than average during the pandemic. And second, these are also states where housing is more affordable and available than in areas of the country that have lost residents.

The states that attracted the most new residents in 2022 are Florida, Texas, North Carolina, and South Carolina, followed by other southern and western states.

“Everyone knows about the low taxes and great weather in these areas, but something else that makes these areas popular is the strong job market recovery from the pandemic,” Evangelou told CBS News. “Not only have their savings been able to recover all the lost jobs, but there are 5% more jobs today than there were in 2020.”

Washington, DC also lost residents last year, according to NAR analysis. More than 3,600 residents left the city in 2022.

There could be another reason southern and western states attracted more residents last year: low taxes, according to the Tax Foundation. Some high-tax states, such as California and New York, lost residents in 2022.

Florida was the biggest net gainer last year, with around 319,000 people migrating to the state, according to NAR analysis. California lost the most people, with 343,000 leaving the state for other areas.

“This population shift paints a clear picture: people have moved from high-tax, high-cost states to low-tax, lower-cost alternatives,” political analyst Janelle Fritts wrote in an article by blog earlier this month.

Yet taxes may play only a small role in a family’s decision to move. More affordable housing and plentiful jobs may be more attractive, according to a new analysis of New York’s migration patterns by the Fiscal Policy Institute. Last year, nearly 300,000 people left New York State.

People who leave New York state typically save 15 times more from lower housing costs than from tax savings, according to the new analysis.

“Of the top twenty county-to-county flows out of New York State, median housing costs were significantly lower in the destination county,” the analysis notes. “On average, annual mortgage costs for median-priced homes are $18,300 lower in destination counties — a savings of 34% — compared to origin counties in New York.”

The cities that attracted the most moves last year were located in Florida, Texas and the Carolinas, according to NAR analysis. Cities like Ocala and Tallahassee in Florida and Houston, Texas were among the major cities where inbound movements exceeded outbound movements by more than six percentage points, NAR said.

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