The 20 States Americans are Fleeing, Why They’re Fleeing, and Where They’re Going

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Why Are Americans Leaving These States? In many states of the United States, there is a clear tendency: People are moving out.

Americans are leaving the following states for a variety of reasons, but one thing is for sure, they are leaving to improve their lifestyle. They search for a better job, for a lower cost of living, for a better climate, or to be closer to their family.

Let’s take a look at the states that they are moving from and the reasons why. Then, we’ll also show you where Americans are moving and why those states are especially attractive to them.

1. Michigan

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Outbound Moves – 50.2%

While Michigan offers a lot in the way of beautiful scenery, it doesn’t offer a whole lot in the way of employment. The wages are low with many jobs paying less than $20.00 per hour. Those leaving the state of Michigan head for larger metropolitan areas such as Boston, New York City, San Francisco, and Chicago.

Not only are the wages low but the unemployment rate rose to nearly 7% at the end of 2020. People need to work so they leave hoping to find a better paying job.

The Great Lakes State has long winters, and seniors are looking for a warm sunny place to retire. Michigan is lacking in the way of cultural events too, and residents who love museums and the theater often leave in search of more in the way of fine arts.

2. Oklahoma

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Outbound Moves- 50.7%

Employment and wages are the top reasons people leave Oklahoma. The Sooner State has a low minimum wage of only $7.25 an hour. Crops and crude oil are the main revenue in this state, but business men and women believe that money can be made only if there’s a boom in oil prices. If not, then they lose money.

Over 65% of the people fleeing Oklahoma do so because they need better paying jobs, while 17% want to live closer to their families. Oklahoma moved up seven spots in terms of outbound moves in the past year.

3. Minnesota

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Outbound Moves- 51.2%

Minnesota ties with Missouri in terms of outbound moves. The Bread and Butter State, better known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes, is known for dairy farming, but the unemployment rate has risen to 3.3% in the past 2 years, and it rose again to just over 4% in November, 2020. People flee this state in search of employment.

Residents also leave Minnesota because of the weather. The winters are freezing cold and the summers are hot. They are sick and tired of the long, cold winters so they move to a state where they can enjoy a warmer climate.

4. Missouri

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Outbound Moves- 51.2%

The Show Me State has lost 42% of its residents due to employment. There just aren’t enough jobs in this state, and statistics prove it. Missouri moved up 6 spots from last year in terms of outbound moves.

The undesirable climate is also a reason people are moving out of Missouri. The winters are very cold and the summers are unbearably hot. Residents say that in mid summer it’s rarely below 90 degrees.

So, it doesn’t come as a surprise that people feel the need to leave the state. They go to more dynamic states and choose places with a milder climate.

5. Nebraska

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Outbound Moves- 51.4%

While the cost of living is amongst the lowest in America, just over 70% of Nebraska residents move in search of employment. The taxes are high so seniors hoping to retire can’t afford to live here and they relocate to states that have lower taxes.

Nebraska, also known as the Corn Husker State, offers a comfortable, laid back way of life, but not if people can’t find a job. In past years, more people moved to Nebraska than those who moved out of the state, but not so much this year. They are leaving in hopes of finding a better job.

6. Mississippi

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Outbound Moves- 51.9%

Mississippi is the beautiful Magnolia State, but just over 70% of its residents are leaving for employments reasons. Although Mississippi offers a laid back relaxed atmosphere, it continues to have problems with employment.

Retirement and family are the other two reasons people move out of the state. They wish to move closer to their family, and the seniors are looking elsewhere for a place to spend their golden years. These are a lot of different reasons, and the more people are leaving, the less attractive the state gets. Hopefully it will find a way to get more attractive again.

7. Louisiana

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Outbound Moves- 52.7%

With the fourth highest unemployment rate in the United States, Louisiana lost 72% of its residents last year. They are searching for better jobs and higher wages. The Bayou State statistics say that the unemployment rate rose to 8.3% last year, and one in every 5 people are living well below the poverty level.

Folks love to visit Louisiana’s Mardi Gras, they love the yummy cajun style food, and they love the delicious seafood, but as far as living here, it’s difficult to find a decent paying job.

People are also moving from Louisiana because of the extreme high temperatures. Summers are long, often running from April through October, and more often than not it’s 100 degrees in the summertime. The humidity levels are high as are the temperatures.

8. Virginia

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Outbound Moves- 53.1%

Virginia ties with Indiana in terms of outbound moves, but why are so many people leaving? Not just 1,000 but tens of thousands of people move out of the Old Dominion state each year. At least half of them are people wishing to retire elsewhere, while fewer than 10% are in their late teens to mid 30’s. These folks are searching for a more inexpensive place in which to retire and better paying job opportunities.

Nearly 57% of those who move out of Virginia do so because they are looking for higher paying jobs. The minimum wage hasn’t changed; it continues to sit at $7.25 per hour.

Residents of Virginia also move to be closer to their families. They wish to find more affordable housing, and they say that lower lying areas flood so badly that it is a problem.

9. Indiana

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Outbound Moves- 53.1%

The Hoosier State is one of the most affordable places to live in the country. The unemployment rate is low, but the wages are also low. The minimum wage is sitting at $7.25 per hour, just as the state of Virginia is. Over 55% of those who move do so to find better paying jobs.

Seniors say that the taxes are too high in Indiana, so they move to a state where they are offered better tax incentives. They need a more inexpensive place in which to retire. That is a very powerful argument and a lot of persons follow this strategy.

10. Pennsylvania

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Outbound Moves- 53.3%

Jobs are the number one reason people leave the Keystone State, but not so much in the year 2020. As a matter of fact, last year Pennsylvania moved up 11 spots on the charts for outbound moves. But why do people leave this state? Over a ten-year period of time, thousands of people working for manufacturing companies have lost their jobs, and this tendency doesn’t seem to be about to change soon.

Property taxes remain low in Pennsylvania, but residents say their cities are depressed, with upkeep so poor that clean up after a storm is virtually non-existent.

11. Maryland

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Outbound Moves- 55%

Maryland is called the Free State but according to statistics, it’s not so free. The cost of living rates 7th highest in the United States. Housing is expensive and residents who move to a more affordable area have long commutes to work. They also move to suburban areas so their children can have access to better schools.

Employment and retirement are the two other reasons why people move out of the state of Maryland. With a high 26% of retirees moving to spend their golden years in a more affordable area, and the other 29% moving for employment reasons, the Free State increased 10 spots in outbound moves just over the past year.

12. Ohio

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Outbound Moves- 56.1%

The most important reasons residents are fleeing Ohio are for higher wages and better job opportunities. The wages are low and the unemployment rate is 1% under the national average. It cost money to live and people are moving where the money is. They need better paying jobs.

Another reason for people to leave the Buckeye State is the weather. They are wishing for longer summers and shorter winters. Since Ohio is located on the northern side of the United States, the winters are long and very cold. Seniors want to retire in a warmer climate than that of their home state of Ohio.

13. Massachusetts

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Outbound Moves- 56.6%

Massachusetts, or the Old Colony State, is rich in history with plenty of museums and fine arts to satisfy its residents, but the overall cost of living is just too high. People can’t afford to live there anymore. Massachusetts has been rated 6th on the charts for its high cost of living out of all of the states in the country.

Building a new home is expensive and renting a home is no longer affordable, so residents move away in search of a cheaper place to live. And there is quite a few states that offer better conditions.

14. North Dakota

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Outbound Moves- 56.7%

Although North Dakota offers a laid back way of life, the extremely cold winters are not so satisfying. But the climate isn’t the main reason why people leave the Peace Garden State though. It’s the job situation. More than 55% of the people leaving North Dakota do so in search of a better paying job.

The unemployment rate continues to be quite low as it rates only 9th in the United States. Still, residents say that modern amenities are not what they should be, so they go to more modern and more up-to-date places to settle down.

15. Kansas

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Outbound Moves- 58.6%

Just because Dorothy on the Wizard of Oz said there’s no place like home doesn’t mean that folks are staying in Kansas. Even though the cost of living is the 4th lowest in the country, the wages are undesirable.

If you’re seeking a slower paced life with little of the hectic hustle and bustle of large cities, the Sunflower State may be the place to live, but there’s not an abundance of employment opportunities available. People also leave for retirement reasons and to live closer to their families. So they are all moving to some of the attractive states we are going to list further.

16. California

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Outbound Moves- 63.5%

There was a time when people flocked to California for jobs but not so much anymore. Hollywood was attractive because of the availability of job opportunities, and the sunny beaches were amazing, but nowadays people leave because it’s so expensive to live there. California is rated the 3rd most expensive place to live in the country with Washington D.C. and Hawaii being the most expensive.

The cost of living is high in the Golden State, the housing prices are out of sight, taxes are high, and it’s difficult to obtain necessary homeowner’s insurance in places near the wild fires. Residents move from California in search of employment, a lower cost of living, and more inexpensive housing.

17. Connecticut

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Outbound Moves-63.5%

The beautiful beaches are no longer why people want to stay in Connecticut. They moved to the Nutmeg State because they enjoyed seaside living, but their property taxes, sales tax, and income taxes have risen so much in the past few years that it’s no longer affordable for them to keep living there. Even the utilities are expensive.

Retirement and employment are the other reasons why people move from Connecticut. Over a third of the state’s seniors move elsewhere to retire. Indeed, their retirement money is often times not sufficient to maintain their standard of living in Connecticut.

18. Illinois

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Outbound Moves-66.4%

The Prairie State is well known for the perks of living in Chicago. The fields of farm land are peaceful, but high property taxes are the reason residents move away from Illinois. Residents also fear that a rise in state income taxes may be next.

The high property taxes are used to pay for education, both to help fund public education and state college education. Unfortunately, educations still costs a lot of money, and people find it hard to pay the price, so they move to a place where they can afford to live and provide their kids with better opportunities.

19. New York

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Outbound Moves- 66.9%

Homeownership, both rent and the price to buy a home are very high in New York. The Empire State rates 5th in the country for the tremendously high cost of living. A lot of people have difficulty finding a place to live, as there is a lot of concurrence. Often, the places they find are very expensive and very small. So no wonder a lot of persons wish to move to a state where they can afford a better standard of living.

Property taxes are high as are the state income tax and the sales tax. Taxes have been on the rise since the early 2000’s.

20. New Jersey

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Outbound Moves- 69.5%

People whose roots are in New Jersey would love to retire here, but they can’t afford the taxes or the high cost of living. Even insurance prices are on the rise.

For three years now the Garden State has rated highest in outbound moves in the U.S. It has lost residents because they can’t afford to live where taxes are so high that they can no longer afford to pay them.

People Flee these States, but Where do They Go?

People relocate to areas where they’ll be nearer to their families, for better employment opportunities, for a lower cost of living, and a warmer climate, and the list of states below will prove that.

21. Wisconsin

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Inbound Moves-50%

Wisconsin, on the other hand, seems to be rather attractive to people. Indeed, many of them are now leaving other states in order to settle down there.

What makes Wisconsin so attractive? Nearly half of the people moving to Wisconsin are under 55 years old, and they move here for the job opportunities, which are quite numerous at the moment.

The snowbirds are leaving permanently in search of a warmer climate, but as far as those moving into the Badger State, they are definitely moving to make more money. They are looking for a better paying job than what they already have.

22. Colorado and Georgia

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Colorado: Inbound Moves-50.4%

One of the main reasons people to move to Colorado is because their families live there. In these uncertain times, they want to be closer to their parents, grandparents and siblings. They also go in search of better employment opportunities. Family and jobs tie in the Centennial State at just over 32%.

Georgia: Inbound Moves-51%

More people move to Georgia than those who move away from Georgia, even though the real estate is a little pricey. Wages are a little under the national average, so it would be wise to find a job before moving to the Peach State.

23. Montana and New Hampshire

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Montana: Inbound Moves- 51.2%

Montana is welcoming more people nowadays, especially those who are retiring with 41% of folks moving to the Big Sky State being retirees. What do they find so appealing about Montana? It’s really not the weather. It’s the clean fresh air, the beautiful scenery, and the peaceful, laid back way of life.

New Hampshire: Inbound Moves-51.8%

The lower cost of living is what draws most people to New Hampshire. There’s no sales tax or state income tax in the Granite State. Property taxes on the other hand are a little higher.

New Hampshire’s state motto is live free or die and they mean it in terms of sales and state income taxes, but not much for the property taxes. Home ownership can be pretty expensive for this very reason.

24. Iowa

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Iowa: inbound Moves-52.1%

Iowa has moved up the list 15 spots for inbound moves just in the past year, and it has been for a better job.

The Hawkeye State is a comfortable place to settle down, but some people say they leave for that very reason. They say they left Iowa because they felt stagnate. Progress in Iowa was just too slow for them.

Nevada: Inbound Moves-52.4%

Known as a melting pot, Nevada enjoys a diverse population. People move to the Silver State from all over the United States.

Tied with Kentucky for inbound moves, people moving to Nevada want to experience the night life on the Strip, but natives say that they may want to find a job first because the wages are not the greatest.

25. Kentucky and New Mexico

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Kentucky: Inbound Moves-52.4%

Kentucky is the Bluegrass State and it moved up 12 notches this year alone in terms of inbound moves. Although residents may commute to Indiana for work because they can earn more money, people continue to move here for work.

There are some great job opportunities in Kentucky, but the minimum wage hasn’t risen in quite a while. It remains at $7.25 an hour.

New Mexico: Inbound Moves-53.5%

People seeking warm, sunny days and beautiful scenery move to the Land of Enchantment to retire. Just over half of new residents are age 65 and above. Jobs aren’t readily available for younger people though, so it’s wise to look for work before moving here.

26. Texas and Utah

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Texas: Inbound Moves-54%

Texas has a low cost of living, but that’s not really the reason people move here. Young people are moving to the Lone Star State because they enjoy the atmosphere. The great nightlife, great food, and great neighborhoods are what make Texas appealing.

Utah: Inbound Moves- 54.9%

Once again, there are more job opportunities in this state. The main reason people moved to the Beehive State in the year 2020 was because of the employment opportunities. The inbound moves rose just over 6% from the previous year.

Around 10% of Utah’s economy is because of thriving technical companies, but the housing prices are rising in larger cities.

27. Washington

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Inbound Moves- 54.5%

You’ll find large companies in Washington, and that’s the number one reason people move to Washington State. Jobs are plentiful because companies like Amazon, Starbucks, and Microsoft have their headquarters here.

Younger professionals and their families look for lucrative job opportunities with higher pay that is available in the Evergreen State. Although wages are better, real estate costs are not. They tend to be a little on the high side. One more point that makes Washington state attractive is nature. More and more families want to raise their kids outside of town, while having good job opportunities closeby.

28. Washington D.C.

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Washington, DC: Inbound Moves- 55.5%

There are a number of reasons why people find the Capital State an appealing place to live. Washington D.C. ties with Rhode Island in terms of inbound moves, and great restaurants, the exciting nightlife, great availability of medical care, and better job opportunities are why folks move to Washington D.C.

Right now, because of the pandemic, the unemployment rate is a little high, but residents remain optimistic. They feel that they will see a change in unemployment as time goes on. The same goes for restaurants and nightlife that were so attractive to them: they are hopeful that everything will start again soon.

29. Rhode Island and Maine

Rhode Island: Inbound Moves- 55.5%

Rhode Island may be small but it is charming. The beauty of the Ocean State draws people like a magnet, but despite its beauty and charm, Rhode Island is an expensive place to live. The taxes and cost of living are high so please look for work before you move.

Maine: Inbound Moves-55.7%

Maine is known as the Pine Tree State and it’s number 2 on the list for places to live if you’re retired. 75% of people who move to Maine are age 55 and above. Retirees have a strong desire to live near the ocean, and they enjoy the beauty of the countryside.

30. Delaware and West Virginia

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Delaware: Inbound Moves- 57.8%

Delaware’s low taxes are one of the reasons folks move to the Diamond State. There is no sales tax and the property taxes are affordable. People over the age of 55 are attracted to Delaware, and the state’s newly acquired senior population proves that.

West Virginia: Inbound Moves- 58%

West Virginia is tied with Wyoming for inbound moves. The Mountain State is known for its awesome beauty and quaint living style. People find the mountainous terrain hard to resist.

Even so, people are moving to West Virginia for the job opportunities. There are a number of smaller tech companies here, and most are family owned, so be sure to look before you leap.

31. Wyoming

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Wyoming: Inbound Moves- 58%

The peaceful outdoor life draws people to the state of Wyoming, as this picture shows. There are 6 national parks, so there’s plenty of outdoor recreation to be enjoyed. The Equality State draws those who are following their dreams of starting their own small business because it’s easy and inexpensive.

Arkansas: Inbound Moves- 58.5%

Nearly 40% of the folks who move to the Land of Opportunity are ages 35 to 55 and they looking for better jobs. Some of the higher paying jobs can be found in the Little Rock area so do your research before moving.

32. Florida

Florida: Inbound Moves- 59.6%

Most people pull up stakes and move to Florida because of the year round warm weather. They love the sunny days, the awesome beaches, the sea, and even the amusement parks. The lifestyle is laid back, and you mostly find residents hanging out in shorts, t-shirts, and flip-flops. Seniors retire in Florida for this very reason.

Job opportunities in the Sunshine State aren’t what they were before the pandemic, but Florida is starting to open up again and tourism trade is on the rise. Hopefully, this tendency will keep going in the next months and years.

33. Alabama and Tennessee

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Alabama: Inbound Moves- 59.7%

Although job opportunities aren’t what people wish they were, the cost of living in the Yellow Hammer State remains relatively low. Earning a living may be difficult, but not for professionals such as attorneys and those who work in the medical field.

Tennessee: inbound Moves- 60%

People move to Tennessee because they love its natural beauty Country music fans enjoy the Grand Ole Opry, but the low cost of living also attracts people by the droves.

There’s no state income tax and property taxes are low, but there is a 9% sales tax if you reside in the Volunteer State. Graceland, Dollywood, and the beautiful scenery are the reasons why people move to Tennessee.

34. North Carolina and Arizona

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North Carolina: Inbound Moves- 60.2%

All within the borders of the Tar Heel State people have access to mountains and the beaches. The scenery is awesome and the low prices of real estate draw people to this state. In many large cities in the U.S. the cost of real estate is expensive, but not in North Carolina.

Arizona: Inbound Moves- 61.6%

There are 2 reasons why people move to Arizona- the low cost of living and the warm weather. Those dreaming of retirement move to the Grand Canyon State because they can be active outdoors year round. Last year Arizona ranked the 5th highest in the United States in terms of inbound moves.

35. South Dakota and Oregon

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South Dakota: Inbound Moves- 62.3%

The low population, the clean fresh air, and the sweet, sweet smell of country freedom travels far when you live in the Mount Rushmore State. Although the weather is cold in the winter time, outdoor enthusiasts enjoy living here. As far as job opportunities go, you may want to secure one before moving to South Dakota.

Oregon: Inbound Moves- 62.5%

Ranking 3rd in the U.S. for inbound moves, Oregon saw many new residents last year. The Beaver State enjoys record numbers of jobs with large tech companies near Portland, and hundreds of them are hiring. If you wish to move to Oregon, employment should be no problem.

36. South Carolina

Image: Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Inbound Moves- 64%

South Carolina’s weather and its laid back lifestyle are the 2 main reasons why people relocate here. Retirees find the Palmetto State so appealing with the close proximity to the beaches and low cost of living that they settle down to retire. So, they leave more expensive states and states with very cold winters to settle down there for their retirement.

Seniors find the warm climate so inviting, especially if they love to play golf, that they buy a vacation home in South Carolina and eventually move here permanently. That also makes the state more attractive to families, who wish to live close to their relatives.

37. Idaho

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Inbound Moves- 70.1%

People looking for better job opportunities move to Idaho. The numbers have risen so much in the last 3 years, not only because they found a great job, but also because of the friendly, down home atmosphere. In the stressful time we live in, this is a very appealing quality.

People who have experience working with computers come to the Gem State, and families seeking a great place to raise their family settle down here. The friendly welcome they get from natives make Idaho a desirable place to live. We can therefore predict that Idaho will remain an attractive state for quite some more time.