While change is inevitable in the human experience, sometimes the waves it brings are more than just ripples; they are tidal changes that radically alter people's lives and the environments in which they exist.
Long-distance relocation has seen a sea change in recent years. Our views on work, home, and opportunity have been radically altered by a series of extraordinary occasions over the past few years. What happened then?
There has been a dramatic increase in the number of people willing to take on the enormous challenge of moving large distances to pursue exciting new opportunities.
Let's look closer at the Top 10 States People are Fleeing and the Whys Behind the Goodbyes.
With its alluring weather and booming tech scene, California has long been the land of dreams. It is a place where golden beaches meet the shimmering Pacific, where Hollywood's dreams are woven into reality, and the sun-kissed days seem eternal. But lately, dreams are turning into goodbyes, as over 132,000 households left in 2023. Who’s the culprit? Well, it's not the sun.
It's rising housing costs that could make your jaw drop. Skyrocketing prices have placed homeownership beyond the grasp of many, leaving the dream of a house with a white picket fence lingering as a distant mirage.
But the story doesn't end there. Rising taxes have become an unrelenting roller coaster for Californians. With each financial peak and valley, the burden grows heavier, casting a shadow over the promises of prosperity.
Wildfires and a rising cost of living add fuel to the emigration fire. Many Californians are rolling the dice and heading to the Lone Star State, Texas.
2. New York
New York, the concrete jungle where dreams are made, has hit a sour note for many. Many people dream of spending life in New York, but the mirror always has two side. The cost of living here is soaring higher than skyscrapers. With local, state, and federal taxes escalating like a Broadway crescendo, many are singing a sad farewell song.
The pandemic reimagined work, and now, remote work is in vogue, letting people choose proximity to loved ones over the hustle and bustle of the city. A staggering net loss of over 75,000 families last year signals that New York's siren call is fading for some.
The Windy City might be famed for its skyline, but people are starting to see a new horizon elsewhere. Illinois saw a net loss of households, with opportunity-seekers and housing hunters bidding the state adieu.
High taxes, particularly the lurking specter of property taxes, are part of the escape plan for nearly half of would-be movers. Rough weather, high traffic, and concerns about crime only deepen the blow for the state's shrinking population.
With its mix of industry and history, Pennsylvania is facing a decline in residents, a loss attributed to the fallout from the pandemic. Job losses and the state's moody weather might be driving this departure.
Seeking greener job pastures in neighboring states and even chasing the sun to warmer states with a lower cost of living are strategies for families seeking better opportunities. The Keystone State's population is also showing some cracks.
Massachusetts, a hub of intellect and economy, is grappling with a net loss of 15,489 households, and the population shrunk by 8%. Retirement plans and job aspirations are at the heart of this shift. While the state boasts solid economic growth, remote work's rise has prompted families to venture beyond crowded cityscapes.
Just like in a Boston Tea Party scene, residents toss old expectations overboard in pursuit of new horizons.
While Washington's landscapes are lush, its living costs are sky-high. Residents find refuge in neighboring states like Oregon and Idaho, where the cost of living is gentler on the wallet.
The housing crisis, now as deep-rooted as the towering trees, coupled with remote work options, resulted in the loss of over 13,000 families in 2021 and 9000 families in 2022. Washington's residents are finding a new path through neighboring pastures.
Colorado's political shift and high cost of living paint a rocky picture for many. A net loss of 12,145 families is shaking the state. While politics are driving some conservatives away, the steep cost of living and elusive real estate prices fuel the flight.
Traffic snarls, crime upticks, and pollution woes are sealing the deal for many who decide it's time to seek greener, cleaner pastures.
Indiana's nearly 12,000-family loss in 2021 is a narrative of paychecks and pensions. Lower-than-average pay and the taxing of retirement income are prompting residents to venture elsewhere.
Neighboring states offer better paydays, tempting those in pursuit of fatter wallets. Indiana's fields might be wide, but some residents see greener grass beyond the state lines.
Michigan's departure narrative reads like a menu: retirement, family, and employment opportunities. Even amid a nationwide worker shortage, many believe better working conditions await across state borders.
A net loss of nearly 11,000 households speaks to this yearning for a fresh start. Michigan might be divided into thirds, but its residents are united in their search for something new.
In Wisconsin, a chilly wind is blowing as families move out in droves. A net loss of 10,000 households is felt as keenly as a winter frost. Job changes and a longing to be closer to family have become accessible in today's shifting employment landscape.
High tax rates and harsh weather conditions provide the final nudge. Wisconsin's snowflakes are beautiful, but for some, they're not enough to warm their hearts.
States Most People Are Leaving From
So, there you have it—a journey through the 10 states where change is in the air. Reasons for emigrating from the United States are as varied as its population, ranging from dissatisfaction with current conditions to political disillusion to a desire for a better quality of life.
As people leave, these states must find ways to attract new citizens and keep their places in American history.
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I’m Steve. I’m an English Teacher, traveler, and an avid outdoorsman. If you’d like to comment, ask a question, or simply say hi, leave me a message here, on Twitter (@thefrugalexpat1). Many of my posts have been written to help those in their journey to financial independence. I am on my journey, and as I learn more I hope to share more. And as always, thanks for reading The Frugal Expat.