Connecticut (63.5% Outbound)
Connecticut showed up more than once on our list of most expensive cities to raise a family, so it might not be too surprising that people are heading elsewhere. The United Van Lines study shows that 63.5% of their cross-state trips to Connecticut involved carrying people out of it, and a Bloomberg analysis of Census data reached a similar conclusion. While local officials say that school enrollment is up, the state has definitely seen a net decrease in population.
According to current trends, Connecticut's population has dropped steadily for the last several years. Unlike some states on this list, a comeback seems unlikely for the Constitution State. Retirement and new job opportunities out of the state are the biggest contributors to people moving away.
Missouri (51.2% Outbound)
Utah (45.1% Outbound)
You might be confused to see Utah on this list if you keep up with the fastest-growing states in the country. While it’s true that Utah’s overall population has been booming (12% since 2010), this metric focuses on domestic migration. The bulk of Utah’s population grow can be attributed to births. It accounts for around 66% of the state’s growth. Meanwhile, the majority of moves are to out-of-state locations.
While a high birth rate helps contribute to population growth in Utah, interestingly enough, the state also has the lowest death rate in the nation. These factors have managed to keep Utah growing, despite the people leaving the state each year. Job opportunity accounts for 56.98% of the population moving out of the state.
Michigan (50.2% Outbound)
About 52.84% of those leaving Michigan cite their job as their reason for leaving and 17.90% cite family as their reason. Retirement, lifestyle, and health round out the rest of the reasons for the change.
According to a 2018 report from the Nebraska Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education, the "out-migration of Nebraskans with at least a bachelor's degree continues to be a serious issue."
Louisiana (52.7% Outbound)
Maryland (51.6% Outbound)
A slight majority of Maryland’s cross-border moves were to out-of-state locations instead of to internal ones. Community pride in Baltimore, the state’s largest city, has taken a hit recently, so it may be understanding for residents to want to explore other options elsewhere.
However, not all folks are leaving Maryland for the same reason. In 2020, the top three reasons for moving out of state were job changes (55%), retirement (26.89%), and unspecified family reasons (19.81%).
Hawaii (0.1% Outbound)
Why would anyone ever want to leave beautiful Hawaii? It may seem strange, but this scenic state has been one of the hardest hit by residents leaving.
The two most common reasons for leaving among islanders were a combination of difficulty finding housing and the cost of living. Hawaii currently has the highest median home value at $683,470. Overall, Hawaii saw a decrease in residents at about 0.1% in 2020, according to Hawaii Star.
North Dakota - 56.7%
Roughly 56.7% of outbound residents cite job opportunities for the reason for their move. As a matter of fact, according to exitcalifornia.org, for decades, droves of young, educated people have been leaving the state in search of better job opportunities.
While job changes were the #1 reason for moving away from Kentucky, nearly a quarter of all respondents said that lifestyle changes played a part in their decision to leave.
New Jersey (69.5% Outbound)
Despite its supposed status as a hipster playground, people are leaving New Jersey in droves. Based on moving van traffic into and out of the state, nearly 69.5% of movers were outbound, which means more people fled New Jersey last year than any other state in the nation. We'll take the high road and refrain from the easy jokes.
In particular, Millenials represent the largest demographic currently heading for the exits. All in all, New Jersey has been one of the hardest-hit northeastern states in terms of population decline. For most people, the biggest reason for leaving the state is retirement.
New York (66.9% Outbound)
Considering that fully half of the 10 most expensive cities to raise a family are all located in New York, it might not be surprising that people are leaving. New York City has a reputation as one of the world's greatest cities, but real estate costs are so expensive they have to be explained away on TV sitcoms—which doesn't bode well for real-life people trying to live there. Of people who hired a moving truck in 2020, 66.9% were leaving New York versus the almost 33.1% who were moving into the state.
However, residents leaving the Big Apple is far from the only population problem facing New York. According to the most recent statistics, 50% of counties in rural, upstate New York have also seen a drop in residents since 2010.
California (58.7% Outbound)
About 58.7% of California residents moved out of state in 2020, and it turns out it's not because of all the wildfires or earthquakes but because of the high cost of living.
Aaron Terrazas, a senior economist for Zillow, says that "costs have gotten way ahead of incomes in California, and that's making a lot of people think about whether it's worth the hurdles." Jobs and family were the two biggest reasons for leaving the state.
Wisconsin (50% Outbound)
Like many other states across the country, Wisconsin is seeing its population centers grow while its rural areas are losing residents. So while many residents are moving internally to large cities, when looking just at cross-border moves, Wisconsin comes out on the negative side.
To combat this wave of leaving residents, Wisconsin organizations have recently begun introducing efforts to retain citizens and attract new ones. These initiatives include things like marketing campaigns highlighting the benefits of the state.
Montana (48.8% Outbound)
Montana, as of 2020, has 48.8% of its residents choosing to move away. many of the residents leaving Montana are 65+, so retirement is a huge factor here at 17%. The other major reason for leaving that people cited, at 40%, is family.
Coincidentally, 29% of those moving to Montana are moving for a new job. So the concensus here is that Montana is a land of opportunity for those just starting out in their career, but when it comes time to retire, they move back to wherever their family resides.
Iowa (47.9% Outbound)
Internal growth factors in Iowa remain steady but slow. In fact, Iowa lost another congressional seat after the 2010 census as other areas in the country saw major gains. When examining moves into and out of the state, Iowa is tied with Maine thanks to many older residents retiring out of state and younger residents having a low birth rate. The total outbound in 2020 was 47.9%.
While some cities in Iowa have seen growth over the last decade, this upswing seems to be isolated to metropolitan areas. Rural communities have borne the brunt of citizens leaving the state.
Mississippi (51.9% Outbound)
Mississippi’s population has been relatively stagnant for some time, especially considering the boom in moves to the Southern U.S. In fact, it was recently passed up by its neighbor, Arkansas, in total population. Much of the outbound moves can probably be contributed to it having the lowest income per capita in the country. That being said, total outbound increased a bit in 2020 at just 51.9%.
This lack of relative wealth in Mississippi would explain why almost 60% of respondents said they were leaving the state for job reasons. Other factors that could contribute to leaving trailed far behind this clear majority.
Ohio (56.1% Outbound)
Ohio has long struggled to keep people from moving out—especially its younger population. In fact, of all Ohio's moving traffic, 56.1% of the relocations were outward to other states.
In 2017, Cuyahoga county in Ohio lost 4,940 citizens—making it the third-largest drop in county population across the entire United States.
Pennsylvania (53.3% Outbound)
In Pennsylvania, many people are leaving due to job opportunities. As a matter of fact, in 2020, 46.89% of outbound residents cited job opportunities as the reason for leaving. Another 19% cited family and retirement as their reasons for leaving.
Pennsylvania has seen an increase in people leaving, as of 2020, and a lot of it has to do with job opportunities. The reported percentage was 46.89% citing that cited jobs as the reason for leaving.
Kansas (58.6% Outbound)
Kansas's percentage of movers leaving the state this past year was 58.6%. Locals cite slow recovery from the economic downturn. Around 47% cited jobs as the reason for leaving.
However, economics might not be the only thing contributing to this loss of residents. The median age for a Kansas resident is 36, which points to an increasingly older population.
Massachusetts (54.8% Outbound)
As is the nationwide trend, domestic migration follows a pattern from the Northeast toward the Southwest. That means Massachusetts comes out a net loser when examining in-state and out-of-state moves. Part of the contributing factor could be that Massachusetts has a cost of living that is nearly 38% greater than the U.S. average.
However, Massachusetts may be making a comeback. Immigration has added a whopping 7 million new residents to the state since the last census.
Indiana (53.1% Outbound)
Indianapolis, the state’s capital, was the main driver of Indiana’s growth in the past few years. The rural areas of the state, meanwhile, are having a tough time. Those particularly reliant upon manufacturing, like Gary, saw a population decline. People living in counties close to the state border seem to have crossed over.
Things might be looking up for the Hoosier State, however. Compared to last year, the number of residents leaving Indiana has increased slightly.
Illinois (66.4% Outbound)
Illinois has been in the top five for several years, and this year it comes in at #3 with 66.4% of movers leaving because of the state of the economy.
Despite this drop in residents, Illinois is still the sixth-largest state in the nation, population wise. This is largely thanks to the size of Chicago, but with consistent movement out of the state, it's unclear how long they will be able to maintain their position.
West Virginia (62.5% Outbound)
West Virginia is losing residents, with over 62.5% of them being outbound last reported for 2019. And, unlike in some areas, there’s one major reason why people are leaving.
That reason is jobs or a lack thereof. In fact, according to surveys, the next most common reason for leaving West Virginia (jobs) is 51.85% in 2020.
Virginia (53.1% Outbound)
Population growth in Virginia is at its lowest since the 1920s. Almost 53.1% of its residents are leaving the state.
As far as reasons why people are leaving Virginia in droves, there doesn’t seem to be one common theme. Some former Virginians have pointed to traffic, severe weather, and cost of living as reasons to saying goodbye.
Kentucky (47.6% Outbound)
Minnesota (51.2% Outbound)
Minnesotans may be friendly, but they’re not too thrilled about where they live. 51.2% of residents are making a move elsewhere.
Just as with many states on this list, where jobs seem to be the reason for leaving with 51% citing it as the main reason. Reasons of family and retirement were the next biggest factors.