The Northeast Continues to Rank High in Outbound Moves
The success of any State, County or Municipality can be measured by the desire of people and businesses to move to that location. In a recent study by United Van Lines “United Van Lines 2012 Migration Study Reveals Northeastern U.S. Exodus” they measured the migration of movers to and from States throughout the U.S.
The report noted the top 5 inbound migration and 9 outbound migration States. New Jersey ranked #1 in outbound moves along with 3 other Northeast States.
It was noted in the article by Professor Stoll that high inbound States were attractive because of their lower housing costs, more temperate climate and growing economies. Little was said as to why a State would have high migration so I looked into cause.
My first inclination was taxes.
I merged tax data (sales tax, property tax and income tax) with the migration data and found — no surprise — that 5 of the top 7 highest taxing sStates also had the highest out of State migration.
These top 5 States are Wisconsin, New Jersey, Illinois, Connecticut and Michigan. Lower taxing states had balanced or high inbound migration. There is a very clear correlation between high taxes and high migration. If you live in a high taxing state and can move, why not move to warmer temperatures and lower taxes?
As Mayor of Haddon Heights, one of my overriding objectives was to increase the value of property investments, which are typically the biggest investment most folks can make. All our efforts including reducing expenses and taxes, and increasing the quality of life contributed positively to a community that others would want to migrate into. We were competing with surrounding towns for property buyers. The thought was if we could get more buyers demanding the properties in Haddon Heights, then purchase prices would inevitably increase. This also would have a direct effect on the equity of other homes in our community. A 10% increase in property value was certainly better than a 10% decrease in taxes.
It is clear from the data that in order to reduce outbound migration in this economic climate, states need to reduce their overall percentage take of residents’ disposable income. New Jersey is heading in the right direction by not increasing sales and income taxes and capping property taxes. But a tax reduction as Governor Christie has suggested is going to be needed to compete with the lower tax and temperature States like the Carolinas, Florida, Delaware and Nevada.
So either Democratic State Legislators figure out how to work with the Governor to support a tax reduction or maybe they can figure out how to raise the states’ temperature 10 degrees. One or the other would make our state more appealing!