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Americans are on the move to freer pastures


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Meg Tuszynski and Dean Stansel

Jan 31, 2018

Last year, nearly 5.5 million Americans moved from one state to another. The need to escape overly burdensome governments may be at least part of the reason why.

North American Moving Services recently released a report detailing state-to-state moves during 2017. Using Census data, the moving company clearly showed which states experienced net outflows of residents last year and which states experienced net inflows. The top ten inbound states were Arizona, Idaho, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Florida, Oregon, Georgia, Colorado, and Texas.

The top ten outbound states were Illinois, Connecticut, New Jersey, California, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, New York, Maryland, and Washington.

The moving company doesn’t need to know why people move — it just needs to understand where they move in order to run its business efficiently. What is interesting to us, as empirical researchers, is why people move. Using data from the Fraser Institute’s annual "Economic Freedom of North America" report, we find that people prefer to move to states with lower taxes, more reasonable levels of government spending, and friendlier labor markets.


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