Americans have been on the move the past two years, and three recent studies of migration patterns show they are heading out West — although an analysis by the National Board of Realtors found those relocating may find it more affordable to rent than to own their new homes.
First, let’s look at where Americans have been relocating and why.
The Tax Foundation, an independent tax policy nonprofit, used U.S. Census Bureau population data, along with recently released data by U-Haul and United Van Lines, to determine — not surprisingly — that lightening one’s tax burden was one motive for migration.
“The picture painted by this population shift is a clear one of people leaving high-tax, high-cost states for lower-tax, lower-cost alternatives,” the foundation reported. It noted that six states (Florida, Tennessee, Texas, Nevada, New Hampshire, and South Dakota) in the top third of those experiencing in-migration from April 2020 to July 2021 don’t impose a personal income tax on residents.
The four states experiencing the most in-migration the past year, however, do have a personal income tax. The Tax Foundation acknowledged in its analysis that taxes may play little to no role in a family’s decision to move.
Technology and the pandemic-induced push for remote work have enabled and encouraged many workers to live where they like to play, the Deseret News has reported. Healthy economies and job prospects, which can also be impacted by corporate taxes, have also been factors for driving people to look West.
“The pandemic has accelerated changes in the way we live and work, making it far easier for people to move — and they have,” the foundation concluded. “As states work to maintain their competitive advantage, they should pay attention to where people are moving, and try to understand why.”