Americans are leaving their homes in search of more affordable living — these are the top 5 states they abandoned in 2023

Author: Vawn Himmelsbach

Americans are moving all across the country in a bid to find affordable, lower-density metro areas, according to the 47th annual National Movers Study from United Van Lines.

According to 2023 state-to-state migration patterns, Vermont, South Carolina, Arkansas, Rhode Island and Washington, DC were some of the states that saw a surge in popularity.

In fact, for the third consecutive year, Vermont received more inbound residents than any other state.

When it came to desirable locations for those entering their retirement years, Florida, Delaware, South Carolina, Maine and New Mexico came out on top — which is no surprise given that most offer tax benefits for retirees, according to another United Van Lines report.

But what about the states that people started to abandon in the last 12 months — the Midwest and West region of the U.S. where an outbound moving trend has been gaining traction?

Here are the five states Americans are leaving behind.

1. New Jersey

For the sixth consecutive year, New Jersey topped the list of U.S. states that residents abandoned.

Sixty-five percent of New Jersey moves last year were outbound, with retirement (27%) cited as the main reason, followed by moving closer to family (21.4%) and work transfers (16.4%).

Although only 4.5% of respondents cited cost of living as their main reason for moving, it was still likely a contributing factor in the decision to pack up and leave.

Why? Because New Jersey isn’t cheap. According to U.S. News data, it’s ranked 48th in affordability, taking into consideration both the cost of living and housing affordability. It also has the sixth-highest state and local tax burden in the country.

In a recent Monmouth poll, roughly half of New Jersey residents said they wanted to leave the state, citing the high cost of living as a key factor. It’s possible that taxes are also a significant component since 74% of those who left reported making more than $100,000 annually.

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2. Illinois

In a survey conducted for the Illinois Policy Institute, 51% of residents said they wanted to leave the state.

The main reason? Taxes. Illinois has the seventh-highest state and local tax burden in the U.S.

Despite wanting to escape high taxes, people who left Illinois did it for a variety of reasons, including new job opportunities (26.1%), retirement (21.4%) or to be closer to family (19.7%).

3. North Dakota

The state saw the third-highest number of outbound moves last year, many of whom (50%) decamped due to a new job or work transfer.

Although North Dakota is ranked eighth for overall affordability, it’s a sparsely populated state with only 11.3 people per square mile, making job opportunities a struggle for certain industries.

Retirement was another popular reason for leaving — no doubt North Dakota’s cold winters didn’t help matters — while the third most common reason was a desire to be closer to family.

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4. New York

New York State saw the fourth-largest outbound migration in 2023. Of those surveyed, the reasons cited were to be closer to family (24.8%), retirement (21.9%) and work transfers (19.3%).

The 2024 Marist Poll of New York State residents found the cost of living is not very affordable (48%) or not affordable at all (33%). New York also has the highest state and local tax burden in the U.S. and is ranked 45th in affordability by U.S. News.

The outflow of people is expected to continue, as the Marist Poll also found that 37% of New Yorkers plan to leave the state within the next five years, with about two in five residents (41%) citing cost of living as the main reason.

5. Michigan

Michigan lost the fifth-highest number of people last year — despite the fact it has the fifth-lowest tax burden in the country and is close to the median in affordability (22nd).

So, why are so many residents leaving? The most common reason was for a new job or work transfer (30.5%). That’s due in part to Michigan’s “brain drain.” Each year, the state loses thousands of post-graduate students, many from knowledge economy fields.

Vawn Himmelsbach Freelance Contributor

Vawn Himmelsbach is a journalist who has been covering tech, business and travel for more than two decades. Her work has been published in a variety of publications, including The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, National Post, CBC News, ITbusiness, CAA Magazine, Zoomer, BOLD Magazine and Travelweek, among others.

Note:- Publisher is not necessarily agree with the author’s point of view and not responsible for any consequences.

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