The States Americans Are Fleeing

Full article 6 min read

In search of a better quality of life, healthcare, jobs, and educational prospects, Americans are relocating thousands each year. As part of this never-ending trend, some states prove to be so much less appealing to people to live in that the scale of relocation is almost appalling.

The annual report from national moving companies revealed interesting stats and insights into which states people are leaving. We put together the list of the “top” states as well as the reasons why people no longer see them as vibrant and promising places to live.


Top States People Are Leaving

1. New Jersey

For the fifth year in a row, New Jersey is the least popular state to live in which is seeing many of its inhabitants trading it off for other places. Why is this happening?

According to the United Van Lines report, most people stated they are leaving because of poor job and retirement opportunities. Other possible reasons that were suggested by New Jersey’s channel, News 12, include bad state roads, high property taxes, and recently introduced gas tax.

2. Illinois

Experts predict gloomy trends for this state in the upcoming years. The number of those fleeing Illinois will continue to grow over the next few years. The most common reasons specified by people are high crime rates, weather, high property taxes, and unemployment. In most cases, people are leaving for warmer places like Texas, Arizona, and Florida.

3. New York

New York is seeing an alarmingly high number of people abandoning it for other states. In fact, the figure is at an all-time high since 2010. People are driven out by the high cost of living, fewer retirement opportunities, and search for a warmer climate.

A lot of people also feel that the work-life balance in New York is simply too challenging for them to bear. The overcrowded city scene does not allow for a quiet retreat either.

Some people choose to live in the nearby states, moving from New York to New Jersey to reduce costs and have less crowded streets when at home.

4. Connecticut

Connecticut used to be one of the richest states in the US. Right now, however, it feels more like a dim memory than a tangible reality. In fact, not only people are fleeing the state but large corporations (and, therefore, major local employers) like Aetna as well.

Whatever the reason for poor economic trends, the state is now stagnating in terms of business development. The cities are struggling to allocate enough budget for public needs and many are facing bankruptcy.

Would the solution be to increase the corporate tax rate which is now the lowest in the country? This is yet to be seen as well as whether Connecticut will succeed in making itself an appealing place to live in.


5. Kansas

In couple of recent years, Kansas has seen thousands of people leaving, mainly due to the shrinking job opportunities. The aviation industry alone cut over 15,000 jobs and you can imagine what impact it had on the local communities.

Right now, the state tries to substitute lost opportunities with industries like IT and healthcare but whether this venture will succeed remains unknown just yet.

6. Kentucky

Family and job relocation are the top reasons people are moving out of Kentucky. Eastern Kentucky, in particular, is struggling to overcome growing poverty, high unemployment caused by the defunct coal industry and shrinking expectancy rate.

The median income in some of the counties is $22,000 or less which is barely enough to keep one’s head above water. Yet at the same time Kentucky is home to one of the most breathtaking landscapes and scenery in the US.

7. West Virginia

Millennials are the largest demographics group that is fleeing West Virginia. This means that if this trend continues, West Virginia will be a state with the predominantly aging population in a few decades.

Once one of the states largely dependent on the coal industry, West Virginia now faces a harsh reality of searching for viable alternatives, and young people find it easier to relocate than fight against poor employment prospects and low income.

8. Ohio

Midwestern states like Ohio were hit hard by the shrinking economy. In addition, aging population is increasingly keen to relocate to the warmer states.

In terms of salary growth, Ohio is way behind the average 2.4% across the US with its 1.4%. Only Columbus continues to grow and offer lucrative job opportunities. Unfortunately, that is not enough to reverse the trend just now.


Written by

Alex Sherr is the founder of Long Distance Moving, a blog that provides moving information and resources for people who are relocating. He has more than two decades of experience in the moving and relocation industry, and he is passionate about helping people relocate smoothly and efficiently. When he's not writing or blogging, Alex enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children.