Top 10 U.S. States People are Leaving

Which U.S. states are losing the most residents to other states?
Net migration = people moving in - people moving out
From July 1, 2018 – July 1, 2019
Quiz by Quizmaster
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Last updated: September 15, 2020
First submittedSeptember 15, 2020
Times taken9,692
Rating4.24
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Net Migration
State
−203,414
California
−180,649
New York
−104,986
Illinois
−48,946
New Jersey
−30,274
Massachusetts
Net Migration
State
−26,045
Louisiana
−23,670
Michigan
−23,665
Maryland
−22,059
Connecticut
−19,588
Pennsylvania
+12
Level ∞
Sep 15, 2020
It will be interesting to see how this quiz looks in the next couple of years. I have a feeling that New York City alone could lose half a million residents.
+4
Level 45
Sep 16, 2020
sadly
+9
Level 78
Sep 27, 2020
The poor management of the governor and mayor have really caused a mass exodus this year alone. It's sad to see.
+7
Level 65
Sep 27, 2020
Cuomo's efforts have been near-universally praised. Pretty much the only people maligning his work are Trump supporters who are doing it reflexively. De Blasio, on the other hand...oof.
+2
Level 55
Sep 29, 2020
Cuomo put recovering COVID patients in nursing homes when one of the only things we knew about the virus was that it was much more deadly for the elderly.
+1
Level 74
Oct 2, 2020
Cuomo issued an order that nursing homes assumed meant they had to take in patients (it didn't exactly). But here's the thing - the order was for them to take in medically stable patients who didn't need hospitalization but needed nursing home care. A lot of people don't realize this, but when the virus hit nursing homes, homes across the country were refusing to let residents reenter the home even if cleared of the virus. So you're in a nursing home, you get sick, you go to the hospital, you get better, and they have to get you out of the hospital because they need the beds... but the nursing home won't take you back in. And now you're homeless. As someone with a family member in a home back then, it was a HUGE problem.

What Cuomo didn't anticipate was that the homes would refuse to take proper precautions on their own, like isolating those patients taken in, not sharing staff with other patients, etc. Honestly, more proof of the need for regulation than anything else.

+6
Level 55
Sep 28, 2020
NY has no gun rights, high taxes, and now high crime and most smart business folks and residents are leaving in droves. Same with California. The problem is that many of them vote in bad problems in those states, and then move to places like Austin, Texas, and turn it into the same circus by voting in crap.
+1
Level 28
Sep 30, 2020
I think you're just using your opinions on those states and acting like that's exactly why people are moving away. Do you really think that other people on the other side wouldn't say the exact same thing about culture from the south? It's always funny to me that people on the extreme ends of political spectrums have much more in common than they think.
+2
Level 74
Oct 2, 2020
"no gun rights"?

That's absurd.

+1
Level 74
Oct 2, 2020
Oh, and for the vast majority of the population, California has lower tax rates than Texas. Only the very wealthy are better off in Texas.
+1
Level 70
Oct 17, 2020
This isn't accurate, shorty. While Texas taxes are higher in some areas than CA, it doesn't pan out that we are better off than they are. Our gas taxes, utility taxes, and sales taxes add up to a lot for the average citizen, not just the "very wealthy." And our property taxes are through the roof because our property is worth much more than property in Texas. This gets passed on to average people in rental costs, business costs and so on.
+2
Level 32
Sep 29, 2020
You should allow answers without double letters, it's not always easy for people who's first language is not English to spell everything right.
+1
Level 56
Oct 23, 2020
Soon there's going to be more New Yorkers in Florida than in New York!
+23
Level 72
Sep 15, 2020
Other than Louisiana, which people I'd guess people are primary leaving because of hurricane damage, these states have voted blue 61 out of 63 times since the 1992 election
+25
Level 81
Sep 15, 2020
....and voting blue when they get to the red states.
+13
Level 55
Sep 27, 2020
I agree with you, I think that the Democrats have a tendency to think in ideals rather than practicalities including when it comes to economic issues.
+1
Level 74
Oct 2, 2020
gzx5 - sort of like the Republicans consistently voting for lower taxes because that's their ideal, but forgetting the practical side of things that they have to pay for their spending somehow? (and no, tax cuts don't pay for themselves)
+12
Level 70
Sep 16, 2020
I think that a lot of these states have at least one city that either has very high crime or is super expensive to live in. I don't necessarily think it has much to do with political beliefs.
+18
Level 66
Sep 16, 2020
I disagree. The problem isn't that these states are Democrat, but have policies so detrimental to the economy, along with actual clowns as governor, that they just destroy the economy, and when they go to other states, they rinse and repeat. This is why I don't travel to Philly anymore, despite being able to see the Comcast building in the skyline from my neighborhood.
+14
Level 82
Sep 16, 2020
That may seem logical in theory put the data says otherwise. Eight of these ten states are in the top 12 in GDP per capita: Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, California, Washington, Maryland and Illinois. Pennsylvania (#18) is above the national median; only Louisiana is below the median. Rather than having economies that are a "mess," these are the most prosperous states in the union. More likely, the problem is that in this winner-take-all economy, the high cost of living in these places resulting from this prosperity causes many--particularly those less successful financially--to seek other options. (Then again, per capita numbers may show that people are not disproportionately leaving these states compared to most others.)
+7
Level 67
Sep 27, 2020
@nonono have you been to california? there are massive camps filled with thousands of hobos a few miles away from multi-million dollar mansions. GDP doesn't tell you about that kind of stuff.
+4
Level 72
Sep 27, 2020
All of the states on this list are either in the north or have numerous natural disasters. California has earthquakes, wildfires, landslides, and persistent draught. Louisiana gets battered by hurricanes each year. The rest, with the possible exception of Maryland, have cold and snowy winters. I know a lot of people from Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Western New York who move to Texas, Florida, Tennessee, Arizona, or North Carolina when they retire because they don't have to spend half the year shoveling snow. A lot of these states have ageing populations and when people get older, they want warmer weather.
+2
Level 65
Sep 27, 2020
Nonono's thesis reflects what I've observed in Illinois, where I've lived for eight years. The part of Chicago in which I live is positively booming: new condo buildings going up on seemingly every corner, and rents are continually going up. Lots of people are moving here...but they're mostly white-collar people coming from top schools who are going to make a lot of money. I don't know how a blue-collar person could keep up with the rising cost of living. A lot of the working-class people I know are moving to Colorado or Tennessee, and which one seems to depend on their age: younger people to Colorado and older people, many of whom are near retirement, go to Tennessee. People downstate are spreading across the nearby red states. I don't know that job prospects are any better in those states, but the cost of living is lower.
+1
Level 55
Sep 28, 2020
High crime and high taxes ARE tied directly to political beliefs and the type of people and policies elected, though. You cannot separate the two. These super blue states have less freedom, less gun rights, a silly attitude towards rising crime/protests, and ridiculous expenses and high taxes. I would rather live in a swamp.
+3
Level 46
Sep 28, 2020
A lot of those states have some of the lowest crime statistically. The US is big and that stuff can be had in degrees anywhere.
+1
Level 49
Sep 29, 2020
@YellowJacket I don't think that's the case. A lot of these states are pretty expensive, and with your theory, Texas and Florida have a lot of hurricanes too.
+1
Level 74
Oct 2, 2020
jmellor13 -

Anyone nearing retirement moving from Illinois to Tennessee really needs to rethink their planning. I'm not saying staying in Illinois is the best thing for them, but Tennessee will just nail them with taxes - there's no income tax there (none on retirement income in Illinois either, though). But their sales taxes are high and are far broader than those in Illinois.

+7
Level 79
Sep 16, 2020
Like others, I think it's more a matter of people leaving: dense populations, high costs of living, and cold locations - for places less so.
+9
Level ∞
Sep 16, 2020
This is mostly it. But I'd add high taxes and public safety to the list of concerns as well. An Illinois couple making $200,000/year pays about $10,000/year just in state income taxes. Add in property and sales taxes, and the tax savings of moving to Florida could be as much as $20,000/year. That's enough to pay the mortgage on a decent house.
+6
Level ∞
Sep 16, 2020
And of course nothing causes people to move so much as being mugged. My uncle used to live in New York City until he got shot by a robber at his workplace.
+1
Level 68
Sep 27, 2020
While you may not have incomes taxes in Florida, they're going to hit you with other taxes so it balances out in the end. Here in NC, the GOP crowed and crowed about cutting personal income taxes but they failed to mention the 40-50 services previously untaxed that you now pay sales tax on. The next year after the cuts and increases took place, I paid about $75 less in income taxes and paid $115 more in sales tax. So unless you live like a recluse, drive no vehicle or use no other services, you end up paying more.
+1
Level 75
Sep 27, 2020
Quizmaster - I wonder if your uncle moved to one of the 33 states with a higher murder rate than New York. States like Louisiana, Missouri, Alaska, New Mexico, Alabama, Florida, Nevada, Indiana, North Carolina, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Arizona, Texas, Kansas, Colorado and Montana.
+1
Level 62
Sep 27, 2020
I'm not gonna comment on the whole "crime" debate going on below (because I'm not very well informed on it), but I'm willing to bet that in the near future, climate change and natural disaster will be a major factor, especially on the West Coast. I'm guessing wildfires and droughts will push even more people out of California and possibly states like Oregon and Washington.
+2
Level ∞
Sep 27, 2020
At @kitshef, this was in 1993, when New York City's murder rate was sky high. My uncle is not actually a moron.
+8
Level 80
Sep 16, 2020
yeah I'm not sure why this comment or the one you left on the inverse quiz is relevant. People move for jobs. Or because they want to go to Florida and retire. Almost nobody moves for politics or crime. Also most of these states have more people to lose, because historically millions of people moved to them. And the population of California is still increasing. Losing 200k people from the state is fairly insignificant from a state of 30 million people. If you looked at percentages instead of absolute numbers I think West Virginia would be ahead of California.
+4
Level ∞
Sep 17, 2020
People definitely move for crime, if it's bad enough. Detroit's population fell from 1.8 million to less than 700,000, and crime was a huge part of that. That said, the violent crime rate in New York and Los Angeles is pretty low by U.S. standards.
+6
Level 69
Sep 19, 2020
I thought the Detroit thing was mainly due to the evacuation of industrial jobs from the area, that attracted the people there in the first place.
+3
Level ∞
Sep 26, 2020
The population of Metro Detroit is still near all-time highs even though the population of the city has fallen by 70%. Losing manufacturing jobs didn't help, but the decline of the city of Detroit was very much due to crime.
+3
Level 72
Sep 27, 2020
Can’t both apply here? People who live in suburbs usually have jobs in the public or commercial sectors, not manufacturing. They also can avoid the higher crime rates of the city center, while enjoying all the benefits that a city brings. It seems like a combo of both economic & social factors to me
+7
Level 80
Sep 27, 2020
QM: with respect, that's baloney. What ing said. And if anything the crime rate is a byproduct of the same thing: decaying industry, massive job losses and unemployment. If Detroit still had a robust economy like they had in Henry Ford's era, when jobs at Ford manufacturing plants were among the best-paid and most secure blue collar jobs in the world, very few people would be leaving and crime rates would be significantly lower.

IF people are a) the sort of people who like to move around, b) the sort of people who can easily find jobs in different locations, and c) relatively affluent... then they may very well decide to move somewhere else with better culture, nicer climate, a livelier arts scene, etc. .... but that does not describe the average person. The average person doesn't like to move. And they don't move unless they have to. And the only reason they would see it as a necessity is if they couldn't feed themselves.

+5
Level 80
Sep 27, 2020
Most people view the place where they are from as safe, and other places as dangerous. I've seen this attitude over, and over, and over again... I've heard it from Egyptians. I've heard it from Palestinians. I've heard it from Colombians. I've heard it from Pakistanis who grew up in Swat (was Taleban territory for a while). I've heard it from Syrians from Aleppo and Homs believe it or not. And... I've been the one saying this myself, when I encounter foreigners who believe that the United States is somehow too dangerous to travel to, which is absurd, and I counter with the fact that I grew up outside of Washington DC in the 80s during the crack cocaine epidemic and never once in my life have witnessed a violent crime take place anywhere in the country.

Even if a place is statistically or relatively less safe, people get used to it. They learn how to be safe. It's exceedingly rare that large numbers of people leave for safety, and requires an extreme situation like war.

+2
Level 80
Sep 27, 2020
and, even *if* someone or some family decides they need to leave a place because of crime, it would be very rare that they made that decision without securing a job somewhere else first.

I have moved blindly to some far away place without first having a job there... but... I'm unusual.

+1
Level 58
Sep 27, 2020
What's new, people are fleeing liberalism. The truth hurts Kalba buddy. Knowing you, I certainly predicted your head would just sink deeper into the sand.
+1
Level 63
Sep 28, 2020
People do in fact move for crime, politics or taxes. I live in southern Illinois where we pay the taxes that Chicago politicians vote for. What works for Chicago definitely does NOT always work for the rest of the state. I know 3 families specifically that have moved to Missouri to be rid of high taxes and corrupt politics. It does happen more than you realize.
+1
Level 46
Sep 28, 2020
@Quizmaster Crime may be related, but I'd bet it had a lot more to do with the drying up jobs/economy (which itself can exacerbate crime anyway).
+1
Level 46
Sep 28, 2020
@amgine yours is a response reserved for those who often apply the lens of politics to every aspect of life. In that, you think it's the cause and solution of all problems. Pretty sad.
+2
Level 55
Sep 27, 2020
These are the economic engines of the country; they all have areas of high property value and major economic hubs, which drive up property values. It's also worth noting that a much larger portion of total immigration is now coming not from the coasts but from south of the border.

In any case, these states are the ones providing the surplus taxes that fund the states these immigrants are moving to.

+2
Level 43
Sep 27, 2020
I'm moving to Illinois from New Hampshire
+1
Level 58
Sep 27, 2020
Katrina was 15 years ago, so those people left a long time ago. Louisiana is a corrupt state, has a state income tax (unlike it's prosperous neighbor, Texas and nearby Florida) and is suffering from a shrinking job market. I should know, I left there in 2016...for Texas.
+1
Level 28
Sep 30, 2020
Yea, I wonder what the results would be if you changed the quiz to "Top 10 US States that People WANT to leave"

What do you think the results would say then?

+8
Level 82
Sep 15, 2020
Per capita numbers would be interesting as both this and the opposite quiz skew to the large states. A quick check of a few random states here shows that Louisiana and Connecticut both have higher per capita exit rates than California. I suspect that some smaller states (e.g,, Wyoming, Maine or South Dakota) might move into the top tens while some of the larger states might regress to the mean.
+4
Level 71
Sep 17, 2020
This is only about internal migration, right? I would assume most of these states have positive net migration if immigrants from other countries are taken into account.
+1
Level ∞
Sep 17, 2020
Yes, it's only internal migration. But I think most of these states would still be negative even accounting for international movements.
+4
Level 49
Sep 27, 2020
Los Angeles and New York City are literally some of the largest hubs for international immigration in the world. They most likely have enough of an effect to at least be noticeable.
+1
Level 80
Sep 27, 2020
The top five almost certainly do. The bottom five I would guess do not.
+4
Level 55
Sep 27, 2020
Of course, all the protests aren't exactly helping this either...
+3
Level 80
Sep 27, 2020
Extremely negligible effect, if any at all. They are getting played up right now to try and scare conservative voters, and anger liberal ones.
+4
Level ∞
Sep 27, 2020
I don't know @kal. I live a half mile from the autonomous zone in Seattle where "security" gunned down and killed 2 teenagers. The quality of life here has definitely deteriorated, with many new homeless camps cropping up nearby, sometimes with more murders and violence. I don't know what the news is saying, I can only report what I see with my own eyes every day. People won't leave because of politics, but they will leave if they don't feel safe.
+2
Level 72
Sep 27, 2020
@Quizmaster, I would think the super high cost of living in Seattle would be more likely to make people move. The cost of living in Seattle is about $400,000 more than the rest of Washington State as a whole. I know many metro areas have higher cost of living than the rest of the state but not that much. Agreeing with kal, the protests are temporary. The cost of living is not.
+1
Level ∞
Sep 27, 2020
If the murder rate continues to increase, the cost of living problem will sort itself out. :)
+3
Level 32
Sep 27, 2020
Just reminding everyone that the dates of the quiz are 7/18 to 7/19 so has nothing to do with protests or coronavirus. I would mostly wager this has to do with aging people retiring and moving to lower tax states and warmer climates. Of course this only shows outflux and not influx so no info about net population loss or gain.

Also, I should mention that a good reason that protests aren't a reason that people are leaving now is because most people in the cities where the protests are support them. People protesting for justice don't scare me compared to white supremacists who scare me a lot and are out to kill and cause havoc.

Of course bad management of the coronavirus in this country is getting people with money to leave denser cities for less dense parts of the country where they can roam without restriction and fear of catching a deadly virus and is a likely cause for a major uptick in homelessness.

+1
Level ∞
Sep 27, 2020
This quiz is about net population loss as explained in the caveats. But you are right that the numbers don't have anything to do with Covid or riots. I think the discussion was about the hypothetical numbers for next year which will probably be much larger.
+1
Level 32
Sep 27, 2020
That's right. And next year we'll be dealing with at least 400,000 less people that can be moving anywhere besides underground.
+1
Level ∞
Oct 3, 2020
About 3 million people die in the U.S. every year. This quiz is about internal migration.
+3
Level 65
Sep 27, 2020
All six of the states in which I have lived are on this list. I don't know whether I am driving people out, or people are following me.
+3
Level 62
Sep 28, 2020
Ya boi definitely leaving California after college. I got my eyes set on Nevada. California has some of the best natural beauty I have ever seen but every other aspect of living here is ludicrous.
+1
Level 49
Sep 29, 2020
I'm going to leave New Jersey after college. So boring!
+2
Level 49
Sep 29, 2020
And I got my eyes set on Maine or Colorado.
+1
Level 57
Nov 14, 2020
9/10 Democratic states.....