Americans all over are seeking a better way of life, and they are doing this by voting with their feet — along with their household belongings. While the reasons for residents leaving each State are different, there are several common themes, including high taxes, real estate prices, and the availability of decent employment.
Total Outbound moves: 40.5%
The Pacific Northwest is undoubtedly beautiful, and the laid-back lifestyle may be extremely appealing, but unfortunately, living there does not come cheap.
It's impossible to ignore the fact that the cost of living is about 20 percent above the U.S. average, which is challenging for those on a fixed income. The average salary for households of 65 and over is above $55K, so that is something to take into account.
Total Outbound moves: 47.2%
New Hampshire is quite tax-friendly, and if you have health issues, the Granite State was ranked fifth for senior health by the United Health Foundation. It is also a beautiful place, with scenic New England landscapes and colorful autumn leaves that can't be beaten.
But the beautiful scenery doesn't come cheap, however. New Hampshire has a relatively high cost of living compared to the national average, but you may be able to make it work if you take the tax breaks into account. Plus, let's not forget the freezing winters and humid summers.
Total Outbound moves: 34.3%
Oregon offers a multitude of outdoor activities to enjoy if you don't mind the rain. There sure is a lot of it during the eight-month-long rainy season.
Oregon is not a very tax-friendly state. Social Security is not taxed, and the State also has one of the highest state income taxes – 9.9 percent.
Total Outbound moves: 49.8%
With one of the lowest costs of living in the country, residents with savings can stretch their money much further in Oklahoma. There is also no tax on Social Security benefits, and it also has no estate tax, and property taxes are low.
The winters are mild, and there is sunshine during most days of the year. The low cost of living comes with low incomes. Senior health is ranked as the third-worst in the nation.
Total Outbound moves: 46.6%
The United Health Foundation ranked Colorado as fourth in health rankings in the nation. The State's residents also have low rates of obesity and physical inactivity compared to other places. Does that mean that people in Colorado will live longer and healthier lives?
Buying a house in Colorado is not easy; it can become downright competitive in desirable cities like Denver. The high altitude can also be an adjustment, but after you get used to it, you will probably enjoy the beautiful weather, until winter that is!
Total Outbound moves: 29%
According to Kiplinger, the Last Frontier is actually quite tax-friendly, but it seems like not many are taking advantage of this fact. Despite its natural beauty, there is just a small population living in Alaska.
The Costs of living are high – 32 percent above the U.S. average, according to Kiplinger. Health care in Alaska is also pricier than the national average, which is an important consideration. Most of the areas are rural, and it is not a state for big-city lovers.
Total Outbound moves: 25.7%
According to the rankings provided by the United Health Foundation, the Green Mountain State offers good healthcare. People who love nature will enjoy the natural beauty of this State, full of trees, water, wildlife, and fantastic scenery.
The home state of Ben & Jerry's ice cream is known as one of the "Least Tax-Friendly." That and the cost of living, which is somewhat higher than the national average, may make it hard for those on a budget to live well.
Total Outbound moves: 44.6%
Delaware was rated as tax-friendly by Kiplinger. The State does not tax Social Security benefits and also exempts some investment and pension income for people over 60.
The cost of living is still 11 percent above the national average. It may be hard for some residents to comfortably afford their essentials in Delaware.
Total Outbound moves: 42.6%
The State famous for Mount Rushmore was ranked as one of the most tax-friendly states by Kiplinger. South Dakota is not only affordable but incredibly scenic. With many trails and views of mountains and prairies to enjoy.
North Dakota is not ideal for those who don't like icy weather and blizzards. It is incredibly rural, with no big cities insight, and is one of the least populated states in the nation. City lovers should probably go elsewhere.
Total Outbound moves: 36.8%
Arizona is famous for its sunshine, striking desert landscape, and it's Grand Canyon national park. The weather makes it the perfect refuge for those who have faced too many freezing winters. It is a more affordable option than costly states like New York or California, with the cost of living just three percent above the national average.
The dry heat of Arizona is almost impossible to bear during the summer, with temperatures in some places reaching between 104 and 107 degrees Fahrenheit.
Total Outbound moves: 44.7%
The Equality State was rated fifth in fiscal health out of all fifty states by the Mercatus Center, which is pretty impressive. But Wyoming is not a good fit for city folk.
If you don't love nature, you won't find much to do there. It also has one of the smallest populations in America at 577,737, with no big cities to be located. It is impossible, however, to ignore the natural beauty of the State.
Total Outbound moves: 51.2%
Pittsburgh is the best city in America to settle down in, according to Forbes. You can get almost anywhere on foot or by bike, and there is a high number of doctors per capita. The State of Pennsylvania also has reasonably priced healthcare.
Pennsylvania's budget is not well balanced, which makes its future financial policies unclear. States that are economically unstable, may raise taxes, which could affect residents.
Total Outbound moves: 32.6%
Idaho's rugged landscape is breathtaking. Nature enthusiasts will be able to enjoy snow-capped mountains, canyons, and lakes. Its below-average cost of living will allow residents to make the most of their income and enjoy their lifestyles with less financial pressures.
Once again, Idaho is not for you if you are craving the excitement of a big city. There are no major metropolitan areas in the State. Taxwise, there are pros and cons. The state tax is six percent, and the state income tax is above seven percent, but Social Security is not taxed, and there are no inheritance or estate taxes.
Total Outbound moves: 43.9%
Don't believe everything you see on T.V.; New Mexico is nothing like Breaking Bad or Better Call Saul. It is a beautiful state with stunning views and a relatively peaceful way of life.
While the beautiful sunsets may fill your heart with joy, the tax situation will not. According to Kiplinger, New Mexico is the "Least Tax-Friendly" state because Social Security, income, and pensions are all taxable.
Total Outbound moves: 42.7%
With mild temperatures and mostly comfortable weather all year round, North Carolina could be a nice change for those who are sick of cold winters or hot summers. The cost of living is below average, and real estate is pretty affordable if you are not looking in the Kill Devil Hills area. Also, Social Security benefits are not taxed.
The cost of living may be low, but so are the incomes.
Total Outbound moves: 38.2%
South Carolina, not surprisingly, also has year-round mild weather, which makes it an appealing place. The Palmetto State is also quite affordable, with a cost of living that is seven percent below the U.S. average. It is also tax-friendly, leaving more money to spend on your quality of life.
Although the weather is usually mild, the summers in this southern State can get hot and humid. Plus, South Carolina is not the healthiest State around, with plenty of smokers, rising obesity levels and a low consumption level of fruits and vegetables.
Total Outbound moves: 48.8%
The Peach State is famous for its Southern hospitality, warm weather and low cost of living. It also offers relatively affordable healthcare, the sixth-lowest for couples in the U.S. There are also low state taxes, which could help residents live a decent lifestyle.
If you think Southern living could be for you, be sure to prepare for the hot summers. They are long and humid, and most people stay inside during the middle of the day to avoid getting too sweaty. And be sure to pack a lot of bug spray to keep the mosquitos in check!
Total Outbound moves: 44.4%
The cost of living is 10 percent below the U.S. average, and the average income for residents is reasonably decent. Texas also doesn't tax income heavily, leaving more dollars in your wallet. Austin and Dallas are great cities with plenty of things to do.
Texas is an excellent financial option, except for its healthcare. Unfortunately, the poverty rates in Texas are high.
Total Outbound moves: 43.9%
Tennessee is a tax-friendly state. There is no state income tax, which may mean a little more bang for your buck. Everyday living in metropolitan areas are quite affordable, including the price of healthcare.
The weather in summer can be intolerable, with July temperatures reaching 92 degrees Fahrenheit. If you throw in some humidity, the summer months may seem like they are never going to end.
Total Outbound moves: 41.9%
Florida is one of the most tax-friendly states in America. Maybe this, along with its sunny skies, is the reason the Sunshine State has the highest share of seniors in the United States. The state benefits are also very financially secure.
The weather in Florida is unpredictable. The heat and humidity can be unpleasant or even unsafe for retirees with health conditions. There is also the danger of hurricanes and powerful lightning storms. When there isn't a hurricane warning, the weather is pretty sweet.
Total Outbound moves: 44.5%
The Heart of Dixie is the place to be for an affordable lifestyle. The average spending of couples on healthcare is 4.4 less than in other states; income tax is from 2 to 5 percent, and Social Security benefits are not taxed.
According to Kiplinger, the state sales tax is quite high and even applies to food. The weather can be unpredictable in spring and the month of November, with plenty of rain and thunderstorms. Like other southern states, Alabama gets very hot in the summer months. Keep in mind that south Alabama is warmer than the north.
Total Outbound moves: 52.1%
The Hoosier State has one of the lowest costs of living, 15 percent lower than the U.S. average, which means residents can save a lot on essentials like food and housing. Compare that to California or Hawaii, and you'll see that your money can go a lot further there. There are a lively art scene and plenty of outdoor activities to do in spring and summer.
Despite the low cost of living, Indiana is better for residents who saved their pennies because the annual income is way below the national average (21.4 percent more economical).
Outbound moves: 49.2%
As America's smallest State is having difficulty keeping residents within its 1,200 square miles, we all may wonder why that is? Rhode Islanders say decent work can be hard to come by — and you can't stay here unless you can find one.
"I love Rhode Island, but it's pricey," says a Reddit user called mooscaretaker. "Taxes are too high, and so is the cost of living — make sure you have a job prior to moving."
Outbound moves: 49.4%
Mississippi offers not only a great music scene but also Gulf Coast beaches and delicious Southern comfort foods. But what the State doesn't have is a myriad of job options. Unemployment is rampant here is and ranks as the highest in the nation: 5.4% during 2019, when the national rate was just 3.5%.
Mississippians like to say, "See y'all later," in search of greener pastures. But that's not the only explanation for them to leave. "It gets very HOT in Mississippi," wrote Tom H. "There are tons of mosquitoes and biting flies too. Wonderful folks, but terrible conditions."
Outbound moves: 49.7%
Arkansas is renowned for its incredible parks and wildlife reserves, as well as its weather, being in the central Tornado Alley of the U.S. But regarding the job market, Arkansas doesn't give many people a good enough case to stay: Over 7% of those who pack their belongings into moving vans say they leave in search of work.
The Washington Post reported last year that the State became the first to require Medicaid recipients to hold jobs, which meant that thousands lost their health insurance in the months that followed. Clearly, Arkansas doesn't have enough work to go around.
Maine is a pleasant enough State, but we wouldn't necessarily want to retire here, or at least that's what the people said who are moving away. Nearly half of all Mainers who pick up and leave are headed for a better place — presumably a warmer environment. "It gets pretty cold during the wintertime. With a lot of wind and snow," writes Elsa K., on Quora. "I'm originally from Iceland, and the wintertime in Maine isn't as long or dark as in Iceland, but they feel colder and snowier."
Elsa added that the warmer weather in the summer months isn't much better: "There are so many insects, especially if you get away from the coast. Ticks, mosquitoes, and flies."
Outbound moves: 51%
St. Louis is the city known as the "Gateway to the West" — but Missourians tend to head right on through to another state. And there's no amount of St. Louis' amazing food is enough to convince them to stay. Jobs are the reason behind a majority of the moves out of the State.
Factories are closing around Kansas City, causing the entire metro area to lose 1.9% of its manufacturing jobs just over the last year. Missourians have commented on Reddit saying the State has other faults, including the weather. "Humid Southern summers and northern-like winters mean swiftly jumping from one extreme to the other, writes Meimnot555.
Outbound moves: 51.3%
One of America's most scarcely populated states made this list because residents often find it too dull. The main reason to leave North Dakota — cited by more than half of those who leave — is the quality of lives, United Van Lines says. "Every state has something interesting to offer," writes one critic, on Quora. "What's interesting about North Dakota?"
Though some residents argue that North Dakota doesn't have enough to do, but if you live here, you will find a job. The unemployment rate was a meager 2.5% during September 2019.
Outbound moves: 51.6%
More people seem to be moving out than moving in, even though the State's suburbs are booming. Still, the rural parts in southern Virginia are quickly losing residents, researchers at the University of Virginia recently reported.
About half of those who leave the birthplace of their nation do so to look for better employment opportunities elsewhere, a little over a fourth of those who hit the road, did so to move closer to family, and approximately a quarter leave because they're thinking about retiring somewhere else.
Outbound moves: 51.7%
It seems that the State's breathtakingly beautiful features — including its snowcapped mountains and national parks filled with fantastic rock formations — still aren't enough to persuade many residents to stay.
The hunt for a new job is the main driving force behind 65% of people deciding to move, but rising prices of housing in Utah may also be part of the equation. The median cost for an existing single-family home in Salt Lake City has increased 8% over the last year to $358,000, the National Association of Realtors said in a recent report.
Outbound moves: 51.8%
Mountains and rivers draw visitors to the "wild and wonderful" West Virginia, but the economy isn't doing so well, which is why the younger generation is leaving. Unemployment is higher compared to most other states, and job growth has been slow.
More than half the people leaving the State are between the ages of 18 and 44, and over 70% of those who leave are searching for jobs elsewhere. Many local businesses are struggling to grow within the job market.
Outbound moves: 52.6%
The famous investor Warren Buffett also lives in Nebraska, but many others have concluded that the Cornhusker State just isn't the right fit. A hefty 70% of those who move away are leaving in search of work, United Van Lines found.
A 2018 report bemoaned that the lack of high-paying jobs is the leading cause of their "brain-drain." Hank Robinson, a researcher at the University of Nebraska, said in an interview for the Omaha World-Herald, "We don't need more minimum wage, jobs that require no-experience."
Outbound moves: 53.1%
Maryland is filled with history and outdoor adventures — but people don't necessarily want to stay. The high cost of living, above-average medical costs, unreasonable taxes, and expensive property prices are all forcing Marylanders to look elsewhere for jobs and affordable retirement.
Half of the people who left were 55 and older — which isn't as shocking when we consider that we found it's one of the very worst States for older residents. The governor of Maryland has proposed cutting taxes in the State by $500 million within the next five years.
Outbound moves: 53.5%
This State is famous for its beautiful bluegrass landscapes, but the lack of good jobs is driving Kentuckians to flee. Kentucky holds one of the nation's highest rates of unemployment. While the state's neighbors — like Missouri, West Virginia, Ohio, and Illinois— have been raising the minimum wage, but Kentucky has been stuck at $7.25 an hour for the last decade.
More than 50% of the people who move out of Kentucky are leaving to take a better job someplace else. State officials have said the next few years should bring more opportunities in engineering and manufacturing.
Outbound moves: 54%
Despite Wisconsin's many charms, many of its residents are on their way up and out. The State's low cost of living and stable employment growth remains attractive, but housing prices have been rising rapidly.
Another negative is Wisconsin's long, harsh winters. In the State's entire recorded weather history, almost every year hit temperatures of at least 30 below zero in the winter, according to data from the National Weather Service. So maybe it's not unusual that more than half the people who moved away are scrambling for a warmer retirement destination.
Outbound moves: 54.3%
With its unique cuisine and music culture, friendly folks, and nearly endless outdoor activities, Louisiana is a very popular place for visitors. But many people are concluding that they wouldn't want to live here.
Job growth is dismal in Louisiana, and the taxes can be high: The average combined tax is second highest in the country at 9.46%, but employment increased by just 0.1% from 2018 to 2019. United Van Lines finds a staggering 70.8% of people who move out are heading to new jobs elsewhere.
Outbound moves: 54.4%
California's beachy, urban, outdoorsy lifestyles attract many professionals who are ready to work hard. But the State's exorbitant housing prices and high living costs often mean they leave to settle somewhere else. The main reasons people move away include jobs, followed by retirement.
"Unlike a few decades ago, residents are leaving California instead of choosing to stay until things get better," Michael Stoll, public policy economist at the University of California, told United Van Lines.
Outbound moves: 55%
Despite this State's glorious parks and miles of coastline to explore, even nature lovers are choosing to settle somewhere other than Michigan. While the State does offer employment in computers, there are even more lower-paying jobs— such as in food preparation, paying much less, reports Michigan-based Bridge Magazine.
Michigan ranks as the 7th State for "brain drain," meaning that the younger generation who may be more educated are fleeing for better opportunities elsewhere. About half the people who moved out last year said that the primary reason was work.
Outbound moves: 55%
Montana's friendly people and impressive landscapes are attracting A-listers and wealthy out-of-staters to shack up close to the mountains — but only for a holiday. The State's once low cost of living has steadily gone up. With housing difficult to find, there are few work options outside of low-paying seasonal jobs in tourism and the oil industry.
Montana also is far from America's major cities and populations. The primary reason people moved away was to be closer to family. An additional problem Montana has is its shortage of good health care, with just 2.3 doctors per 1,000 residents.
Outbound moves: 55.5%
Iowa sunsets over the golden cornfields are the essence of poetry, even with its cities and job market growing — nearly 75% of those moving away are looking for better job prospects. Even in Iowa, the in-demand tech jobs pay less than in neighboring states, and the cost of living in Iowa's largest cities has become too expensive.
Aside from the pay, the younger residents dislike the weather extremes, poorly funded public schools, crumbling infrastructure — and they say that "Iowa can be boring." The largest group by far that chooses to leave the Hawkeye State are young people ages 18 to 34.
Outbound moves: 55.7%
The historic and beautiful Massachusetts is a great place to get an education, see a doctor, and enjoy a wicked cup of coffee. (Make that Chafee.) Sadly, the rising cost of living makes it difficult for residents here to pay back their student loans and live a good life. People of all ages are moving out, with the 55-and-over crowd leading the pack.
More than 50% of those who head for the highway say that jobs are their No. 1 reason for leaving. Massachusetts' brutal wintertimes, eye-popping housing costs, and terrible traffic congestion — Boston's is the worst, according to one study — all make good reasoning, not to settle in Massachusetts.
Outbound moves: 56.5%
Ohio's polite Midwestern manner is as inviting as its amusement parks, Lake Erie islands, and simple yet unique cuisine. While plenty of people are brought here from other states by the promise of a low cost of living and welcoming communities, more of its own people are heading out.
This Rust Belt state has been haunted by relatively high unemployment and slow job growth. And residents complain about the sad, harsh winters and the inequality when it comes to good health care. More than 60% of Ohioans who move away from State that they leave for jobs elsewhere, the rest hit the road for better retirement destinations.
Outbound moves: 58.7%
Kansas may be known as the windy city, as its smack in the middle of Tornado Alley. But does that mean the residents are also making a speedy exit? Despite the Sunflower State's affordability, a cozy lifestyle, and low-level of unemployment over 64% of people who move out are leaving for better job opportunities elsewhere.
The lack of earnings makes for a good enough reason for experienced, educated workers to leave, and the State's windy weather with-a-chance-of-tornadoes forecast doesn't help either.
Outbound moves: 61.5%
New York may be known as the economic capital of the world, but living there is much harder than it seems, and it seems difficult! Considering the sky-high living costs in the Big Apple, taxes are among the highest in the country. New York state may offer a mix of big-city living, small-town culture, sports, arts, and rural wildlife, but is it enough?
New Yorkers that start over in other states are looking for better jobs, a cushy retirement, and a more suitable place to raise a family — with other relatives close by. Here's a startling stat: Close to 300 people move out of New York City every single day, Bloomberg found.
Outbound moves: 62%
Connecticut has a real charm and beauty to it, as well as a high standard of living, but residents seem to be leaving faster than we'd expect. Nutmeggers are packing up and saying farewell to the rising taxes and crumbling bridges.
Most people who move out are pensioners, as they want to retire in a more affordable setting, closer to their family.
Outbound moves: 65.9%
With a host of greats within the Prairie State boundaries, from their farm produce, colleges, and sports, pizza is perhaps the greatest of all. Unfortunately, the economy is not doing so great. Unemployment is growing and taxes are among the highest.
With the nation's second-highest property taxes, Governor J.B. Pritzker has promised to implement a progressive tax only on the wealthiest people. Most of those who are leaving are job seekers and adults over 55.
Outbound moves: 66.8%
Also known as the Garden State, New Jersey has family-friendly suburbs and beautiful beaches but despite that, residents are moving out faster than any other state. According to United Van Lines' annual study, New Jersey has been one of the top move-out states.
Almost half of those who flee the State do so for better job opportunities elsewhere, and the rest look for better retirement options.
Who knew these were the States Americans Are Leaving the Fastest?
The combination of job opportunities, expensive lifestyles, and high taxes is what makes residents want to leave. Although some states are known for their good weather or offer many activities, that does not necessarily mean they are the right place to live in.
If you plan on staying in or moving to these states, make sure you are making an informed choice!