States With High State Taxes Are Vulnerable to Migration

Gallup: “Residents living in states with the highest aggregated state tax burden are the most likely to report they would like to leave their state if they had the opportunity.”

Percentage of Residents Who Would Like to Leave Their State, by State Tax Burden, 2015

“Nearly half (46%) of Connecticut and New Jersey residents say they would like to leave their state if they had the opportunity. At 13%, Montana has the smallest percentage of residents reporting they would like to leave the state.”

States Whose Residents Are Least Likely, and Most Likely, to Want to Leave, 2015

“States in the first, second and third quintiles have similar percentages of residents reporting they would like to leave their state; however, this percentage increases for residents living in states composing the fourth and fifth quintiles. These data suggest that even moderate reductions in the tax burden in these states could alleviate residents’ desire to leave the state.”

5 Comments

  1. There’s also a high cost of living and some very cold weather up there in the Northeast.

    1. New Hampshire and Maine have colder weather and show up on the ‘least likely’ list, so I don’t think the weather’s the deciding factor here. This survey does bring an important mantra to mind, though: Correlation Does Not Impute Causation. States with higher tax burdens also tend to have higher levels of social services and have Democratic governments; rather than measuring dissatisfaction with tax rates, this might be measuring partisan objection, where Republicans in a Democratic state might claim to be more interested in moving to someplace ideologically more friendly, while Democrats in a Republican state might be more interested in effecting change where they are.

  2. There’s also a high cost of living and some very cold weather up there in the Northeast.

  3. Both Minnesota and California appear to be outliers in relation to this poll, because they are in the highest quintile in terms of taxes but do not have high percentages of people who would like to leave. Perhaps that has something to do with the number of high-paying jobs available in those states.

  4. This is utter hogwash data. Correlation is NOT causation!

    I don’t dispute the tax rate quintiles given here or respondents answers. But what I DO dispute is the connection being made between a state’s aggregate tax rate and respondents’ answers. Because unless Gallup specifically asked if tax rates were part of a respondent’s dissatisfaction, the connection is completely ad hoc and therefore meaningless.

    For all we actually KNOW, Illinois residents could be dying to leave the state thanks to its long history of political corruption. Or New Jerseyites might want to flee their Republican governor, who has managed to tank their state credit ratings not once but 8 times in a row. These interpretations make just as much sense as Gallup’s claim that tax rates are the cause of resident dissatisfaction.

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