NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


July 26, 2004

Americans are taking advantage of their right to relocate when they don't like the policies and tax burdens of their city or state, says the Goldwater Institute.

U.S. Census data from 1995 to 2000 suggests that people exercise their options by moving to states with low tax burdens, favorable business climates and reasonable costs of living:

  • The 10 states with the lowest overall tax burdens saw a total net gain of more than 1,300,000 residents from across-state migration.
  • The nine states and the District of Columbia with the highest total tax burdens suffered a total net loss of more than 1,700,000 residents
  • .
  • The 10 states with the best business climate rankings gained over 1,100,000 new residents.
  • The 10 states with the worst business climates lost about 1,800,000 residents.

And while some cost of living factors are unavoidable due to geography (like food prices in Alaska), government policies like "slow growth" development initiatives and local sales taxes can drive up prices and drive residents to other towns and states, says Goldwater.

Source: Matthew Ladner, "The Tax Man and the Moving Van: Fiscal Policy and State Population Shifts," Policy Report No. 194, May 24, 2004, Goldwater Institute.


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