It won’t surprise many people at all, but three of the most Democratic states in the country are losing residents at an alarming rate – to the tune of hundreds of thousands of people.
As crime and taxes skyrocket in predominately “blue” states, many are fleeing to the greener pastures of “red” states, where more individual freedom and opportunity await.
The states, New York California, and Illinois, have long been bastions of Democratic rule, and each has suffered from Democratic economic and social policies.
The exodus is so extreme that other states are actively working to attract the “American refugees.” When he was Texas governor, Rick Perry would take several trips to California to woo big business away. It worked – a number of companies relocated, and Texas is now one of the nation’s leaders in business growth.
The exodus could also change the political landscape. A major shift in population could change where the seats in the House of Representatives come from. “Blue” states in the northeast could see some of their seats (which are assigned according to the latest census figures) go to the south and to middle America in years to come.
Three Democratic-leaning states hemorrhaged hundreds of thousands of people in 2016 and 2017 as crime, high taxes and, in some cases, crummy weather had residents seeking greener pastures elsewhere.
The exodus of residents was most pronounced in New York, which saw about 190,000 people leave the state between July 1, 2016 and July 1, 2017, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released last week.
New York’s domestic out-migration during that time period was about the same as it was in the same time 2015 and 2016. Since 2010, the state’s outflow of just over 1 million residents has exceeded that of every other state, both in absolute terms and as a share of population, according to the free-market think tank Empire Center.
Long-beset by twin budget and pension crises and the erosion of its tax base, Illinois lost so many residents that it dropped from the fifth to the sixth-most populous state in 2017, losing its previous spot to Pennsylvania.
Just under 115,000 Illinois residents decamped for other states between July 2016 and July 2017. Since 2010, the Land of Lincoln has lost about 650,000 residents to other states on net, equal to the combined population of the state’s four largest cities other than Chicago, according to the Illinois Policy Institute.
Illinois’ domestic out-migration problem has become a nightmare for lawmakers, who must find a way to solve the worst pension crisis in the nation as the state’s tax base shrinks year after year. Illinois’ Democratic-dominated legislature has tried to ameliorate the situation with tax hikes, causing even more people to leave and throwing the state into a demographic spiral. Illinois experiences a net loss of about 33,000 residents in 2016, the fourth consecutive year of population decline.
California was the third deep blue state to experience significant domestic out-migration between July 2016 and July 2017, and it couldn’t blame the outflow on retirees searching for a more agreeable climate. About 138,000 residents left the state during that time period, second only to New York.
Going forward, one factor that could worsen domestic out-migration from New York, California and Illinois is the newly-enacted tax reform bill, which caps state and local tax (SALT) deductions at $10,000. The limit on SALT deduction is poised to hit taxpayers harder in those states than it will in just about any other.
According to the Tax Foundation, New York, Illinois and California had three of the five highest tax rates expressed as a percentage of per capita income, with residents paying 12.7 percent, 11 percent and 11 percent, respectively.