Why Do People Move out of Wisconsin?
People are moving out of Wisconsin faster than they are moving in, according to a recent report from the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance. In 2010, about 9,700 more residents moved out of the state than moved in. That represents $433 million in income that left Wisconsin in 2010. You can read the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article for a summary of the report.
Many of the people who moved in or out of Wisconsin didn’t move very far. More than a third of the people who left Wisconsin over the period 2006-2010 moved to a neighboring state, primarily Illinois and Minnesota. Likewise, more than four in ten people of the people who moved into the state during this period moved from a state neighboring Wisconsin.
People who moved to Arizona and especially Florida had higher incomes than people who moved to other states from Wisconsin. This group likely includes a number of well-off seniors who could afford to retire in warmer climates. For the period 2006-10, nearly 14,000 more people moved from Wisconsin to Arizona or Florida than moved in from those two states, according to the report.
This outward migration is a relatively recent development. For the decade between 1994 and 2004, more people moved into Wisconsin than left. What’s behind this change in migration? A number of factors are likely involved, including the loss of in-state manufacturing jobs and faster-growing economies in the southern and western states. But the shift in Wisconsin migration is unlikely to be related to taxes. In 1995, when nearly 10,000 more people moved into Wisconsin than left, Wisconsin ranked 9th among the states in state and local taxes per capita. By 2009 – when more than 5,000 more people left Wisconsin than moved in – Wisconsin’s tax ranking had fallen to 16th among the states.