Taxpayers Fleeing Blue States Take $26.8 Billion in Gross Income to Red States

IRS data tracking state-to-state migration shows that blue states saw a net outflow of hundreds of thousands of taxpayers who took nearly $27 billion in taxable gross income with them to red states.

The most recent IRS migration data shows that in the years 2017-2018, a net 399,892 taxpayers and their dependents left blue states—in this case defined as those in which both the state House and Senate are Democrat-controlled.

The figures are based on 2018-2019 tax returns and exemptions, reflecting 2017-2018 state-to-state flows of people. The IRS considers tax returns a proxy for households, while exemptions are a good approximation for the number of individual taxpayers and their dependents.

The nearly 400,000 taxpayers and dependents a little over .1 percent of the U. S. population—who left blue states took with them a net $26.8 billion in taxable adjusted gross income to red states.

Democrat-controlled California (167,563), New York (153,970), and Illinois (82,107) accounted for the bulk of the exodus, followed by New Jersey (26,853), Massachusetts (26,086), and Maryland (15,916).

The top beneficiary of the blue state outflow was GOP-controlled Texas, which saw a net inflow of 114,818 taxpayers and their dependents, along with a gross income boost of nearly $4 billion.

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Interstate migration flows are influenced by a number of factors, including crime rates, job opportunities, and housing costs. A routine Census Bureau survey asks people who move any distance the main reason for their decision to relocate, including employment, housing, going away for college, crime, or to join a significant other.

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