The Other Blue State

Everyone knows that people are abandoning blue states like California and New York and moving to red states like Florida and Texas. The same phenomenon is at work in smaller states–on a reduced scale, but the pattern is consistent.

Take my home state, Minnesota. For the last seven years, my organization has been documenting the net outflow of residents, and especially taxpayers, from the state. This year, that net outmigration has reached a new high (or low). John Phelan reports:

New Census Bureau data show that our state smashed [2021’s] record in 2022. From mid-2021 to mid-2022, 19,400 Minnesota residents left for other states, by far the highest number in at least three decades.

As Figure 1 shows, until 2001 Minnesota received more residents from other states each year than it lost to them. Since then, in all except two years, 2017 and 2018, our state has seen more residents leave than have chosen to come here from elsewhere in the United States. The loss of residents seen in 2021 and 2022 is not a new phenomenon, but the pace of exit is quickening: Minnesotans are fleeing the state in larger numbers.

This chart tells the story:

This chart shows the numbers for all 50 states. The pattern is blindingly obvious:

Of course, high taxes largely explain the blue state exodus, as Phelan has documented many times. But they aren’t the whole story. Blue states are also beset with crime and homelessness, and they tend to have more oppressive, authoritarian governments, a fact that became evident during covid. Minnesota joins larger blue states like California and New York in having high taxes, high crime, visible homelessness–but only during the warmer months!–and oppressive government. The results are not hard to predict.

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