By Emma Moore
on June 20, 2024
Read in 1 min

Each year, millions of Americans across the country pickup and move to different states. Some do it to escape bad weather, others to make new friends and see a new scene. Whatever the reason, the resulting population shifts remake cities and regions. 

The IRS tracks individuals based on their tax filings

To better understand why and where people move, the IRS tracks individuals based on their tax filings. When looking at this data from the early 1990’s to today, some interesting patterns emerge.

Popular places people choose to live

An obvious takeaway is people tend to move to neighboring states, especially when that neighboring state is large with multiple metropolitan areas. It is much easier to pack up and move a household simply across a border, rather than across the country.

Not surprisingly, people tend to move to neighboring states within their region. For instance, Southerners typically stay in the south, hopping across borders to other Southern states. Texas is particularly popular to move to for individuals from the smaller states surrounding it, most likely because it has several major cities (Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, and Houston). All of these cities may offer more diverse job opportunities and cultural experiences. Another big draw for moving to Texas: no income tax. 

Top destinations

Along with Texas, other large states tend to attract more and more movers. Florida, with its tropical climate and diverse wildlife, attracts adventure seekers and retirees alike. With natural amenities like that, it’s easy to see why Florida is a top destination. Likewise, California, the largest and most populous state in the country, also attracts a wide range of individuals, mostly because California’s cities are some of the most developed in the world, offering job opportunities for those who can handle the high cost of living. For those wanting to escape the high price of California life, there’s always Texas.

Besides people moving within their region, states with massive cultural centers like New York, Massachusetts, Illinois, and Georgia have people from across the country moving to them. Cities like Chicago, Atlanta, and Boston are some of the most well-known in the nation with unique offerings for any sort of person. These cities have huge populations of different groups of people, making them a more attractive place for people moving outside their region.

Making the decision to cross state lines is quite common in the United States. When looking at the patterns of movers, you’ll see that in nearly every region, people are moving to neighboring states and cultural hubs, seeking different job and educational opportunities. 

IRS. (2019). SOI Tax Stats – Migration Data.

This is not for legal or financial advice. Please consult a legal or financial advisor for your specific situation.