The United States is ever-evolving. Jobs are being moved around, costs of living fluctuating, and climates changing, resulting in mass exoduses from certain states. Here are the twenty-three that people are fleeing the most quickly.
The birthplace of Walmart and Bill Clinton, Arkansas's outbound moves are at a whopping 49.7%. Despite giving the nation one of its largest retailers, the southern state's job market is notably bleak. After requiring Medicaid recipients to hold down a job in order to receive benefits, Arkansas faced criticism, as many noted that the job prospects were too bleak in order to find work. Indeed, 71% of people moving out of the state cited a lack of work as their reason for leaving.
Horror novelist Stephen King's home state has a 50.6% outbound move rate, but not because of jobs. Rather, its Maine's cold climate that's pushing people away, particularly the elderly. 59% of those leaving the Pine Tree State are sixty-five or older, and they typically cite Maine's icy, blustering winters as a reason for seeking a different home for their retirement years. And Maine's summer months aren't much better—they tend to be overrun with ticks, mosquitoes, flies, and other pests.
The Show-Me State has a whopping 51% outbound moves percentage, reflecting the loss of jobs in St. Louis's home. 63% of movers say they were motivated to leave Missouri by job prospects, and in Kansas City alone, 1.9% of manufacturing jobs have been lost. This is due to a mass closing of factories in the area, including a Harley Davidson factory that shut down this past May and put 800 people out of work. Missouri's climate doesn't help—the weather swings between arid, blistering summers and bone chilling, icy winters.
20. North Dakota
North Dakota already has the distinction of being one of the most sparsely populated states in the union. Its outbound moves percentage of 51.3% is unlikely to help this distinction. While most states push their residents out due to a lack of jobs, North Dakota's unemployment rate is only at a 2.5%. So why leave? Simple: it's boring. The wide, empty fields offer little to do, resulting in 61% of those leaving the state citing lifestyle as their reason for moving.
Virginia's D.C suburbs may be booming, but the rest of the state…isn't. The eldest of the thirteen colonies boasts a 51.6% outbound moves rate. Rural areas bear the brunt of population loss, over half of which is to find better jobs. Another quarter move to be closer to relatives, and yet another because they'd prefer to retire elsewhere. This is of particular interest, because Virginia is actually a fairly good state for retirees—it boasts low taxes and a fairly mild climate, with an appealing mix of mountains and beaches. Despite this, 26% of those leaving are over sixty five.
Most famous for its plethora of Mormons, Utah's 51.7% outbound moves rate is actually an improvement—it used to rank number nine on lists of states citizens were eager to get away from. Despite making mild improvements, the Beehive State has a ways to go. A combination of poor job prospects and rising housing costs is pushing many away. 65% of movers cite economic reasons for leaving the state, and a single family home in Salt Lake City costs $358,000, making families wary to settle there.
17. West Virginia
West Virginia has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. 56% of the state's outbound movers are forty-four and under, and 73% of them cite outside job prospects as their reason for leaving. Sadly, West Virginia is also one of the states that has been most strongly hit by the opioid crisis, taking a toll on employers and employees alike and contributing to the 51.8% outbound movement rate.
Warren Buffet may call the Cornhusker State home, but many more have jumped ship. 52.6% are moving out of the state, and 70% of those people leave in search of work. There's good reason for them to leave: Nebraska's job growth rate is a measly .8% percent, and those jobs don't usually pay particularly well. This has resulted in a “brain drain”—Nebraskans with higher education are frustrated by the lack of jobs and leave for other states.
Maryland's 53.1% outbound move rate is largely due to its unsuitability for the elderly. Indeed, it has the dubious distinction of being the worst state for retirees, resulting in 50% of the movers in 2018 being aged fifty-five or older. Maryland has soaring home costs, some of the most costly health insurance premiums in the country, and extremely high taxes, pushing many Marylanders out. State governor Larry Hogan has come up with a proposal that may get people to stay. He wants to cut taxes by $500 million in the next five years.
Kentucky, like its neighbor West Virginia, is one of the poorest states in the nation. The high unemployment rate, combined with the stagnant minimum wage (a measly $7.25 an hour), has led to a mass exodus from the Bluegrass State. The vast majority of movers leave to find a better job. Despite the bleakness of the state's 53.5% outbound moves rate, Kentucky officials are cautiously optimistic: jobs have begun to open up in secondary education, healthcare, and the bourbon industry.