Biggest Losers: Where Americans Aren't Moving
Through most of the decade Florida was one of the fastest growing states. But the sunny clime — and 6 others — lost more residents than they gained in the year ended July 1.
Net loss: 98,798 residents
For years more people have fled the Golden State than have arrived. In the year ended July 1, California was the country’s biggest loser, with nearly 100,000 more residents leaving than moving in.
Still, that was an improvement over earlier losses: In 2006 the net decline was 313,081.
Much of that improvement came from the housing bubble bursting. Homes became harder to sell as thousands of foreclosures sat on the market. As a result, many Californians stayed on rather than sell their homes at a loss.
Mobility in the weak economy has declined in general, according to demographer Greg Harper of the Census Bureau. There’s no point in moving to find work if few jobs are available in most parts of the country.
2. New York
|Long Island, NY|
Net loss: 98,178 residents
Like California, New York is, historically, a major exporter of it citizens. The state depends upon foreign migration for its population growth. But also like California, New York’s out-migration eased in the year ended July 1.
In 2006, nearly a quarter million more people left the state than moved in, two and a half times the 2009 total.
The state has not gone through the same housing crisis that engulfed bubble states. The unemployment rate is lower than the nation as a whole and foreclosure problems have been relatively minor.
Still, New York is the decade’s biggest loser: The state a total of 1,686,583 residents, more than anywhere else.
Net loss: 87,339 residents
Not only is Michigan third highest in the nation for net migration losses, it also has this dubious distinction: 0.88% of the Great Lakes State’s nearly 10 million residents left last year, the highest ratio in the nation.
The big problem, of course, is the ailing auto industry. Michigan’s unemployment rate was the highest in the county in November, at 14.7%.
Net loss: 48,249 residents
Illinois has a more diversified economy than Michigan, but it still is a major industrial producer and many of its factories, especially those serving the auto industry, have gone idle recently.
Residents leaving to seek work elsewhere and other migrants out-totaled those who moved in by nearly 50,000. That represents a steady, continuing pattern for Illinois: Net losses have prevailed throughout the decade. The difference between in-migrants and out peaked in 2006 at near 85,000.
Net loss: 36,278 residents
Ohio is another Rust Belt state going through economic turmoil, much of it tied to the auto industry. More than 368,000 have left the state than moved in during the last decade.
The Buckeye State’s worst year was also 2006, when 45,000 more people left than arrived. Since that year unemployment has worsened — it stood at about 10.6% in November, just over the national average — but residents were forced to stay put. With unemployment up all over the country, out-of-work Ohioans have had to hunker down and wait for a rebound.