A national study on migration reveals one of Indiana’s neighbors ranks number one for the most people moving out rather than into the state.
United Van Lines annual national movers study examines the data from about a 110,000 families in 2017. The study classifies states as inbound, outbound or balanced. High outbound means that more than 55 percent of the states’ total migration is moving out of the state.
Illinois has 63 percent of its total migration moving out of the state. This continues their nine-year trend of ranking in the top five.
In 2013, Indiana paid for billboards in Illinois that read “Illinoyed by higher taxes?” with a link to the state’s website.
Michael Stoll, a professor of public policy at UCLA, says it’s hard to say if those billboards had any impact.
“I mean at the margins maybe it could make a difference,” Stoll says. “On whether it’s a significant impact I can’t say because the reasons why people are leaving Illinois would be some of the same reasons why they would leave Indiana.”
Stoll says many are leaving Illinois for states with cheaper housing costs, larger retirement communities and mild climates.
But Illinois isn’t the only state who saw a high outbound of residents. Indiana is close to tipping the scales on how many people are moving out of the state.
Melissa Sullivan is a spokesperson for the moving company. She says Indiana is currently a balanced state, but one more percentage point would push it into a high outbound state.
“What we find is a lot of Indiana’s neighbors are experiencing high outbound migration – Ohio, Kentucky and then Illinois was the number one outbound state for 2017,” Sullivan says.
She says most families are migrating towards the Pacific Northwest and Mountain West.
But Stoll says this percentage point can be worrisome. He says that once a state becomes high outbound, it’s hard to reverse.
“They’ll have to increasingly rethink their economic base,” Stoll says. “Indiana is a more diversified economy now but specialization might be something that Indiana will have to think about.”
Stoll says many reasons Hoosiers are leaving the state are different from the national average. He says only 12 percent of Indiana’s outbound migration is for retirement while 71 percent is because of new jobs.