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Residents fleeing states like New Jersey, California over retirement, cost of living, and 'political reasons'


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Residents fled states like New Jersey, California, Michigan, Illinois and Massachusetts the most in 2023, according to multiple moving studies, due to high cost of living, employment, and for "political reasons." 

A study released by United Van Lines found the eight states that people moved out of the most in 2023 were New Jersey, Illinois, North Dakota, New York, Michigan, California, Massachusetts and Kansas. Similarly, U-Haul's 2023 movers study showed the states that experienced the largest "net loss" of one-way movers were California, Michigan, New Jersey, Illinois and Massachusetts. 

California topped U-Haul's list as the state with the largest net-loss of one-way movers, for the fourth year in a row. Similarly, New Jersey topped United Van Lines' list for the sixth year in a row. 

Area District Vice President at U-Haul Chad Farren said California movers were leaving the state due to high cost of living, job relocation, the hope for job growth and political reasons. 

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"The main reason we hear why people are leaving the state is just the cost of living being high, and it really continues to rise. Many people are selling their houses and what they believe is the top of the market, and they take that money and move to states where there is a little bit more affordable housing options," Farren said. 

Farren added that there were companies leaving California and employees were leaving with them. 

"The last reason is, of course, just political beliefs and some changes statewide or regionally where people are kind of migrating based on their beliefs," he said. 

Farren said areas in southern California did experience some growth and said they were mostly "commuter cities," with more affordable housing options. He said Victorville, Palmdale and Temecula, California experienced growth. 

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Eily Cummings, the senior vice president of communications at United Van Lines, told Fox News Digital that people were moving away from larger population centers toward smaller-scale cities. 

"People are moving away from larger population centers to more midsize cities, so cities like Charlotte, Knoxville, Louisville, those types of cities. Cities that still have culture, transportation systems, the arts, etc., an entertainment district, but don't have quite the hustle and bustle as your Los Angeles' do, or maybe your San Francisco or New York Cities," she said.

She added that United Van Lines saw a lot of migration from Northeast states to southern states.

"A lot of it is driven primarily still from retirement moves," she said. "So a lot of moves that we're seeing from New Jersey and New York specifically, and even Massachusetts, is movement down to the Carolinas and to Florida for retirement reasons."

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She added that retirement and cost of living often go hand-in-hand. 

Cummings said while the moves out of the northeast were motivated by retirement, moves out of California had to do with employment. 

"A lot of companies have moved out of California over the last few years and with that some of their employees went with them," she said. 

Cummings also said the study demonstrated more than ever that people were moving for other reasons besides their job. 

"People are moving to be closer to family, people are moving for lifestyle reasons, people are still moving for retirement. Baby boomers are still moving and Gen-Xers are starting even in that early retirement stage," she said. 

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Cummings said a lot of people moving from the northeast were choosing places like Florida, because it "doesn't have an income tax."

The study also found people were leaving major cities within the top-outbound states. Detroit, Michigan, Chicago, Illinois, New York City and Jersey City, and Riverside-San Bernardino, California, were the top outbound cities, according to the study. 

Texas and Florida topped U-Haul's list of states with the most one-way moves into the state. Texas has been at the top of their list for three years. 

However, according to United Van Lines, more people moved to Vermont in 2023 than any other state, and many people moving to the state a "lifestyle change" as the reason for their move. 

"For those seeking a sense of belonging and a break from the fast-paced urban lifestyle, Vermont offers the warmth of community connections and the unhurried pace of life," Real Estate expert Ashley Vincent told Fox News Digital. 

EJ Antoni, a research fellow and public finance economist at the Heritage Foundation, told Fox News Digital that New Jersey topped United Van Lines' list because of "high taxes."

"That shouldn’t be surprising because people are fairly sensitive to tax rates when it comes to determining where to live and work," Antoni said. "This is becoming increasingly true in an age when more people do not need to be present in a central workplace, like an office building, but can work remotely instead."

"The Garden State also has the worst business tax climate," he added.

Fox News' Michael Lee and Nikolas Lanum contributed to this report.

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