Who lives in Connecticut, but leaves the state for work?

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If you live on the state border, there’s a pretty decent chance you don’t work in Connecticut.

On the northern border, below Massachusetts, far fewer people work out of state. There is a slight bump in Suffield, Enfield and Somers — probably because Springfield is on the other side of the border. Otherwise, it borders mostly rural towns in Massachusetts.

On the eastern border next to Rhode Island, about 20 percent of residents work out-of-state, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2013 American Community Survey. Thompson — a manufacturing town bordering both Rhode Island and Massachusetts — is an outlier, with about half the residents leaving Connecticut for work.

“Because we are in such close proximity to cities — not too far from Worcester and about 34 miles from Providence — it’s not a hefty commute for workers,” said Mary Ann Chinatti, the city’s director of planning and development. “And unfortunately, we don’t have the jobs here in town to keep people in town. … We’re working to change that.”

But the southwest corner of the state is where it gets interesting. About a third of residents in Greenwich, New Canaan, Darien and Sherman work out of state, probably in New York. The next grouping of towns — Ridgefield, Wilton, Weston, Westport and New Fairfield — sends about 25 percent of its residents out of state for work. Even in Stamford and Norwalk, two of the state’s largest cities, about one in seven residents leaves the state for work.

Men leave the state more often

In almost every Connecticut town, men are more likely to leave the state for work.

This is especially true in Fairfield County, where men who leave the state greatly outnumber women. We can also see this trend on the state’s eastern border.

The two outliers are Somers and North Stonington, where women are more likely than men to work out of state.

Flooding into Hartford County

We also looked at who leaves their county for work.

Virtually every town near, but not in, Hartford County has high rates of residents who leave their county during work hours, probably coming into the Hartford region for work. This can also be seen around New Haven County, but not as starkly as we see it around Hartford.

(Note: This dataset doesn’t look at people who don’t work in the state.)

Men leave their county more often

In most Connecticut towns, men are more likely to leave their county for work than women. (We’re discounting people who work out-of-state here, as well.) A moderately greater percentage of men in New Haven County leave their county for work than women.

But in Fairfield County, once we discount people who work out-of-state, a fairly even percentage of men and women leave the county for work. Same goes for Hartford County.

So what’s the bottom line?

The two biggest magnets for people who leave their home for professional reasons appear to be the Hartford region — and New York City.

What do you think?

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  • Joseph Brzezinski

    A companion study of residents of other states (MA, NY, and RI) working in CT would be an interesting contrast.
    The county magnet effects might be more interesting if it were possible to do the analysis by town. Hartford may be less of a magnet for work with root causes being that residents of Hartford and nearby towns, move to towns with lower tax rates and higher valued homes for the same or lower out of pocket taxation.

    • alvinschang

      I like the way you’re thinking. I’ll have to dig into the Census data to see if they asked the proper questions to get at that. But, worse case, a rough estimate seems possible.

  • George R

    One of the interesting things about this is that NY and CT don’t reciprocate taxes. I work in NY (and barely, only about 50 feet from the CT border). I pay my state income tax to Albany, and CT never sees any of it. This is why you often hear that CT is so reliant on the property tax: many of the highest earners from towns like Greenwich, Westport, New Canaan, Darien, Wilton and Ridgefield don’t pay their state income taxes to Hartford.

    In most other places, states reciprocate taxes. If you live in VA and work in DC, your income tax is paid to VA not DC. But not with NY. Another state reliant on property taxes to a big extent in NJ, because they also have commuters to NY (and NH of course relies on property tax since they have no income or sales tax).