Connecticut folks moving south and west, out more than in from U.S.

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Connecticut welcomed 77,000 new residents between 2015 and 2016, but said goodbye to about 103,000, according to new domestic migration figures released by the U.S. Census.

The map above indicates which states gained or lost residents to Connecticut, which shows that more are moving to the South and West. This does not take into account other sources of population growth such as births and immigration from outside the U.S.

Florida, North Carolina and Pennsylvania gained the most Connecticut residents— 15,000, 5,000, and 3,600 respectively.

On the other hand, Connecticut gained more residents than it lost from states such as Washington, New Jersey, Massachusetts and New York.

New York, in particular, sent 24,000 residents to Connecticut.

The map above also doesn’t include Washington, D.C. There are about 380 new residents of Connecticut from there, but it gained 1,300 back.

Overall, though, people are moving less across the country, according to the U.S. Census. The percent moving within the year fell to an all-time low of 11.2 percent in 2016.

According to the survey, 42 percent of movers said they did so for housing-related reasons, such as wanting a new home or apartment. About 27 percent said they moved for family reasons, and 20 percent said they moved for jobs.

Moving in America[Source: U.S. Census Bureau]

The Southern region saw the greatest number of people moving out (900,000), but also saw the largest inflow (940,000)

Also notable was that about 70,000 New York residents moved to Florida and 65,000 residents moved from California to Texas.

Washington, D.C., had the highest percentage of new residents between 2015 and 2016 at about 9 percent.

New York ranked last among states in percentage of new residents at about 1.32 percent.

Looking at the percentage of those residents in 2015 and 2016 who were still living in the same homes as a year prior, Connecticut ranked sixth, with 87.5 percent.

What do you think?

  • Thomas Cooke

    This headline and data, like so many others in the Mirror and the Courant the past few years, is misleading because it does not report the data accurately. This article correctly reports that 103,343 people moved from CT to other states last year while CT gained 76,997 from other states. This would appear to indicate a net loss of population of 26,346 people due to migration. However, this article fails to report that the state also gained another 24,462 people due to migration from other countries. Hence, while 103,343 people did leave the state, the actual number of people entering the state was 101,599. Note that the resulting estimate of a net loss of 1,784 people due to migration is also likely to be not significantly different from zero. [Also note that since the Census cannot track people who left the country that the net loss is actually probably slightly larger. However, results of other studies suggest that this number would be extremely small and really have only a negligible effect on net migration estimates]. So, the headline really ought to be something to the effect that despite the state’s considerable economic issues that people continue to move in at about the same rate that they move out.

    Thomas Cooke
    Professor, Department of Geography
    University of Connecticut

    • David Roth

      If you look at the map, you can easily see the scope of this data is about “interstate” population activity. We already are well aware that all states have people moving in from other countries. I see this as more useful to gain a perspective of interstate population activity. Why don’t you submit your own article & data instead of simply being critical of good work done by others? Political agenda or nitpicking & adding scope. You can do that all in your own article. I’m leaving CT soon as I envision CT becoming a declining welfare state run by liberal Democrats. Maybe you can include age demographics & unemployment rates to help people gain some perspective what services/costs will be needed in each state. Let us know when you submit your own article!

      • James in Mfg Acc’t

        David Roth,
        Per Wallet Hub, Connecticut is a “Donor” (giver) state and many red states are “Welfare” (taker) states in terms of Federal Dollars in and out. However, I presume that by “welfare” you are pointing out that CT pays out welfare benefits and we are ranked about 4 highest in total benefit payments per recipient.

        • 4H

          Connecticut is the 4th lowest, in receiving federal aid, as a portion of the state budget. If we could get the same percentage of aid, as all our surrounding neighbors do, it would mean over a billion extra a year to Connecticut, with the additional economic activity that extra money would cause. The red states receive the most federal aid, along with the lowest life expectancies. While Florida & Texas targets Connecticut jobs and Yale University, Florida & Texas can brag about their lower taxes partly due to much higher federal aid than what Connecticut receives, and Connecticut sends a lot more money, per capita to Washington, than what Florida & Texas do. Connecticut is very much a donor state, and we get banged over the head with it. Could our elected officials do better for us? Probably.

          • David Roth

            My remark about Connecticut becoming a declining welfare state has to do with population. This article about is about “population” and “people moving”, not federal government funding. One of the reasons I will be leaving is we have hard working & retired people who are leaving so they can have a better life and lower taxes while other people come here to our welfare magnet state so they can live better at the expense of the ones who work or are paying CT social security income tax. You don’t have to be Nostradamus to predict what will occur when Connecticut is so generous to welfare recipients who do not work (or at least do “not” report income) while expecting others to keep paying more and more. People have and will be voting with their feet. We are a deep blue state and Democrats have been much too generous with other people’s money. Now they have run out of “other” people’s money.

          • Dross1958

            The penalty for retirees (that worked) to live in Ct is about $10,000 a year. Many southern states (and New Hampshire) do not tax Social Security, 401K, IRA and Pensions. Ct taxes all of those. So gone out of here when I retire…..maybe even before!

    • Cotton Mercer

      Professor Cooke I have a question for you. Can you clarify the demographics of the 24,462 immigrants who have moved to Connecticut? While I was born and raised in Connecticut I currently live in North Carolina and anecdotally we seem to have an influx of immigrants; both laborers and “white collar” professionals who are working either at one of the universities or in Research Triangle Park.

      So I’m wondering if the migrants coming to Connecticut are another country’s “brain drain” or are they coming for the manual labor jobs that might be available?

      • Thomas Cooke

        Yes, at least in terms of college education level they are better educated than people who are leaving. That is, the state has a net increase in the number of those with a college degree due to international migration.

        • Jeffrey Wright

          When you make the assertion that the international immigrants are better educated than those that are leaving are you referring to the legal visa applying immigrants, or the illegal kind?

          • Thomas Cooke

            This data is based upon the American Community Survey from the US Census. It surveys the entire US population (regardless of legal status). Obviously, illegal immigrants are wary of responding to the survey. Hence, the Census does not ask about their legal status. As well, illegal immigrants have an incentive to respond to the survey because one consequence of not responding is a (figurative in many cases) knock on your door from someone employed by the government.

    • Andrew Ba Tran

      Thomas, I’m sorry if you think this site frequently misleads readers with headlines and data. We take pride in showing our work and trying to make our methodology as reproducible as possible ( So your accusation is particularly distressing. You’ve obviously built a good part of your specialty on migration, so you’ve got a greater grasp of the scope of things, but this story is not about your work. It’s based on one data set, state-to-state movement, that I clearly mention in the top (, and who still lives in the same home as they did a year ago. This is not a story about net migration. It does not take into account births or immigration, but we’ve done so occasionally if there is a relevant report ( We even try to consider margin of error ( which makes me question your rather specific “24,462” figure. We tackled the fuzziness of the numbers on this particular dataset last year ( Thanks for your suggestion on the headline, we welcome guest posts ( if you’d like to consider expanding more on your findings for our readers.

      • Thomas Cooke

        The issue I have, and which I think is very serious, is that your headline reads “out more than in”. Given that there is a particular narrative in the state that people are fleeing the state (for example, I cannot count how many times I’ve seen the word “exodus” in the media) I thought it was particularly important to make sure that this narrative was not reinforced by this headline.

        • Greg S

          Perhaps Andrew could do another piece with a catchy lead: Guess How Many Net Citizens Have Fled CT? The Answer will blow your mind!

          • Andrew Ba Tran

            Greg, keep the comments civil. Go to Facebook if you want to be insulting.

        • Andrew Ba Tran

          Can you please cite the sources and link to the figures you reference in your original comment?

          • Thomas Cooke

            Same place you did, I presume: The “State to State Migration Flows: 2015: at Just took another look at that and realized it is for 2014-15. While the Census released its estimates of internal migration based on the CPS this last week for 2015-16, the state-to-state data is from the ACS and that has not been released yet. I made the presumption that since there was also a reference in the article to the release of the CPS data for 2015-16, that the state-to-state data was also for 2015-16. I also forgot to include the number of people moving in from Puerto Rico (3,564) and “U.S. Island Area” (15). That, actually, puts the net migration into positive territory (1,795).

    • deep45

      While I appreciate the correct facts Professor, the issue concerning migration isn’t a body count. Its the loss or gain of real income. I cannot find the exact numbers, although I would take a chance by guessing the there is a net outflow as seen in the degree to which the budget deficit estimates continue to grow.

      • Thomas Cooke

        This is another part of the narrative that is really not entirely clear. Measuring “income migration” is fraught with difficulties. If someone makes $60,000 but then loses their job and moves to take another job in another state then the data upon which these analyses are based will make it appear that $60,000 migrated to another state. But the reality is that this person would have had an income of $0 (perhaps) if they had stayed. You’ll have to trust me – there may or may not be an income loss due to migration – but we don’t really know because the data sources do not allow us to accurately measure it.

    • Greg S

      Fascinating and useful. Several friends have come up to me screaming about how impossible it is to live in CT and how everyone is running away. I am so tired of this alarmist approach. My family is thriving. Thank you for shedding some light on the issue Professor Cooke. Also glad to see below that we are gaining brains and educated citizens. This bodes well for our future. I just love this state…and my life here is so rich and wonderful.

  • Dross1958

    Can you break this down by age? What are the age groups leaving and what age groups are coming in? Last I checked income producers were leaving and elderly women over 80 were coming back to live with their children.

    This would be really good data to know. Could have a huge (excuse me “YUGE”) impact on state revenues.

  • Guy

    any data on what percent of CT are illegals?

  • R.Moccia

    Joined late. All due respect to the professor who lives in academia and we all know the old line about using figures. You can quote all the abstract numbers from every study, but if anyone really believes that people are not leaving this state because of its taxes both local and state and an inefficient government and that we are losing more people then we gain, not only do I have bridge to sell them, I will throw in the toll booths that some in the legislature are pushing. We rank in the bottom 3 of every survey from per capital debt, unfunded liabilities, road conditions and people understand that. I am senior citizen, and again do not live in academia, but the real world, and I can not tell you how many of my friends have moved to Florida North Carolina, and South Carolina. The only gains that I can determine is the increased business for the moving companies.