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Where are Minnesotans going to and coming from?

Last week, using newly released Internal Revenue Service (IRS) data, I wrote about how “Minnesota gains low-income residents from other states, but loses middle- and upper-income residents”. This IRS database allows us to track the movements of individuals between states so, where are Minnesotans going to and coming from?

Table 1 summarizes the IRS data for 2008/2009 to 2017/2018. It shows the numbers for total inflows and outflows over that period of returns (the number of taxpayers), exemptions (the number of people), Adjusted Gross Income (AGI), and the average AGI of the taxpayers who have moved in and out of our state.

Table 1: SOI Tax Stats – Migration Data for Minnesota, 2008-2009 to 2017-2018

Source: Internal Revenue Service

Minnesotans on the move

This is a big chunk of numbers, so lets break it down.

Table 2 shows the top 10 states from which Minnesota gained taxpayers and the top 10 states to which it loses taxpayers (based on net balance). Our biggest net gain in taxpayers over this period was from neighboring Wisconsin and our biggest net loss was to Florida. Table 3 is the same as Table 2 except that it is based on the numbers for exemptions, which counts the population, not just taxpayers. Our state’s main source of people was Illinois and the leading destination for Minnesotans was, again, Florida.

Table 2: Top 10 states from which Minnesota gained/lost taxpayers, 2008-2009 to 2017-2018

Source: Internal Revenue Service

Table 3: Top 10 states from which Minnesota gained/lost population, 2008-2009 to 2017-2018

Source: Internal Revenue Service

We might expect neighboring states to feature on a list such as this so the presence of Wisconsin, Iowa, and South Dakota – even Illinois – might not be too surprising. People familiar with the phenomenon of ‘Snowbirds’ might not be surprised to see Florida and Arizona appear. But people moving from New York to New Jersey to Minnesota are making quite a journey as are those moving from Minnesota to North Carolina, Washington, California and Colorado. Neither is the weather is not a major attraction for some of those states.

Money on the move

Those are the main movements of people in and out of Minnesota in recent years, how about their money?

For example, the average AGI of the taxpayers moving to Minnesota from Wisconsin – our top source – is $51,575 and the average AGI of the people moving from Minnesota to Florida – our top destination – is $117,898. Our state gains more income per taxpayer from our immigrants from Connecticut than from any other state: $125,886. Minnesota loses more revenue per taxpayer with our immigrants to Florida: $117,898.

Table 4 shows the top 10 and bottom 10 states in terms of the average AGI per taxpayer Minnesota has gained from them. It shows that, while Minnesota gained an average $125,886 per taxpayer moving here from Connecticut, it gained just $39,873 per taxpayer who moved here from Mississippi. Table 5 shows the same for the top 10 and bottom 10 states in terms of the average AGI per taxpayer Minnesota has lost to them. Here, we see that every Minnesotan taxpayer who left for Florida took an average of $117,898 of AGI with them while for the average Minnesotan moving to Mississippi the figure was just $42,684.

Table 4: Top and bottom 10 states for average AGI per taxpayer moving to Minnesota, 2008-2009 to 2017-2018

Source: Internal Revenue Service

Table 5: Top and bottom 10 states for average AGI per taxpayer moving from Minnesota, 2008-2009 to 2017-2018

Source: Internal Revenue Service

Putting it all together

So, putting together the movement of people and the movement of money, what does it all add up to?

Table 6 shows the top 10 states that Minnesota gained total AGI from between 2008-2009 and 2017-2018 and the top 10 states that it lost it to over that period. Altogether, Minnesota gained the most AGI from Illinois, $321 million. It lost the most to Florida, $2.1 billion.

Table 6: Top 10 states from which Minnesota gained/lost AGI, 2008-2009 to 2017-2018

Source: Internal Revenue Service

These numbers aren’t so surprising given the findings of our 2016 report ‘Minnesotans on the Move to Lower Tax States‘. Looking at the period 2004-2014, that report found that the top 10 states we gained AGI from were the same, except that, since then, Idaho and Connecticut have replaced Kansas and Indiana on the gain side and Oregon has replaced South Dakota on the loss side.

That’s enough number crunching for today. The next step is to ask why we are gaining/losing people and income from the states we are.

John Phelan is an economist at the Center of the American Experiment. 

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