Data show that middle class residents are fleeing Minnesota

From mid-2021 to mid-2022, a net 19,400 Minnesota residents left for other states, by far the highest number in at least three decades. When you point this out, a common response is that these are all elderly residents retiring. Data show that that is not, in fact, true. Another (slightly less) common response is that these are largely rich people fleeing our state’s high taxes. While the acknowledgment that people move in response to taxes is welcome, data show that this, too, is not the full story.

Internal Revenue Service data breaks down in and out migrants to and from Minnesota by both age and income of the primary taxpayer. Table 1 and Figure 1 show Minnesota’s net domestic migration of individuals of different income groups over the last nine years, those for which this data is available. Overall Minnesota sees a 26,807 net loss of residents to other states. But, contrary to the notion that it is just ‘the rich’ who are fleeing Minnesota, we see that Minnesota loses residents, on net, in every income category from $50k to $75k and up.

Table 1: Minnesota’s net domestic migration by income

Source: Internal Revenue Service

Figure 1: Minnesota’s net domestic migration by income, 2011-2012 to 2019-2020

Source: Internal Revenue Service

Younger Minnesotans, on balance, are leaving to make their lives elsewhere. So, too, are middle class Minnesotans. This is unfortunate on a personal level, but it is also bad news for the state’s economic future. Sadly, the state government is super-sizing the very policies that are pushing these people out of the state. Do not expect these numbers to improve anytime soon.