Minnesotans are fleeing the state, where are they going? Florida

Just before Christmas, I noted that, on net, 19,400 Minnesotans left our state for other states in 2022, the largest exodus in at least 30 years. Where are they going?

Last September, using data from the Internal Revenue Service, I wrote:

Figure 2 uses IRS data that shows where those residents who have left Minnesota to move elsewhere in the United States have gone to.

Figure 2: Net domestic migration in and out of Minnesota, 2011-2012 to 2019-2020

Source: Internal Revenue Service

It shows that, from 2011-2012 to 2019-2020, Minnesota lost, on net, 40,884 residents to states without an income tax, with Florida the top destination. By contrast, our state gained residents from states with income taxes, with Illinois – another high tax state – being the leading source of domestic migrants.

People never vote more meaningfully than when they vote with their feet and when Minnesotans do so they opt, disproportionately, for states without an income tax. I do not deny that abolishing the income tax in our state would be a significant undertaking, but the end point would seem to be an attractive to many Minnesotans.

So Florida is the top destination for fleeing Minnesotans and this presents a problem for the Walz administration.

In a recent story for the Star Tribune titled, “Gov. Tim Walz ‘asking our team to be bold’ to attract workers to Minnesota,” he was quoted as saying:

“Drives me mad when I see commercials from South Dakota,” Gov. Tim Walz says. He wants to coax Minnesotans into talking more about life in Minnesota and has an advertising blitz of his own in mind.

“I’m going to run ads in Florida for teachers,” Walz said in a recent conversation with the Star Tribune about the state’s economy and policy choices.

“‘Come here! Yeah, it’s a little colder,” he said, nodding at the window on a day of single-digit temperatures. “But we’ll let you teach.”

That shot at the Sunshine State’s prohibition against teachers from discussing sexual orientation or gender identity appears emblematic of his desire to infuse quality-of-life arguments with a progressive edge.

Take a look again at the figure above showing Florida as the number one destination for fleeing Minnesotans and tell me that waging some Culture War on the Sunshine State is really going to reverse our state’s population loss. The lesson is, in fact, that whatever it is that Florida is offering, we ought to offer some ourselves.

Gov. Walz’ remarks show that he isn’t serious about reversing the exodus of Minnesotans from the state. He is, instead, concerned about playing to the gallery of liberals in the Twin Cities. “It’s a bold strategy, Cotton…”