North American Van Lines came out with its survey of 2020 moving patterns – the first to encompass a full year of the pandemic – and unfortunately for New Jersey and other high-tax, “blue” states, the outmigrations continues. In a piece by the Daily Mail, NAVL reported that 64% of New Jersey’s movers in 2020 left the state, tied for third-worst with California and trailing only Illinois (69%) and New York (65%).
This of course confirms the outmigration chronicled by United Van Lines, which found that last spring 69% of New Jersey movers left the state – the worst in UVL’s survey – followed closely by New York and Illinois. In 2019, 69% of New Jersey movers left the state as well.
It is perhaps understandable that in the middle of a pandemic people might choose to leave densely packed cities and states for states with more open spaces and warmer weather. But it is also true that these are long-standing migration patterns: the fact is that people, businesses and wealth are leaving high-tax states like NJ, NY and IL for low-tax states like FL, TX, TN, NC and SC.
The NAVL and UVL studies only measure the percentage of movers leaving a state, and so they do not capture all the data on the extent of the outmigrations. But they are sound indicators of a continuing trend. Contra those like NJ Policy Perspective’s Brandon McKoy, it does not appear that the pandemic has altered NJ’s long-term outmigration problem.