Departures from Connecticut outnumbered arrivals to the state during each of the past 10 years, according to a new report published by Indiana-based moving company Atlas Van Lines.
The new data showed that of the 2,204 people that the company gave moving assistance to in Connecticut, 1,236 people left the state while only 968 moved in. The report drew from Atlas’ household goods relocation records between 2006 and 2015 to model broader interstate migration patterns. It then classified each state as “inbound” if greater than 55 percent of its moves were arrivals, “outbound” if greater than 55 percent were departures or “balanced” if both arrivals and departures constituted under 55 percent of total moves. Because approximately 56 percent of the moves left Connecticut, the state qualifies as outbound. Atlas Marketing Manager Lauren Falls, who oversaw the study, stressed its importance both for the company and for understanding movement across the country. While Atlas’ study did not explore why people are leaving the state, numerous papers and studies have postulated about which factors most influence interstate migration — a question that remains the subject of much disagreement.
“It is vital for not only the moving industry, but also our nation, to track migration patterns and better understand why and where individuals are relocating,” Falls said in an email.
Atlas’ data represents a small proportion of the total number of interstate migrations. Of the approximately 40 million people who move every year, according to U.S. census data, the report included just the 77,705 handled by Atlas. The study’s authors, however, said their data offers a nationally representative sample capable of helping determine the destinations of and motivations for interstate migrations more broadly.
President and CEO of the Connecticut Business and Industry Association Joe Brennan said that in Connecticut’s case, consistent net outbound migration probably results in part from the harsh tax burden — the fourth-highest in the country according to a 2015 study by personal finance website WalletHub.
“I think taxes are a factor,” Brennan said. “Our income tax, particularly on higher-income individuals, has been creeping up quite a bit and I know for a fact that some people are making choices based on that.”
The findings of Atlas’ study corroborate Brennan’s theory. Among the 10 states whose residents face the highest tax burden according to WalletHub — including New York, California, Nebraska and Illinois — the Atlas report classified eight as outbound, one as inbound, and one as balanced. Brennan also said that the state’s slow economic growth, which still has not reached pre-recession rates, and inability to compete with what he called the “big-city appeal” of nearby metropolises like New York and Boston could be driving people away.
In addition to the possible causes underlying the trends exhibited by Atlas’ data, Falls and Brennan noted some likely consequences of those patterns.
“From a state budget perspective, obviously you have fewer people living here paying property taxes, paying sales taxes, paying payroll taxes and [paying] other taxes,” Brennan said.
Falls also discussed the trend’s potential long-term impacts on the Connecticut economy. She said the state should expect a decline in the size of its labor pool and in general economic growth if Connecticut continues to see net outbound migration.
In New Haven, however, evidence indicates no outbound migratory trends, according to City Hall spokesman Laurence Grotheer.
“There is a very small vacancy rate in terms of housing and there are somewhere close to 2,000 housing units in some phase of design, permitting or construction to address that vacancy rate and the need for additional housing units,” Grotheer said.
In light of Alexion Pharmaceuticals’ imminent return to New Haven — a relocation that promises to bring 1,200 new jobs to the city — and of the introduction of two new residential colleges at Yale, Grotheer is optimistic. He called prospects for New Haven’s indefinite future “bright.”
Two hundred Alexion employees arrived in New Haven on Tuesday, the first of a total of 1,000 it plans to move to its new headquarters by the end of March.
Correction, Jan. 22: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that more people departed from Connecticut in 2015 than had over the course of the decade prior.