While every state has at least some residents who are looking for greener pastures; as Gallup reports, nowhere is the desire to move more prevalent than in Illinois and Connecticut. In both of these states, about half of residents say that if given the chance to move to a different state, they would like to do so (against an average 33% of all Americans who would prefer to live in another state than their own). The 'greenest pasture' or least disliked, according to Gallup, is Hawaii and Montana (where only 23% would prefer to leave). The biggest factor driving the desire to leave the current state - unsurprisingly - jobs (or business opportunities)... and Nevada residents (thank you Harry Reid) the most anxious to leave in the next 12 months.
These findings are from a 50-state Gallup poll, conducted June-December 2013, which includes at least 600 representative interviews with residents aged 18 and older in each state. Gallup measured residents' interest in moving out of state by asking, "Regardless of whether you will move, if you had the opportunity, would you like to move to another state, or would you rather remain in your current state?"
Thirty-three percent of residents want to move to another state, according to the average of the 50 state responses. Seventeen states come close to that 50-state average. Another 16 are above the average range, including three showing an especially high desire to move. In fact, in these three -- Illinois, Connecticut, and Maryland -- roughly as many residents want to leave as want to stay.
At the other end of the spectrum, 17 states are home to a below-average percentage of residents wanting to leave. This includes the previously mentioned six states -- Montana, Hawaii, Maine, Oregon, New Hampshire, and Texas -- where fewer than one in four want to move, the lowest level recorded.
In the same poll, Gallup asked state residents how likely it is they will move in the next 12 months. On average across all 50 states, 6% of state residents say it is extremely or very likely they will move in the next year, 8% say it is somewhat likely, 14% not too likely, and 73% not likely at all.
The combined percentages reporting they are extremely, very, or somewhat likely to move out of state ranges from 8% in Maine, Iowa, and Vermont to 20% in Nevada.
With the biggest motivating factor to leave being work/jobs...
As Gallup concludes,
State leaders have important reasons for wanting to see their state populations grow rather than shrink. A growing population usually means more commerce, more economic vitality, and a bigger tax base to pay for state services. A shrinking population not only hurts government coffers, but can weaken a state politically by virtue of the potential loss of U.S. House members through redistricting every 10 years.
Nevada, Illinois, Maryland, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, and Connecticut all appear particularly vulnerable to losing population in the coming few years: high percentages of their residents say they would leave if they could, and larger-than-average percentages say they are at least somewhat likely to do so in the coming year. At the other end of the spectrum, Texas, Minnesota, and Maine have little to fear. Residents of these states are among the least likely to want to leave and few are planning to leave in the next 12 months.
If these states sound familiar to readers of Gallup's previous 50-state poll articles, it's because several of them also appear at the top or bottom of the states for resident satisfaction with state taxes, state government, and overall perceptions of how their state compares to others as a place to live.