There has been a lot of anecdotal evidence of people leaving big cities behind to live in more suburban, rural, or exotic locations because of the coronavirus. But there’s another force driving the migration: high taxes.

As Cato’s Chris Edwards writes:

…Americans are moving from high‐​tax to low‐​tax states in substantial numbers. This year’s crisis may have strengthened the trend, and it appears that the election results will not upset the pattern. Republicans have the edge to retain the U.S. Senate majority, which means that the cap on deducting state and local taxes on federal returns will likely stay in place for now. The cap increases the tax savings for middle‐ and higher‐​income households when they move from high‐​tax to low‐​tax states.

The tax migration trend is not new. A 2018 Cato study found that:

Of the 25 highest-tax states, 24 of them had net out- migration in 2016. Of the 25 lowest-tax states, 17 had net in-migration. The largest out-migration is from high-tax New York, whereas the largest in-migration is to low-tax Florida. Florida is enjoying an influx of wealthy entrepreneurs and retirees looking for a tax climate that boasts no income tax or estate tax.

Edwards says high tax, high-density areas should opt for more freedom if they want to survive:

New York and other people‐​losing states should downsize their governments by slashing taxes, spending, and regulations which reduce economic and personal freedoms. Policymakers in these states need to wake up to the new realities of mobile businesses and lifestyles.

Image Credit: Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America / CC BY-SA (