Thursday, June 17, 2010


This is making the rounds, a fascinating interactive map of migration using IRS data from Forbes.  Note that you only get county-to-county moves for numbers of 10 or more.  So what is going on for Portland?  Looks like people are still coming here more than leaving here-in-migration is in black and out-migration is in red.  Here is the picture for Portland (Multnomah County):

You want to see what a dying city looks like?  HEre is the same picture for Detroit (Wayne County):


There is some interesting analysis at The Economist which notes that the data do not seem to support the idea that the rich flee areas of high taxation.


GeoGeek said...

Rich people leaving high tax areas has always seemed more theoretical than actual to me. It seems to me that rich people are more likely to live near business centers (after all that's where the money is), which usually means cities, which usually means higher taxes.

It would be interesting to see compare to what people do after retirement, however.

Personally, I'm fascinated by the Los Angeles map – it's like all these people from the east coast move "out west" which apparently means "Los Angeles" – while Angelenos are decamping for other cities in the West.

Jeff Alworth said...

On a lot of the conservative blogs, they're arguing just that--that tax rates cause migration. They make the argument by showing lots of in-migration to certain low-tax states. Somewhat maddening.

It would be interesting to see a study about what actually does cause migration. The Detroit example is a straightforward one, but Portland is counter-intuitive. We get lots of migration, but our jobs situation has always more or less sucked. You have to sacrifice personal wealth to live here. I wonder which factors are the strongest (for surely there must be several) in driving migration?

And among them, I wonder how much taxation plays a role.

Fred Thompson said...

The evidence on the effect of state taxes on locational decisions is really weak. It seems to be offset by even minor public amenities, like airport access. But tax rates/structure profoundly affect income recognition decisions and, other things equal, may affect long-term development.