September 16, 2010

Tax Foundation Launches Interactive Tool on State-to-State Migration Data

Interactive Data on Allows Comparison of Population, Income Shifts Among States

Washington, DC, September 16, 2010 – The Tax Foundation has launched an interactive tool at that shows state-to-state migration data, including the number of taxpayers that move into and out of a particular state, along with changes in the flow of income to and from the state.

“There are myriad factors that determine why people move among the 50 states,” said Tax Foundation Senior Economist Gerald Prante, Ph.D. “This tool that was built using the Tax Foundation’s expertise of IRS data provides researchers with a flexible and easy-to-use method of attempting to make sense of the relative importance of these various factors.”

Users select a state and a range of years between 1993 and 2008. The site then calculates immigration to and emigration from that state. Because the tool is based on IRS tax return data which include both personal and financial information, the site can calculate the flows of both people and their income. Also, data can be compared between two specific states or between one state and all other states.

For example, between 1993 and 2008, a total of 19,619 tax returns moved to Louisiana from Alabama. In the same time period, however, a total of 23,600 tax returns moved to Alabama from Louisiana, for a net out-migration from Louisiana to Alabama of 3,981 tax returns.

By tallying the exemptions claimed on these tax returns, we get a better picture of the population shift. From 1993 to 2008, 40,794 people moved to Louisiana from Alabama. In the same time frame, 51,081 people left Louisiana for Alabama, for a net out-migration from Louisiana to Alabama of 10,287 people.

The adjusted gross income declared on those tax returns tell us that $823 million moved from Alabama to Louisiana between 1993 and 2008. Meanwhile, $1 billion moved from Louisiana to Alabama. On net, then, Alabama gained nearly about $193 million.

The migration tool also presents the data described above as graphs. Clicking on any of the numbers displayed in the output columns will bring up a graph illustrating the movement of taxpayers and income among the states according to the parameters selected by the user.

For more information, see a short video explanation of how the calculator works or visit the Tax Foundation’s Center for State Fiscal Policy.

The Tax Foundation is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that has monitored fiscal policy at the federal, state and local levels since 1937.


To schedule an interview, please contact Natasha Altamirano, the Tax Foundation’s Manager of Media Relations, at (202) 464-5102 or