Census Data: Americans Migrating From High to Low Tax States

On Tuesday, Census Bureau director Robert Groves announced the first results of the 2010 Census. The findings were not so surprising. Due to population changes, 12 House seats will shift. States with low or no income tax gained more representative seats in the House. Those states with a high income tax lost seats. Just as we expected, Americans are packing up and escaping places with out of control taxation.

Growth is stronger where taxes are lower. Texas’ population grew 21 percent in just the past decade from 21 million to 25 million. While this is partially due to the inflow of immigrants, it has also attracted Americans from all other 49 states. According to Texas Governor Rick Perry “Texas has no personal income tax and no interest in getting one.” Due to Texas’ low taxes and business friendly environment, they have gained four additional House seats.

Nine states currently have no income tax. This is a large selling point that has attracted a great deal of entrepreneurs and productive citizens to these states. The no income tax states of Florida, Washington and Nevada gained a total of four seats. According to the Washington Examiner,

Seven of the nine states that do not levy an income tax grew faster than the national average. The other two, South Dakota and New Hampshire, had the fastest growth in their regions, the Midwest and New England. Altogether, 35 percent of the nation’s total population growth occurred in these nine non-taxing states, which accounted for just 19 percent of total population at the beginning of the decade.

Who were the Census losers? For the first time in history, California did not gain a single seat. Massachusetts or “Taxachusetts” lost a seat to other states with lower taxes. Under the new Census data, New York lost two House seats. Over the past decade, the state has had one of the highest tax burdens in the nation. The Tax Foundation has ranked it the worst state for businesses in 2011. Even Donald Trump has threatened to move out of New York due to excessive taxation.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg weighed in on the Census results by saying:

Unless we make this an attractive state to do business in and to live in, people are going to continue to move out. We have to reverse that trend. If you take a look at the competition, we have a lot of retired firefighters, police officers and teachers, for example, that move to Florida. Why? I don’t think it’s the better weather. It’s there’s no inheritance tax and there’s no estate tax. There’s no income tax.

Bloomberg should listen to his own advice by dropping his proposal for a soda tax in New York City.

The Census results should be a good wake up call to state governments. It’s common sense that states with low taxes will attract more people. States with no income taxes have far more job growth and economic gains than those with income taxes—especially those with high income taxes. According to the American Legislative Exchange Council, the nine states without income taxes have had an average job growth of 18.2 percent over the past decade. On the other hand, the nine states with the highest income tax experienced a mere 8.4 percent rise in jobs.

The latest Census data only confirms what we have always known. Americans are sending a message by voting with their feet. More of us are choosing low taxes, less government and more freedom.