For Immediate Release
Michael D. LaFaive, Director of Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative
— Michigan residents continue to leave the state at alarming rates that have
accelerated since 2005, according to Mackinac Center for Public Policy
analysis of data released this morning from United Van Lines, America’s
largest household mover. In 2006, 66 percent of United Van Lines’
Michigan-related moves took households out of Michigan, rather than into the
state, tying Michigan with North Dakota for the highest rate of outbound
moves in the continental United States. Michigan’s UVL outbound rate was
second highest in the nation in 2005, and the continued exodus in 2006
prompted Mackinac Center scholars to caution policymakers against raising
the price of living, working and investing in Michigan.
Center Adjunct Scholar Michael Hicks, a professional econometrician, has
found United Van Lines and U.S. Census data to be highly correlated, making
UVL data a helpful leading indicator of migration patterns. Using Internal
Revenue Service data, Hicks and Mackinac Center Fiscal Policy Director
Michael D. LaFaive also found that Florida may have become the number one
destination state of Michigan expatriates, with 14 percent of all 2004 moves
going to the Sunshine State. "Indeed," Hicks noted, "14 percent is such a
significant percentage that there is more than retirement going on here.
This is an issue of opportunity."
residents continue to flee the Great Lake State for opportunity elsewhere,"
said LaFaive. "Policymakers in Lansing would be ill-advised to give job
providers or people any other reason to leave by raising taxes or imposing
other costs on the economy." LaFaive noted that according to the UVL data,
Michigan’s outbound rate is 2.1 percentage points higher than in 2005 and
less than one percentage point lower than Michigan’s all-time outbound
record, set in 1981.
published a commentary about the new data and its implications for
Michigan on the Mackinac Center’s Web site. LaFaive and Hicks present
empirical and anecdotal evidence in their essay suggesting that policy
decisions can influence state-to-state migration. They also caution against
one of the more popular solutions to Michigan’s economic woes frequently
discussed in Lansing: higher spending on higher education.
shows that spending more on higher education may slow the real rate of a
state’s economic growth," LaFaive observed.