New Data Shows Michigan Citizens Still Fleeing State

Mackinac Center Calls for Reform of Michigan’s Tax and Fiscal Policies to Curb Outbound Flow of Residents

For Immediate Release
Jan. 6, 2006
Contact: Michael D. LaFaive, Director of Fiscal Policy
Phone:(989) 631-0900

MIDLAND — New data released yesterday by household mover United Van Lines indicates that people continue to migrate at high rates from the Great Lakes State, a finding that prompted the Mackinac Center for Public Policy to call for significant and wide-ranging reforms to state fiscal policies.

The United Van Lines report shows that in 2005, 63.9 percent of the company’s interstate moves involving Michigan were outbound — the second highest outbound flow in the 48 contiguous states. This emigration rate is up from the 2004 figure of 60.9 percent and is just 3 percentage points below the state’s 1981 record.

"Michigan citizens are voting with their feet," said Michael D. LaFaive, the Center’s director of fiscal policy. "These votes are the ones that really count, even if the state continues to churn out press releases claiming Michigan is a great business location."

LaFaive and Mackinac Center Adjunct Scholar Michael Hicks have posted an analysis on the Center’s Web site comparing the United Van Lines data with federal statistics that track American migration patterns. "The United Van Lines data is highly representative of actual American migration as measured by the U.S. Department of Commerce," said Hicks, an econometrician.

LaFaive and Hicks were critical of state efforts to subsidize jobs with additional government programs. Instead, they recommended bolder changes, such as eliminating the Single Business Tax and passing right-to-work legislation.