Affluent Americans have flocked to Sun Belt states since the pandemic started, with Florida leading the pack by a wide margin, a new analysis reveals.
Looking at migration patterns between 2019 and 2020, personal finance website SmartAsset ranked all 50 states plus the District of Columbia based on the net migration of households earning $200,000 or more.
Of the 10 states with the largest influx of high-earning households, nine are located in the Sun Belt, including the six-highest ranked states, starting with Florida. For this analysis, SmartAsset defines the Sun Belt as the general geographic region stretching across the Southeast and Southwest.
Here’s a look at the top 10 states, as well as the net number of high-earning households added to each state.
- Florida: 20,263
- Texas: 5,356
- Arizona: 5,268
- North Carolina: 4,713
- South Carolina: 3,967
- Tennessee: 2,743
- Colorado: 2,624
- Nevada: 2,331
- Idaho: 2,055
- Utah: 1,503
Factors leading to the migration to the Sun Belt include lower taxes and warmer weather, as well as more people retiring during the pandemic.
Florida was by far the most popular destination, as the inflow of high earners was nearly four times that of Texas, the next highest-ranked state. Four of the top 10 states — Florida, Texas, Tennessee and Nevada — don’t have taxes at the state level.
The gains made in the Sun Belt come at the expense of mostly Northeastern states. The biggest losers were California and New York, with nearly 20,000 high-earners leaving each state. That’s more than twice the amount of households as Illinois, the third-worst ranked state.
However, it’s worth noting that the states at the bottom of the ranking still have a higher-than-average percentage of households earning over $200,000. The 10 lowest-ranked states’ share of high earners averages 8.79%, compared to 6.82% for all tax filers nationally.
And while many of these states have a high cost of living, they also tend to have higher median incomes than Sun Belt states.
To calculate the ranking, SmartAsset examined households with adjusted gross incomes of $200,000 or more, comparing the location reported in their 2019 tax return with the new location reported in their 2020 tax return. Each state was then ranked by the net inflow of high-earning households.
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