New IRS Migration Data Shows Net Out-Migration in New Hampshire

Chart Showing New Hampshire IRS Net Migration 1995 to 2009

Today, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released their 2009 estimates of taxpayer migration. This is important because people “voting with their feet” is a barometer of the health of a state’s economy (and thus, of public policy).

The chart below shows the net migration in New Hampshire of taxpayers (a good proxy for households), exemptions (a good proxy for people) and adjusted gross income (a good proxy for household income).

Since 2006, both households and people are showing net out-migration.  For the first time over the 1995 to 2009 time-period, income has gone negative as well. This net out-migration will create headwinds for the New Hampshire economy.

However, it is interesting to note that this net out-migration trend is not being driven by more households leaving New Hampshire. In fact, the number of out-migrant households has dropped since 2006.

Rather, the number of in-migrating households has dramatically declined. From 1995 to 2005, the average number of in-migrating households was 22,905.  From 2006 to 2009, the average number of in-migrating households was 19,311–a decline of 3,594 households.

As such, this net out-migration data is less a reflection of New Hampshire’s economy as it is a reflection of the Massachusetts economy since the majority of New Hampshire’s in-migration has historically been from the Bay State.

More specifically, the state of the housing market. The Boston housing market was one of the first in the country to go into recession. Since fewer people were able to sell their homes, then there were fewer people capable of relocating to New Hampshire.

Still, there are too many people deciding to leave New Hampshire. As our previous research has shown, New Hampshire suffers from a persistent net out-migration of people to right-to-work states. With right-to-work, New  Hampshire could keep more of its own residents home.

So if you live in a district where  your Representative voted against the recent right-to-work veto over-ride, you may want to ask them what their plan is to keep New Hampshire residents from leaving for greener, right-to-work pastures.