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.

Forbes “Best States for Business” Index Shows Why New Hampshire Needs Right-to-Work

Last week Forbes released their annual “Best States for Business” index. Unfortunately, New Hampshire does not do as well as one would expect falling as only the 27th best state for business. There are six sub-indices in the index and the one that New Hampshire scores the worst on is “Regulatory Environment.” From their methodology table:

Regulatory environment includes metrics influenced by the government. We factor in an index from Pollina Corporate Real Estate that measures tax incentives and the economic development efforts of each state. Other metrics include the Tort Liability Index from Pacific Research Foundation, as well as the regulatory component of PRI’s U.S. Economic Freedom Index. Other factors include Moody’s bond rating on the state’s general obligation debt and the transportation infrastructure including air, highway and rail. We also gave credit to those states that are right-to-work states. [emphasis added]

So it’s no surprise that 16 of the 26 states ahead of New Hampshire are all right-to-work states. Therefore, enacting right-to-work would signficantly improves New Hampshire’s ranking in the Forbes “Best States for Business.”

The Case for Right-to-Work in New Hampshire: Examining the Evidence in Oklahoma

The New Hampshire Center for Economic Policy (NHCEP) has issued a new report that demonstrates the measurable effect adopting Right-to-Work (RTW) laws has on a state’s economy by examining the most recent state to free employees and employers from mandated union arrangements.

Oklahoma has experienced growth in the number of households, population and manufacturing GDP since the implementation of RTW in 2003.  Most of the in-migration of people and jobs has come at the expense of non-RTW states – proving that no matter what is happening in the national economy, there are positive steps available for individual states to strengthen their own economies and job growth.

NHCEP policy experts commented on their findings, in context of New Hampshire’s current opportunity to adopt Right-to-Work laws:

“During a time when people are concerned about America’s economy, it’s very exciting to be able to illustrate that there are things an individual state can do on its own behalf,” noted NHCEP president J. Scott Moody.  “Oklahoma is the most recent state to adopt Right-to-Work, and the Sooners are booming.”

Moody continued:“If New Hampshire would move in the same direction, and adopt Right-to-Work, I predict the results would be even more positive because we already have the advantages of the largest private sector in the country, as well as no sales or income taxes. Plus, the closest competing Right-to-Work state is Virginia – so why would any company in the Northeast move anywhere but New Hampshire?”

“The best part about choosing Right-to-Work now is that it’s a proven policy that will not cost the state treasury any short-term lost revenues,” adds Chief Economist Wendy Warcholik.”In fact, this policy will strengthen the state’s finances by helping New Hampshire companies become more competitive and add workers. It will also make New Hampshire even more attractive for new business start-ups and for established companies to relocate here.”

“Another way of looking at New Hampshire’s current situation regarding Right-to-Work is to see the Tenth Amendment in action,” concluded Mr. Moody.  “Individual states are free to experiment with policies within their own borders, with the luxury of seeing what works in other states and what doesn’t work.  We hope that New Hampshire’s leaders take this opportunity to review the positive results from Oklahoma’s decision on Right-to-Work and make it happen here too.”

To read the NHCEP report detailing Oklahoma’s experiences with Right-to-Work, please click this link:

Mr. J. Scott Moody and Dr. Wendy Warcholik are available for press interviews, on-air appearances and in-person presentations of this research.  If you have any questions or would like to arrange a meeting, please contact Scott Moody via e-mail at or by calling 603-277-0255.