Sep 15, 2023 - News

What makes Ohioans want to stay (and leave)

Illustration of a suitcase with a sticker shaped like Ohio.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Ohioans like to stick together and we can't resist a good bargain.

Driving the news: Proximity to family and a relatively affordable cost of living is why many of you told us you're staying in the Buckeye State.

  • It's clearly something you're passionate about, judging by the flood of responses we received!

Why it matters: To maintain a strong and competitive economy, Ohio needs to retain its residents and continue attracting more people to move here.

Catch up quick: Ohioans are more likely to stay put compared to residents of most other states, we reported last week, whether you're a native resident or a transplant.

  • Researchers point out we've got metro areas, job opportunities, a cheaper cost of living and sports teams that never, ever disappoint. (OK, maybe not the last one.)

Why you're staying: "I've stayed in Ohio because my church family is here," reader Danna M. tells us. "I enjoy the four distinct seasons and clothing changes."

  • "Like most Ohioans, [my fiancé and I] dreamt of moving far away early in our adult lives but quickly realized the dramatic benefits Ohio has to offer (cost of living, proximity to family, economic opportunity, relative safety from natural disasters)," writes Nathan T.
  • Maureen R., a New Jersey native who moved here in 2020, says she loves the access to nature — "Ohio is a freaking hidden gem" — cost of living and the chance to make a political difference.

Yes, but: Not everyone is sticking around. Around 16 of every 1,000 residents left the state in 2021, per Dallas Fed.

The other side: Several readers told us they moved away because of weather, politics and for opportunities elsewhere.

  • One reader hopes to join them. "I've tried to escape on three different occasions," Bernadette V. tells us. "I'm here till my parents pass away — then I'm making a run for it."

Between the lines: Ohio has spent millions of dollars on marketing campaigns in coastal cities to attract new residents, touting our state as affordable and the perfect spot "for leaders."

  • Time will tell if the campaigns were worth it, but we heard from one New York City reader who plans to return.
  • Columbus native Jacob C. says he moved away for school and a job, but can work remotely and wants to move back to his hometown.

The bottom line: Whatever the reason, we're glad you're here.


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