Jul 11, 2022 - Business

North Carolina continues to benefit from remote-work migration

Net inbound and outbound migration
Data: Equifax, Moody's Analytics; Map: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

North Carolina continues to be a destination for those moving out of high-cost West Coast and Northeastern states.

Driving the news: Some 46 million people moved to a different ZIP code between February 2021 and February 2022 β€” the most of any 12-month period since 2010 β€” according to a new analysis by Moody's Analytics shared with Axios and first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Why it matters: North Carolina has been a big winner of that movement. The state had the third-highest in-migration during that period, only trailing Florida and Texas.

  • North Carolina gained 64,970 residents, according to the analysis.
  • The states that lost the most residents were California, New York and Illinois.

Context: The pandemic accelerated Southern migration trends that were already happening, Adam Kamins, a senior director at Moody's Analytics, told Axios.

  • Remote work, Kamins said, appears to have been the biggest game changer, allowing people the freedom to choose where they lived based on housing costs, lifestyle and weather.
  • Lower-income taxes could also be having some effect, Kamins said. North Carolina has aggressively cut income and corporate taxes in recent years.

What they're saying: "There is less of a pull to being in a big city or even near a big city" because of remote work, Kamins said. "You might as well move somewhere cheaper with better weather and keep the same wages you had before."

  • "How strong and durable that shift is still to be determined," he added.

Raleigh and Charlotte are obvious destinations for out-of-state migrants. But remote work could also stabilize the populations of cities that have seen brain drain in recent decades, like Rocky Mount, Kamins said.

  • Rocky Mount "isn’t going to draw in residents from New York or D.C.," he said. But college-educated natives who might have otherwise moved to a bigger city for work now "might be able to stay home and still find a job."

What's next: The mass movement of the last three years could have political implications, the Wall Street Journal noted, as most of the migration appears to be people leaving politically blue states and moving to red states.

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