Aug 4, 2023 - Culture

Where Minnesotans would go if they left the state

Data: Axios research. Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Axios research. Chart: Axios Visuals

Twin Cities residents are Rocky Mountain high on Colorado.

Driving the news: We asked Axios Twin Cities readers where they would move in the U.S. if they couldn't live in Minnesota anymore.

  • Colorado came in first with 13% of 560 responses.
  • West Coast states California, Washington, and Oregon rounded out the top four, followed by Maine at No. 5.

Why it matters: The survey is not scientific, but it gives a glimpse at which factors a slice of Minnesotans would consider if they had to choose a new home state.

What they're saying: The people who picked western states often cited outdoor recreation, natural beauty, and liberal politics.

  • "Colorado features my favorite Minnesota recreational activities (snowboarding, hiking, biking), but on steroids," one reader wrote. "It's also an increasingly diverse state whose politics are trending similar to ours. That could be a pro or con, depending on your point of view, but it'd be a plus for me."

The Northeast also had a strong showing, with Maine, Vermont, and Massachusetts ranked in the top 11. People who chose Maine suggested it reminds them of the North Shore, while Vermont lovers wanted to keep living in a state with cold winters and beautiful scenery.

Reality check: Wisconsin, Florida, and Texas were the top three states for out-migration from Minnesota in 2020 and 2021, according to IRS data. California ranked fifth and Colorado eighth.

Of note: Wisconsin's gains from Minnesota can be at least partially explained by college reciprocity and people moving into Hudson and nearby cities that have become Twin Cities exurbs.

  • But many others picked Wisconsin as well as Illinois (No. 9) because they have family in those states.

Between the lines: People who picked Florida, Texas, and other southern red states often cited low or nonexistent state income taxes, warm weather, and conservative politics.

Other tidbits:

  • Neighboring North Dakota got zero votes, as did Arkansas, Delaware, Indiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, and West Virginia.
  • Arkansas was shut out despite an advertising campaign to recruit people from the Twin Cities and a few other select metros.

The bottom line: Minnesota has roughly broken even over the past 30 years when it comes to gaining and losing residents from other states, but in the past couple of years the scales have tipped more toward losing population to domestic out-migration.

  • That suggests that more people are choosing to move to states where they might find the weather, scenery, economics, or politics more to their liking.

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