Americans Flee The Northeast Because It's The Northeast

The lower Manhattan skyline is dominated by One World Trade Tower in New York, Monday, Oct. 28, 2013.  (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
The lower Manhattan skyline is dominated by One World Trade Tower in New York, Monday, Oct. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

It's true that the Northeast is home to some of the priciest zip codes in the country and some of the harshest winters ever, but the question of why Americans are abandoning the area specifically for places like Virginia, North Dakota and Texas, leaves some experts perplexed.

According to the New York Post, the exodus is not puzzling at all. In fact, it's been going on for decades.

The movement from high-tax, high-housing-cost states to low-tax, low-housing-cost states has been going on for more than 40 years ... From 1970 to 2010, the population of New York state rose from 18 million to 19 million. In that same period, the population of Texas grew from 11 million to 25 million.

A study released earlier this year showed that New Jersey had the highest ratio of people moving out compared to those moving in, with 62 percent of the moves logged heading out. Other Northeast states with the largest number of people moving out included, New York (58 percent), Maine (56 percent) and Connecticut (56 percent).

One camp says that despite high scores on the "opportunity index," a ranking of metropolitan areas where young adults are most likely to rise from the bottom to the top of the income scale, the cost of housing in the Northeast is ultimately forcing people out.

According to Washington Monthly writer Timothy Noah:

Why are Americans by and large moving away from economic opportunity rather than toward it? ... One “push” factor heavily touted by conservatives is state income taxes ... A far more plausible push factor is the cost of housing.

But others disagree. "Contrary to Noah’s inference, people don’t move away from opportunity. They move partly in response to economic incentives, but also to pursue dreams and escape nightmares," the Post notes. "When you adjust incomes for tax rates and cost of living, Texas comes out ahead of California and New York and ranks behind only Virginia and Washington state."

Still others present another reason: age. As Forbes' noted earlier this year, "The Northeast and Midwest also feature a comparatively high concentration of residents over 65 who tend to retire to states that are warmer and less expensive."

Check out more of Noah's theory in the November/December issue of Washington Monthly and an analysis of his claim at the New York Post.

Here's a look at 2013's most expensive cities for real estate in the U.S. and beyond:

10 Most Expensive Cities For Real Estate

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