‘How Money Walks’: Map Shows Cash Fleeing States With high Taxes

By Rob Nikolewski 

Have you noticed more Californians coming to New Mexico?

Judging from a study of wealth migration, it’s not just a feeling you may have — it’s true.

A fascinating map showing the amount of money flowing from state to state called “How Money Walks” shows that $950.09 million in wealth moved from California to New Mexico in the span of 15 years.

And while New Mexico’s economy has been sluggish, according to the map’s figures, more money has come into the state from other states than has come out.

The map’s author, Travis H. Brown, tracked the millions of people in the U.S. who moved from state to state, taking with them more than $2 trillion in adjusted gross income. Brown says Americans are fleeing high-tax states and moving to states that offer lower taxes.

The big losers? New York, California, Illinois, New Jersey and Ohio.

The big gainers? Florida  won the most, with $86 billion coming its way. Other gainers were Arizona, Texas, North Carolina and Nevada.

Here’s where New Mexico gained wealth:

  • $950.09 million from California
  • $267.88 million from New York
  • $141.86 million from Illinois
  • $126.68 million from Michigan
  • $115.30 million from New Jersey

But the New Mexico also lost wealth:

  • $534.12 million from Texas
  • $459.64 million from Arizona
  • $357.79 million from Colorado
  • $98.12 million from Oregon
  • $87.50 million Nevada

Brown says his data comes from 15 years of statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Internal Revenue Service.

Here’s the interactive map. Just find a state and click on it to get the figures.

Now keep in mind the map shows money that’s moved from one state to another, but doesn’t look at the money created in a given state that stays in that state. But it’s still an intriguing measure to look at.

Here’s a CNBC interview with Brown discussing his findings.

Published with authorization of Watchdog.org


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  • Rango

    Hopefully these are conservatives leaving liberal states. Don’t want the libs moving to my state with their socialist ideas.

    • texaschris

      It’s not. I can tell you the Californians moving to SE Texas are liberals of one shade or another. We’ve even had some Keystone XL protests here in the last 6 months…

  • peck2

    Unfortunately, many of the “progressive” filth from California have wound up in Catron county New Mexico. Catron county was the only county that the typical Democrat liar/thief Billy Richardson did not win in his elections. We here in Catron county are seeing the negative results of the inflow of Liberal/Progressive/Marxist/morons from the land of “fruits and nuts”. Before long, we are going to have to “take them out” of circulation.

    • be_free

      Don’t confuse elitist liberal politricksians, hippie university “intellectuals”, gender bender activists or generations of brainwashed Democrat voting Black and poor Latino family that are stuck in the welfare circuit thanks to their liberal “benefactors’ that do all they can to keep working class people down with fake compassion from the million dollar Berkeley and Oakland hills homes, or San Francisco Lofts — with the average salary earning family.

      You’ll find few ideological progressives outside of SF/Bay Area and LA. Plenty of conservative military folks here, ranch/rural folks and middle-class professionals. The Bay Area specifically is also full of Chinese and (East) Indians that are as conservative or even more socially conservative than Southern Christians (and they tend to be prejudice against all other races than Whites). But, just as the GOP have the rhetoric down in the more rural areas around the country and paint all Democrats as naked communist loving hippies that hate America, the Libs have the reverse rhetoric down painting Republicans as black people lynching, gay hating, war mongering, gun fetish, tobacco chewing, country backwards, bible thumping non-scientific, immigrant hating, non-compassionate extremists. To avoid all that evil, the Dems promises heaven and earth if they can just raise the taxes a little bit more. Most people go for it. The fact is, they make enough money so they don’t really care.

      Even though folks in general in Cali are more tolerant towards “alternative lifestyles” it doesn’t mean they’re communists. There are a ton of gun owners here, a ton of Libertarians and quite a few main stream Republican (although most conservative seems to have more of a libertarian bend than singing the gospel of GOP). In the San Jose area where I live, people are here because there are job opportunities and you can still make money here. I live here because I literary doubled my salary when I moved from GA. Of course, after a while a lot of us discover that it doesn’t help much if you’re making a 6 figure salary when a regular 3bd/2ba house cost $800k-1.2 million dollars. When people realize that their 100k salaries go as far in Silicon Valley as 50k salaries go elsewhere, they move without the politics. The only folks that are taking their liberal politics with them are rich well-off retirees (yep, you guess it right, rich White and Jewish folks), the ones that moved from the hills and the Lofts, usually from old money and/or with high education, and the occasional successful artist. Salary earning folks, not so much.

  • JBH

    $950 million leaving CA over 15 years isn’t exactly staggering considering the total amount of wealth in the state. Probably less than 1%. I am all for lower taxes, but this article makes a mountain out of a mole hill.

    • texaschris

      Every little bit counts. If 1% of the entrepreneurs leave a state, they take with them all the residual revenue, and lower the in-state generation numbers, too.

  • tionico

    I can’t quite see how to measure it, but it would be interesting to somehow quantify how much NEW WEALTH is generated outside of California by business which were moved out of state. Bringing one’s assets out is a transfer of wealth, measurable, but also a treansfer of earning power in the sense of capital goods and intellectual/experiential assets. A business being held down by California’s insane ways could explode into high profitability once the “lid comes off” in a freer state. Anbd it si THIS which so motivates many to leave, taking their businesses with them and starting over elsewhere. California has never considered the “brain drain” effect. I watched Nicaragua drained almost completely during the corrupt Sandinista regime through the 1980’s. Many wealthy and successful people left, and not being able to take their cash with them, bought HUGE herds of cattle and had them driven over the border into Honduras, sold them, and went on to places like Florida where they took what wealth they could remove (on the hoof, as it were) and began again. Many are extremely prosperous today, as thney brought their intellect and business skills with them. Nicaragua remains the second poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere twenty years further on. The value of that “intangible” resource pool is uncountable. California is doing the same thing.