With 56.5 percent of moves in Ohio being outbound, the state has landed at No. 6 on a National Movers Study of Most Moved From States in 2018, up a spot from 2017.
The study, conducted annually by United Van Lines, tracks customers' state-to-state migration patterns. New Jersey saw the highest amount of people leave (66.8 percent) while Vermont saw the most people move in (72.6 percent). Below are the top 10 states on the "outbound" list:
- New Jersey
- New York
Why are people leaving Ohio?
On a national scale, "that's part of the great migration pattern change," says Michael Stoll, an economist, professor and chair of the Department of Public Policy at the University of California in Los Angeles. Put simply: people, particularly retirees, wanting to move to warmer climates. For people in the Midwest, that tends to be places like Arizona and Texas.
Still, "retirement" only makes up 16.9 percent of those leaving Ohio; family (13.78 percent) and lifestyle (8.77 percent) are other reasons cited, too. But the biggest reason by far is jobs, at 60.75 percent.
"That says a little about the ability of Ohio to provide employment," Stoll says. "That makes it a challenge because the structural reasons for why people leave Ohio are still there."
Those aged 18-34 are the highest group leaving Ohio (24.89 percent) and those 65 and older are the largest group entering, at 23.97 percent. Similar data was reported for the state last year.
It's all in line with what Stoll sees nationally. "We're seeing young professionals migrating to vibrant, metropolitan economies like Washington, D.C. and Seattle."
Can Ohio stop the exodus?
"Reinvention is what you have to do. There are cities that saw huge population declines that moderated them," Stoll says, pointing to places like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. "They have reinvented themselves into medical and science regions; same as Cleveland."
Though he says he's not sure Ohio could fully reverse the tide, "strategic investments could be made to grow those kinds of industries that Ohio is increasingly specializing in," he says.
You can see the study's full list of the most states moved to and from here.