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Mass exodus from Mass

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Mass exodus from Mass


Since about 2009, Massachusetts has been losing individuals at all income levels. These losses are more concentrated among middle- and high-income earners, whose paths diverged markedly from low-income earners around 2017. Since then, the loss of low-income earners plateaued for a few years and ticked less negative in 2022.

One dynamic at play here may be housing costs. These have grown precipitously from 2018, with prices for typical homes increasing 20 percent in 2021 and 33 percent in 20221. The availability of lower cost housing elsewhere, combined with remote work opportunities brought on by the pandemic may have had a hand in drawing away Massachusetts residents. A recent housing cost analysis from the Center for Housing Data at the Massachusetts Housing Partnership supports this reading of the data as well. They find that newly constructed housing statewide may well be out of reach for good portions of middle- and high-income earners. And if we add these constraints to Greater Boston’s extraordinarily low vacancy rates across both new and old build homeownership and rental opportunities, it may be that even for high-income individuals looking to rent or buy, there is simply insufficient housing to go around. That does leave the question of lower-income residents, who when faced with the same cost challenges might be expected to seek out bargains or opportunities elsewhere. But unlike many other states, Massachusetts has a robust safety net and meaningful spending on low-income housing. For low-income individuals who would have to spend valuable time and effort to seek new housing out-of-state, moving may not make sense as a result.


Massachusetts is also losing residents with and without college degrees, with a slight acceleration in recent years for those with a bachelor’s degree or greater.

It’s likely that at least some of these domestic migrants with degrees are recent undergrad or graduate students returning home, while others may well be moving to find work or cheaper housing. Here, we are faced with the same challenges as in our race and ethnicity grouping. Both populations with and without college degrees are large, and individual reasons for movement may be quite varied.


It is only recently that net migration totals across Massachusetts age groups began to move meaningfully in different directions. The biggest change is a large and growing net loss of 25–44-year-olds, such that by 2022 the net loss of this group makes up about three-fifths of the total losses by age group.

One way of thinking about trends within this graph is to focus on life age and stage; that is, where individuals are in their lives and what they’re doing. A large portion of our youngest group are likely college students from the Commonwealth, who while leaving home at 18, may return post-college. The same dynamics are at play for out-of-state students coming to college in Massachusetts. In contrast to college-going youth, 25–44-year-olds cover a wide spectrum of experiences. They are recent graduates, young professionals, folks looking to start a family or buy a home. But for reasons we’ve discussed previously, many of these individuals are simply leaving, likely due in part to high housing costs.

Among older residents, losses of 45–64-year-olds and 65+ populations are low and stable. Here as well, housing may be a useful clue. More than 70 percent of these groups are homeowners as of 2022, as compared to a 44 percent homeownership rate among householders younger than 452. For those who have homes in Massachusetts, who can sit on those investments and may even have paid them off, moving may be a less appealing proposition. This stability likely also impacts those who are 65+ and retired—making them less likely to leave paid-off homes to open new mortgages or rentals in sunnier states. Still, we are losing thousands on net from these groups, even as their more stable housing situations may be mitigating more pronounced population loss.

Growing Forward

Massachusetts has a lot going for it. A robust tech sector, a diverse and growing immigrant community contributing to all parts of our economy and culture, and world class educational and medical institutions. But in the here and now, Massachusetts is regularly losing more of its existing residents than gaining those coming from other parts of the country. White or a person of color, low-, middle- or high-income, college educated or not, for many Massachusetts residents, it may be cheaper and easier to build a life somewhere else. And this loss of talent, creativity, and capital compounds on those remaining; in diminished services, less political representation, and reduced vibrancy. If Massachusetts wants to improve the value proposition, then we must find a way to tackle the issues that are driving people from the state.

  1. Zillow Home Value Index, January to January prices. Seasonally adjusted.
  2. 2022 1-Yr American Community Survey


According to the examination of 100 metropolitan districts, these ten cities had the top net sum of asset hunts on Redfin’s site. Net influx is the quantity of people hoping to migrate into a city with fewer individuals wanting to depart.

 Las Vegas is 5,700
Phoenix: 5,300
Tampa, Florida: 5,000
Orlando, Florida: 4,900
Sacramento, California is 4,800
North Port-Sarasota, Florida is approximately 4,700
Cape Coral, Florida is 4,100
Miami  3,700
Houston: 3,600

The investigation found that the greatest quantity of potential purchasers from abroad are in Los Angeles, Seattle, New York or Chicago. This result is in agreement with predictions since those cities typically experience a migration of home buyers.

The following list contains the 10 metros with the highest queries from people wanting to relocate out of their current city, compared to those seeking to move into that same region.

San Francisco: 28,100
New York City: 24,200
Los Angeles: 20,900
Washington, D.C.: 15,700
Chicago: 4,900
Boston: 4,400
Seattle: 3,900
Hartford, Connecticut: 3,500
Denver: 2,300
Detroit: 2,300

Research indicates that prospective buyers are seeking to vacate bustling seaboard cities for metropolitan areas in states with lower taxes that have substantially reduced real estate costs.

For example, the majority of potential purchasers from out-of-town looking for real estate in Las Vegas are from Los Angeles. Data provided by Redfin showed that as of June, the average price of a home in Vegas was $412,500, which is almost half the median cost of homes in Los Angeles which is $975,000.

For research, an individual looking at Redfin is labeled a migrant if they viewed 10 residences in another region during the three-month period ending June 2023. The rankings of movement both in and out were determined based on the aggregate figure of migrants.


Since the COVID-19 pandemic, a trend alarming to some has increased here in Massachusetts; people are moving out of state and new data is backing that trend up.

The Massachusetts population shrunk by nearly 8,000 people between July 2021 and July 2022, with much of that caused by a migration of tens of thousands out of the state. At the same time, the data shows fewer people are moving to Massachusetts.

Over the past 25 years, the state has been losing an overall population of about 25-30 thousand per year, but this past year over 57,000 fled Massachusetts. 

What’s become worrisome for many, especially when other states are growing though, is that this could put Massachusetts at risk for a loss of a seat in Congress if the trends hold by the 2030 Census. Other concerns include an increasing labor shortage, and other far ranging economic impacts.

Massachusetts last lost a congressional seat in 2010 but this may be a reality once again, and this is a trend that we’re seeing all across the country with a population shift from the Northeast and Midwest to the South and West.

Mass exodus

Updated: Boston Real Estate Blog 2023


For the third year in a row, Massachusetts was named among the top 10 “most moved from” states in the country, according to a moving company’s annual study. (With how the New England Patriots are playing are you surprised?)

Results gathered by United Van Lines in its 46th annual National Movers Study placed the Commonwealth seventh on the list, with 56.6% of respondents moving out while new residents total at 43.4%.

United Van Lines offers a breakdown of why respondents moved in or out of state. Most people moved out of state because of family, jobs and retirement.

Most respondents moving out of state were between the ages of 55 and 64 at 29.47%, according to the study. More seniors (30.01%) and people between 18 and 34 (25.63%) were noted to be moving inbound. Massachusetts residents making $150,000 or more made up the majority of residents moving in (55.08%) and out (46.36%) of the state.

Previous studies by United Van Lines placed Massachusetts eighth in 2020 and seventh in 2021 out of the top 10 states people are moving from.

Here’s a full breakdown of why residents are moving out or moving into Massachusetts. United Van Lines clarified that percentages pertaining to demographic data may not total 100%, as respondents with the ability to opt out of answering survey questions and/or select more than one survey response per question.

Retirement: 22.03% moving out, 12.98% moving in

Health: 11.02% moving out, 7.69% moving in

Family: 36.44% moving out, 34.13% moving in

Lifestyle: 18.22% moving out, 12.5% moving in

Job: 26.27% moving out, 34.62% moving in

Cost: 10.59% moving out, 3.37% moving in

Where They Moved

So where did our fellow Bostonians moved to? For those who have moved in the last three years, Texas, Florida, and Tennessee have been popular destinations.

Where Bostonians are moving to

North Carolina making a surge last year. Here are things to know about moving there! So, what makes it more popular to Boston, Massachusetts?

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Boston Real Estate Blog Updated 2023


Mass exodus from Mass

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Boston Real Estate for Sale in 2021


Mass exodus from Mass

It’s enigmatic that Boston, a city rich in history and home to some of the best colleges and hospitals in the country ranks No. 5 in the country for net outflow, according to a recent migration analysis by

But then again, COVID-19 turned normal on its head.

The report is based on a sample of some 2 million users who searched for homes across 112 metro areas in July.

Boston, along with San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C. saw more movement than any other metro areas. According to the report, Beantown’s July 2021 net outflow was 7,492, a year ago that number was -210. Where are they going? They’re heading north. Bostonians were most drawn to Portland, Maine.

A net outflow measures how many more home searchers looked to flee a particular city, instead of relocating to it. 

Warm-weather destinations like Miami, Phoenix, Las Vegas and Tampa were the most sought-after places to flock to with the highest rate of net inflow. Who wouldn’t want to work from the beach or near a golf course?

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Updated: Boston Real Estate Blog 2022


Mass exodus from Mass

The New York-Newark-Jersey City metro area tops the list for the highest out-migration activity, followed by Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose and Washington, D.C. For the most part, residents left these expensive metro areas for less costly housing markets or for warmer weather.

Other cities with high out-migration included Seattle, Boston, Chicago, San Diego, and Portland, all known for high home prices and population density. Areas that experienced population and home price explosions in recent years also lost residents, including Denver and Salt Lake City. Urban markets even in warmer climates were also on the list for having high out-migration activity, likely because of affordability issues. For example, Miami had the sixth-highest out-migration and Orlando had the 11th highest.

With more and more workers able to work from home remotely. Are we go to see a mass exodus from Mass?

According to a new study, the hot real estate markets are no longer on the costs, but in the middle of America as the video clip below shows.

Boston Real Estate for Sale in 2021

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