New Report Shows Where Nebraskans Are Moving

New Report Shows Where Nebraskans Are Moving

Contact: Adam Weinberg
(402) 452-3737

Majority of Income From Nebraska Out-Migration Lands in Handful of States
New Report Identifies Texas, Florida, Arizona, Colorado and Iowa as Top Five State Competitors

OMAHA, NE (July 13, 2016) – In the first issue of the Removing Barriers in Nebraska policy brief series, the Platte Institute reviewed U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Department of Commerce data to show that Nebraska fell below the national average in job and population growth over the past decade.

In the second issue, Removing Barriers in Nebraska: Where Are Nebraskans Moving? we’ll  identify where those people and jobs have gone instead, particularly among Nebraskans themselves.

The policy brief and complete release schedule can be viewed at The series is based on research by Russell S. Sobel, Ph.D., Professor of Economics and Entrepreneurship at The Citadel, and aims to identify policy barriers that stand in the way of greater economic growth in Nebraska.

A conference call to discuss the release is scheduled for Wednesday, July 13, 2016 at 10:30 a.m. CT. Platte Institute Communications Director Adam Weinberg and Policy Director Sarah Curry will be available on the call. To call in, dial (605) 475-4000, Access Code: 106202#. The call may be recorded for broadcast.

An overview of this release and Nebraska’s top five state competitors are also the subject of this week’s #PlatteChat column, “Five States Nebraskans Are Choosing Over Nebraska,” available here.

Data from the IRS show that more than $3 billion in annual adjusted gross income has left Nebraska due to out-migration since 1992, mostly to a handful of faster-growing states. While Nebraska does gain from other states that are losing their own income, Nebraska’s losses of income over that period of time far exceed the gains.

The report shows that when considering a combination of income migration, population migration, and economic growth, the five states Nebraska is in the stiffest competition for growth are Texas, Florida, Arizona, Colorado, and Iowa.

Additional parts of the series will use data from the five competitor states to compare how these states are approaching economic policy, including taxes and spending, education and entrepreneurship.

“Identifying our main state competitors shows which environments and policies are more attractive to economic and population growth,” said Adam Weinberg, Communications Director for the Platte Institute. “There are many things elected officials can’t control, but knowing which states are gaining income and population from Nebraska can help provide the feedback our policymakers need for approaching the policies they can change, and help answer the question ‘Why Nebraska?’ for more people,” said Weinberg.

More details behind the data:

  • Texas is our largest economic competitor, gaining $476 million in annual income from Nebraska since 1992. From 2013-2014, 3,343 Nebraskans moved to Texas, making it the second most common state to which Nebraskans moved. Texas is estimated to have grown its total population more in only the last couple years than Nebraska has in a century.
  • Florida has gained $433 million in annual income from relocated Nebraskans since 1992. Migration data shows 1,785 Nebraskans became Floridians in 2013.
  • While 3,143 Nebraskans moved to California from 2013-2014, making it the 4th most chosen state for relocation, on the whole Nebraska gains from the Golden State’s own issues with out-migration. California has been Nebraska’s largest single contributor to income migration, with $174 million in annual adjusted gross income finding its way to Nebraska since 1992.
  • The top five states people leave to bring their income to Nebraska are California, Illinois, North Dakota, New York and New Jersey, though even among relocating residents of these states, Nebraska is farther down the list compared to most of our key competitor states.
  • Iowa stands out from the list of competitors since it shares many of Nebraska’s struggles with job and population growth. While income losses to Iowa were not as great as other states, more Nebraskans relocated to Iowa than any other state from 2013-2014. Why? Proximity to cities in Nebraska probably helps, making relocation more like moving across town than across the country. And on tax policy, Iowa might as well be Texas for many Social Security recipients and military retirees, whose benefits are exempt from state income tax. 

The Platte Institute for Economic Research advances policies that remove barriers to growth and opportunity in Nebraska. To learn more about our research, view our recent articles, or subscribe to our weekly #PlatteChat column.

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