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California Bear Flag. (Photo: ca.gov)

IRS Data Reveals California, New York, Illinois Biggest Losers of Residents & their Wealth

Texas, Florida, Carolina’s biggest winners

By Katy Grimes, May 5, 2023 8:46 am

The California exodus to other states is even worse than we realized; the state’s population dropped by more than 500,000 people between April 2020 and July 2022, with the number of residents leaving surpassing those moving in by nearly 700,000, the Globe reported in February.

Now, the latest IRS state-by-state migration data based on tax returns filed in 2020 and 2021, reveal who and how many residents moved from one state to another between 2019 and 2020.

California’s net loss totals was more than 332,000 residents – more than any other state – taking $29.1 billion with them to other states.

New York and Illinois bled residents as well: New York’s net loss was 262,000 residents and Illinois’ net loss was 105,109.

Florida, Texas, North Carolina and South Carolina were the biggest winners.

Worth noting is that in 2018 California was one of the top Inbound destination states, according to Allied Van Lines Company data. By 2020, only two years later, California’s inbound migration was 40%, while its outbound migration was nearly 60%, which leads us to California’s bleeding residents and businesses today. COVID lockdowns, school and business closures anyone?

Wirepoints.com analyzed the IRS data and found Florida was the biggest winner in Adjusted Gross Income of nearly $40,000,000, a 5.5% increase.

In California, Los Angeles and San Francisco counties lost the most residents. This is no surprise either as Los Angeles and San Francisco had the harshest, most draconian Covid restrictions, masking, lockdowns, school closures and vaccine mandates. Los Angeles and San Francisco counties also have the most crime.

In fact, San Francisco County and the State of California were still operating under Covid emergency orders in February 2023 – three years after declaring the Covid State of Emergency, or nearly 1,100 days later. San Francisco initially declared its emergency order in late February 2020 – ahead of Gov. Newsom’s March 4, 2020.

California’s 13.3% income tax rate is the highest marginal tax rate in the nation. And when you add in up to 37% federal taxes, living in California is expensive right off the top, and especially now that we cannot deduct state taxes against the federal. And the California Legislature is attempting another tax on high income earners. Again.

In 2020, the Globe reported “Between 1995 and 2010, millions of Americans moved between the states, taking with them over $2 trillion in adjusted gross incomes,” author Travis Brown says in “How Money Walks: How $2 Trillion Moved Between the States, and Why It Matters.”

How Money Walks updated their maps of the migration of American income and reports California lost $100.12 billion in annual adjusted gross income Wealth Migration 1992-2020.

How Money Walks raises important questions about American tax policy and how it profoundly affects growth and development in our country:

  • Why did so much wealth walk? Did people vote with their feet?
  • Did money walk because the opportunity to keep more personal income talked?
  • How does taxing personal income affect economic growth?
  • Which states “won” which states “lost” and why?

How Money Walks concludes, “the key to accumulating working wealth for any state is a pro-growth tax policy, and that means not taxing personal income.”

Tell that to California’s tone-deaf legislators and governor, in this one-party Democrat-ruled state.

These are map graphics from How Money Walks showing California’s losses and Florida’s gains – numbers don’t lie:



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39 thoughts on “IRS Data Reveals California, New York, Illinois Biggest Losers of Residents & their Wealth

  1. I think residents leaving California in great numbers is a completely understandable phenomenon to most of us who are still semi-sane and not completely depressed but who would like to stay and battle this out. But of course it’s not at all easy to just live one’s life here anymore. The consistent failure of corrupt CA Dem/Marxist policies, the constant foolish antics of our puffed-up governor, the chutzpah of our unelected bureaucrats and their intrusion on us, etc., are no longer just fodder for academic discussion but have touched all of our lives and become almost overwhelmingly distracting for the average resident. Is it all purposeful? Probably. So what are people to do? Many MUST leave because living here is just too darn expensive. But moving to other states may not solve the problem because dysfunction has gone national, although small towns and a different regional culture may take the edge off and make the new home more livable.

    Given the politician-created expense, restrictions, crime, filth, toxic public schools, day-to-day uncertainty, and all the rest of the mess we now live with in CA, I’m sure that even a really good-sized chunk of the state’s progressive population has also moved out or is planning to do so. (Another reason non-CA states will become increasingly unattractive options over time.) So maybe our greedy, uncaring, leftist ‘leadership’ should be worrying about the lefty-drain from CA just as much as the damaging money-drain.

  2. I didn’t leave California. I was pushed out!! It’s one thing if California leaders and voters were waking up and realizing what they’re doing isn’t working but they’re not! They keep doubling down on insanity!

    1. I know, I get it, Belkabeast. It may become unavoidable for all of us who still imagine we can somehow tough it out. It’s downright cruel what’s been done to us, and by the very people we are paying handsomely: The so-called public servants who are supposed to be working for US.
      Wishing you the very best in your new home. 🙂

  3. Many of us have considered fleeing California but it seems that the rest of the country is becoming just as broken as California with many of the same issues? We hear the Ajijic and Lake Chapala in Mexico have a pleasant year-round climate that appeals to many U.S. expats and retirees?

    1. If those Mexican locales are cartel-free and residents aren’t constantly plagued with dysentery, I’ll make a note of them for my “In Case of Emergency Break Glass” file. 🙂
      But actually we have no plans to leave. Probably too stubborn.

      1. I agree with TJ, as well, Showandtell. Which is why I have delayed my decision to leave or not, for the time being. Interesting about the Mexico comments. The cartel is pervasive in all of Mexico, but to varying degrees I am told by someone I met recently who lives there, apparently in a very nice place….won’t say exactly where so as not to create a mass influx of foreigners from California. 😉

        1. Thanks Raymond. Very interesting information from your contact.
          Many years ago, my local govt watchdog buddies hypothesized that the ruinous local politicians and their parasites would likely retire with their fat bank accounts to the CA Central Coast. But nowadays I suspect the Smart Set politicians et al —- when they are finished trashing CA —- will abscond with our money to Costa Rica or somewhere like that where they can live and be treated like royalty. Average American retirees beware!

  4. Money walks yet these brain dead progressive morons in Sacramento spend it like it was overflowing into the streets.
    I am admittedly still here because of the weather and ocean, but everything else completely sucks!
    Our quality of life has diminished greatly. Restaurants and shops have closed. Sidewalks and parks are littered with drugged out vagrants. I do not wear my gold necklaces for fear of being ripped off when I am out. I am told I live in a safe city but my eyes and ears tell me differently. The streets have been narrowed to accommodate the non existent bike commuters. People barely look at one another in public.
    I really do not know how young families survive here. Many live in multi-gen homes and are recent immigrants.

    As ShowandTell and TJ have pointed out, this has gone national. Like a cancer the progressive hive mind spreads like wildfire. Thank you, public school indoctrination.

    I really do not want to be the last one to turn the lights out!

  5. I despise the imposed democratic apparatchik in California. We are ruled and not governed. There are no free and fair elections in California. The weather my be about the only benefit left. I do try to starve the state of any additional taxes by deferring optional tax events and also choosing which cities to spend my money. The city I live is doing more to encourage me to leave rather than stay. The people leaving California are taking more than their wealth. They are productive, creative and law biding citizens that improve the quality of life in their neighborhoods and cities. What will be left…the ultra-wealthy, poor, unproductive and criminal. The democrats own the hell that California has become.

  6. I moved from Europe in 2000 to start a tech company in San Francisco. We worked 60 hours per week 7/365 with no vacation. The company is successful, we currently have 476 employees.
    In California, I personally pay 14.3% taxes ( 13.3% + 1% extra for over $1 million). When adding Federal, I pay 54%!
    I decided to move the family and the company to Florida by December 2023. We are tired of paying taxes that are used to protect criminals, illegals, and unions.

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