Updated 8/31/15 for new data through tax year 2013.
The Internal Revenue Service, in addition to being the Federal government’s tax collector, also publishes statistical data on individual and business income by year from Federal tax filings.
One of the more helpful statistical series are estimates of migration, based on year-to-year address changes reported on individual income tax returns filed with the IRS. The data series presents migration patterns by State or by county for the entire United States and are available for inflows—the number of new residents who moved to a State or county and where they migrated from, and outflows—the number of residents leaving a State or county and where they went.
At the end of August the IRS released new data for the 2013 Filing Year, which show migration based on address changes for tax filers from the tax year 2012 filings to tax year 2013 filings. With this release the IRS is also reporting aggregate migration flows at the State level, by the size of adjusted gross income (AGI) and age of the primary taxpayer.
As shown in the following chart, after five successive years of New Hampshire experiencing net out migration, the 2012 to 2013 data shows that New Hampshire migration has turned positive again. According to the IRS data gained a net 2,729 people (based on number of claimed exemptions) from the 201 Filing Year to the 2013 Filing Year.
A look at state to state net migration flows shows that over the period 2001 to 2013 New Hampshire had a net gain of over 70,000 former Massachusetts residents. However the migration from Massachusetts slowed considerably over the time period, from over 10,000 per year in the early part of the last decade, to about 4,000 in the year 2013.
New Hampshire also gained residents from Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island from 2001 through 2013.
The State of Florida had the largest increase from net New Hampshire outmigration, gaining over 24,000 former New Hampshire residents from 2001 to 2013. Former New Hampshire residents also moved to Maine, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas.
To be clear, the IRS migration data is not perfect. It only measures address changes by tax filers. For individuals who are less likely to file taxes (like the poor and elderly), IRS data will fail to track migration. For individuals who may have non-traditional work and tax arrangements, as well as for people using tax preparers, IRS data may also fail to track migration. Still the data show an interesting pattern, and offer a clue to recent migration trends.