Studies claiming that out-migration is a signal of economic decline should always be taken with a bit of sharp skepticism. Now a study by the moving conglomerate United Van Lines is showing an opposite trend. People are moving back to Massachusetts, particularly from California.
…a much-watched migration report by United Van Lines shows that, for the first time since 1987, Massachusetts last year actually saw more people moving into the state than moving out.
United’s data was consistent with preliminary U.S. Census figures, according to a Northeastern University expert.
One major moving company in the Boston area even said it’s seeing people packing up in California and heading back to Massachusetts, as the Golden State reels from the subprime-mortgage disaster and economic meltdown.
“It’s something we haven’t seen in a while,” reported James Sullivan, president of Canton’s Humboldt Moving, a United Van Lines agent. “We’ve personally moved a lot of people from California to Massachusetts. A lot of that (Silicon Valley) stuff has kind of died down.”
The reason, according to experts, is that Massachusetts’ shaky economy is still slightly better off than the economies of many other states.
But, the experts cautioned, the net increase in those moving here last year could also be attributed to the difficulty people in the Bay State are having selling their homes due to the tough real-estate market.
The recent battering of 401(k) retirement plans, caused by this past fall’s near-collapse of Wall Street, may also be forcing many recent retirees to temporarily hold off on moving plans.
Still, Barry Bluestone, dean of the School of Public Policy at Northeastern University, said the United data closely tracks what he’s seeing in U.S. Census figures. The state’s “out migration” of residents has slowed significantly in recent years, he said.
“United’s numbers show almost exactly the same (migration) trend,” said Bluestone.
So take that, California.
And take that, New Hampshire, Massachusetts’ pesky northern neighbor that’s seen dramatic increases in population in recent decades – thanks partly to many Bay Staters moving to the Granite State.
United said of the 8,820 residential moving assignments it handled last year for Massachusetts, about 52 percent of them were residents packing up their belongings and heading to the Bay State.
The state hasn’t seen a positive “in-migration” year since 1987, during the height of that decade’s “Massachusetts Miracle” economy – which later went bust, according to United data.
The United Van Lines study notes that people are moving back from New Hampshire. How could this be given that NH is a tax haven? Could it be that the NH paradigm is limited, given that the state is controlled by tax-happy Democrats?