John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
Everybody wants to get out of Illinois and Connecticut, it seems, and nobody wants to leave Montana.
Over the course of six months last year, Gallup pollsters called up hundreds of Americans to ask a simple question: "Regardless of whether you will move, if you had the opportunity, would you like to move to another state, or would you rather remain in your current state?"
The results of this effort do not shed a nice light on Illinois or Connecticut. Half of the folks that Gallup surveyed indicated they wished to move out of the former, and 49 percent said they really wanted to truck it away from the latter. Other states high up in the get-me-out-of-here department include Rhode Island, New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts, suggesting there's something amiss in New England.
Conversely, people were extremely content not moving out of Montana, Hawaii (duh), and Maine, the latter of which throws a wrench into the theory that lousy winter weather is behind the Northeast's itchy legs. To a slightly lesser degree, proud state loyalty also exists in Oregon, New Hampshire, Texas, Colorado, and Minnesota.
Of course, this is all wishful thinking: Gallup also asked if people were really going to move in the next year, and on a national average only 6 percent indicated "yes." Nearly three-quarters of the survey-takers said it was "not likely at all" they'd escape their home state.
There's a big and contentious thread over at Reddit on the methodology behind this poll and the reasons underlining the desire to move. (Montana comes off as a paradise, interestingly enough.) Gallup breaks it down this way:
Those saying it is at least somewhat likely they will move were asked to say why, in their own words. The biggest factor residents give for planning to move is for work or business reasons -- the 50-state average is 31%. This is followed by family or other social reasons (19%), weather or location (11%), and then seeking a better quality of life or change (9%).
Map created by Gallup