Missouri’s economy has grown at a slower pace over the past decade than every state in the nation, with the exception of Michigan. Job growth also has lagged. In this essay, we look at several data sources to see whether this unimpressive economic track record is reflected in another indicator of economic success: migration. It seems reasonable to argue that in relatively bad economic conditions individuals will, if able, move to areas offering more jobs, higher incomes, or even more favorable tax climates. Relying on data sources as varied as moving companies to the Census Bureau and the IRS, our evidence reveals that, especially since 2007, more of Missouri’s residents have relocated out of the state than others have moved in. If a greater proportion of those individuals leaving the state are in higher income brackets or are more educated, this will have important and unpleasant consequences for Missouri’s future economic growth.

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About the Author

Rik Hafer
Research Fellow

Rik Hafer is a Show-Me Institute research fellow and a professor of economics and the Director of the Center for Economics and the Environment at Lindenwood University in Saint Charles, Missouri.

Michael Rathbone
Policy Researcher
Michael Rathbone was a policy researcher at the Show-Me Institute. He is a native of Saint Louis and a 2008 graduate of Saint Louis University, where he earned a bachelor of science degree in biomedical engineering.