Where the upper middle class moves in 2021


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Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on SmartAsset.com.

Taxpayers with adjusted gross incomes (AGIs) tend to move less than taxpayers with adjusted gross incomes (AGIs). This could be due to various reasons, including that taxpayers in higher income groups often tend to be older or more established in their careers.

Regardless of the reason, IRS migration data shows that nearly 3% of applicants with AGIs between $10,000 and $50,000 moved to a different status from 2018 to 2019.

By comparison, 2.26% of taxpayers between the ages of $100,000 and $200,000 moved across state lines during the same years. Although higher-income earners may be less likely to move states overall, some states still experience relatively large inflows from this demographic.

In this study, SmartAsset takes a closer look at where the $100,000 to $200,000 upper-middle class individuals are moving.

Using IRS immigration data from 2018 to 2019, we compared the inflows and outflows of upper-middle-class people for each state and Washington, DC. We ranked places according to the net migration of upper-middle-income earners.

To learn more about our approach, read the Data and Methodology section at the end. This is our third annual study of the states where upper middle class people relocate. Check out our 2020 edition here.

Here are the countries where upper middle class people are moving in 2021.

1. Florida

St Pete Beach, Florida
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Between 2018 and 2019, there was a net emigration of nearly 19,200 upper-middle-class tax editors to Florida.

As a result, about 1.1 million upper-middle-class people filed in taxes in 2019, which is 12.85% of all Florida applicants.

2. Texas

Dallas, Texas Homes
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With no state income tax, Texas has been a hotspot for upper-middle-class people for the past several years.

Recently, there was a net migration of 8,700 upper-middle-class people to the country from 2018 to 2019.

3. Arizona

Homes in Phoenix, Arizona
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About 17,300 upper-middle-class people moved to Arizona between 2018 and 2019, while about 10,100 people left.

In total, the net emigration of upper-middle-class people was nearly 7,200.

4. North Carolina

Beachfront vacation home in North Carolina
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Between 2018 and 2019, the net immigration of high-income tax employees to North Carolina was 5,395.

As a result, upper-middle-class applicants made up 14.28% of all North Carolina tax preparers in 2019.

5. South Carolina

South Carolina Beach
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South Carolina closely follows North Carolina as a country in which members of the upper middle class move.

From 2018 to 2019, more than 11,600 applicants with AGIs between $100,000 and $200,000 moved to the state, while nearly 6,500 left. In total, net immigration was 5,096.

6. Tennessee

Chattanooga, Tennessee
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Like two of the other states in our top five — Florida and Texas — Tennessee does not tax wages and profits, which means upper-middle-income earners may be able to increase their savings rate.

About 11,200 upper-middle-class people moved to Tennessee between 2018 and 2019, while fewer than 7,800 left. In total, the net emigration of upper-middle-class people was 3,409.

7. Washington

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With a net immigration of 3,321 upper-middle-class people, Washington State has the highest percentage of all the top 10 states on our list where upper-middle-class people move.

According to 2019 IRS data, 19.70% of applicants earn between $100,000 and $200,000 annually.

8. Idaho

Boise, Idaho
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Idaho ranked one place in this year’s study, having ranked seventh in our 2020 study.

However, despite lagging Washington this year, IRS immigration data shows that net immigration of upper-middle-class people to Idaho actually increased between 2017-2018 and 2018-2019.

From 2017 to 2018, there was a net migration of 2,708 upper-middle-class people, compared to a net migration of 2,887 people from 2018 to 2019.

9. Nevada

Mesquite Nevada
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According to 2018-2019 IRS immigration data, about 7,700 upper-middle-class people moved to Nevada while fewer than 5,400 have left.

In total, upper-middle-class net migration to Nevada was 2,360, the ninth highest in our study.

10. Colorado

woman hiking in the mountains
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Colorado concludes our list of the top 10 states where upper-middle-class people move.

More than 14,400 upper-middle-class people moved to the state between 2018 and 2019, while fewer than 12,400 left.

In 2019, more than 18% of tax return holders earned between $100,000 and $200,000, the 12th highest in all 50 states and DC

Data and methodology

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Data for this study comes from the 2018-2019 IRS immigration data. To find where upper-middle-class people go, we found the inflows and outflows of people earning between $100,000 and $200,000 per state and Washington, DC.

We then calculated the net immigration number of upper-middle-class applicants and ranked all 50 states and Washington, D.C., accordingly.

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