Home Great Great Migration: Wealthy Gen X-ers Are Moving To These States 

Great Migration: Wealthy Gen X-ers Are Moving To These States 


Baby boomers, ages 55-75, have long been migrating to Southern states as they enter retirement years. Now a new study shows wealthy Generation X, ages 40-54, are doing much of the same.

SmartAsset.com, a financial technology company that operates a website that offers financial advice, published a new study reveals how wealthy Gen X-ers are moving to Southern states.

According to the study, six of the top ten states where wealthy Gen X-ers are moving to the South, with Washington as the outlier.

Northeast has become widely unpopular with wealthy Gen X-ers. Most of the outflow is coming from Northeast states, four of which are New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and New York.

To determine the relocation of rich Gen X-ers, SmartAsset examined inflow and outflow data of people ages 35 to 54 with adjusted gross incomes of at least $100,000.

Top 5 States For Inflows:

1. Florida

More rich Generation Xers are headed to Florida than to any other state in our study. From 2015 to 2016, the Sunshine State welcomed 20,208 people between the ages of 35 and 54 who earn $100,000 and above. Our data shows that 11,110 moved out of the state within that same time period. This resulted in a total net inflow of 9,098 Generation Xers to Florida.

2. Texas

Texas ranks as the second most popular spot to which wealthy Gen Xers are moving. Though Texas had a lower net inflow than Florida, at 22,682 the total number of wealthy Generation Xers who moved into Texas was higher than the number who moved into Florida. Our data shows that 16,504 people between the ages 35 and 54 with adjusted gross incomes of $100,000 and above left Texas during that time span, resulting in a net inflow of 6,178 people.

3. North Carolina

North Carolina ranks third on our list of states where rich Generation Xers are moving, with a net inflow of 2,622 people from 2015 to 2016, which is roughly 29% of the net inflow of our top-ranking state, Florida. In total, 10,299 wealthy people aged 35 to 54 moved to the Tar Heel State during that time span, and 7,677 moved away.

4. Washington

Washington State is the only state in the top five that’s not in the South. The Pacific Northwestern state welcomed an inflow of 8,905 rich Gen Xers from 2015 to 2016. During that time period, 6,591 individuals between the ages of 35 and 54 moved out of the state. This resulted in a net inflow of 2,314 people, making Washington State the fourth-most popular state to which wealthy Generation Xers are moving.

5. South Carolina

With a net inflow of almost 500 people less than its northern neighbor, South Carolina saw a net inflow of 2,142 rich Generation Xers from 2015 to 2016. According to our data, 5,291 people moved into the state. Another 3,149 individuals between the ages of 35-54 and with an AGI of at least $100,000 moved away.

Here’s the complete list:

SmartAsset didn’t discuss the cause behind the Gen-Xer exodus from the Northeast. We think it could have something to do with the removal of state and local tax (SALT) deductions, disproportionately affecting high-tax, or Democrat, states (in the Northeast).

This has direct implications on regional housing dynamics as property tax also falls under the cap. Capping the deduction will mean reduced tax incentives for homeownership. Indirectly, households will want to live in lower-income tax states (in the South).

The chart below from Bank of America shows a heat map for average amount claimed under SALT deductions, with redder states farther above $10k and greener states below. The Northeast and West coast – traditionally liberal bastions and, according to some, explicitly targeted by the Trump administration – generally have higher average amounts and will feel most of the pain. Meanwhile, the West and South have lower average amounts and so those housing markets will be less impacted.

And so it seems SALT deductions could be responsible for large outflows of wealthy Gen X-ers in the Northeast to the South. This trend will likely gain momentum in the coming decade. And by 2040, it will be time for millennials to start their great migration during their retirement years.