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Mike Lilley at Sunlight Policy Center of New Jersey has a response to Gov. Phil Murphy’s claim that New Jersey “has never been hotter than it is right now as a place for families to come and raise their kids and for businesses to locate. We’re growing.”
Actually, according to Lilley’s new report, we’re shrinking because New Jersey has one of the worst out-migration problems in America. Here’s the data:
- New Jersey lost a net -64,231 people to other states, 4th-worst in the nation.
- Retirees continue to flee New Jersey.
- Wealthy residents continue to migrate to other states, taking their wealth with them.
- Over the past two years, New Jersey’s population has actually decreased.
Lilley tabulated his findings using different measures of domestic migration among states from the Tax Foundation, the Census Bureau, United Van Lines, U-Haul moving surveys, and the National Association of Realtors. He calls the results the “Sunlight Migration Index.” This Index places New Jersey 47th out of 50 states, leading to a net loss of population:
Unfortunately, outmigration has been a long-term trend for New Jersey. For the 2010-19 decade, New Jersey lost a net -491,000 people to domestic outmigration, 4th-worst in the nation. During this decade, New Jersey had a small overall population gain because high levels of foreign immigration cancelled out domestic outmigration. But that has changed: during both 2021 and 2022 – the years following Murphy’s pandemic lockdowns — New Jersey has seen an absolute decline in population: -0.14% in 2021 and -0.1% in 2022.
It’s just people: NJ is losing wealth as well. In-migrants only have about two-thirds the income of out-migrants, says Lilley, so “departing New Jerseyans took a net $24.6 billion with them from 2010-19…There are more than two high-earners [making more than $100,000] leaving for every one coming in… These are the facts, Gov. Murphy, and we ignore them at our peril.”
The report, an update to Lilley’s earlier report called “Beware the Downward Spiral,” concludes,
As with so many of New Jersey’s long-term problems, Murphy apparently hopes to be long gone when the reckoning comes. Rather than address his state’s most difficult issues, Murphy is content to be a status quo governor, taking care of his government union supporters and his own political ambitions. New Jersey looks like a mere stepping-stone in Murphy’s political career, nothing more. Meanwhile, back in the real world, people and wealth continue to flee the state.