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Where Rich Generation Xers Are Moving

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rich gen xers moving
Making a decision to move to a particular place involves taking into account many factors, including career opportunities and what mortgage payments might look like. But does the choice of a particular locale say anything about trends across a specific socioeconomic class and generation? While wealthy people of Generation X, for example, are headed down South in general, Florida is the most popular state for them in particular, with a net inflow of approximately 9,000 from 2015 to 2016. Meanwhile, New York saw almost as many wealthy Gen Xers leave within that same time span.

To figure out where else wealthy Gen Xers are moving, we looked at the inflow and outflow to and from each state of people ages 35 to 54 with adjusted gross incomes (AGI) of at least $100,000. For more information on our data sources and how we put it all together to create our final rankings, read the Data and Methodology section below.

Key Findings
  • Wealthy Generation Xers are moving to the American South. Six of the states in our top 10 are in the South. The top five is predominantly Southern states, with Washington State as the only exception.
  • The Northeast isn’t popular with the wealthy of Generation X. On the whole, more Gen Xers are leaving the Northeast than moving there. Four states in the Northeast New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and New York are in the bottom 10.

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.

6. Colorado

Colorado is the second state in our top 10 that’s not located in the South. The Centennial State, which is also popular among rich millennials, saw a net inflow of 1,749 wealthy Gen Xers from 2015 to 2016. In total, 8,109 people aged 35-54 with adjusted gross incomes of $100,000 and above moved to Colorado during that period of time. Another 6,360 people of that generation left the state.

7. Oregon

Oregon narrowly ranks below Colorado with a net inflow of 1,733 rich people of Generation X. In total, 4,682 people aged 35 to 54 and with adjusted gross incomes of at least $100,000 moved into the state from 2015 to 2016. In that same period of time, 2,949 wealthy individuals of that demographic moved away.

8. Tennessee

Though Tennessee gained 6,007 rich Gen Xers from 2015 to 2016, it also saw 4,294 of that demographic of people move out of the state. This resulted in a total net inflow of 1,713 individuals, making Tennessee the eighth-most popular state to which wealthy Generation Xers are moving. And there’s more good news for Gen Xers who have made the move: Tennessee is also one of the best states for an early retirement.

9. Georgia

Another Southern state takes the ninth spot on our list of the states to which rich Generation Xers are moving. From 2015 to 2016, the Peach State saw a net inflow of 1,302 people between the ages of 35 and 54 with incomes of $100,000 and above. More specifically, 8,908 Gen Xers moved into Georgia (roughly the same as the total inflow of rich Gen Xers to Washington State during the same time span) and 7,606 Gen Xers moved out.

10. Arizona

Arizona rounds out our top 10. It is the second state located in the Southwest that’s in our top 10. While 5,413 wealthy Gen Xers left Arizona from 2015 to 2016, a total of 6,650 wealthy Gen Xers moved to the state. This resulted in a net inflow of 1,237 people aged 35 to 54 with incomes of $100,000 and above.

Data and Methodology

To determine where rich Generation Xers are moving, we looked at data from all 50 states plus the District of Columbia. We defined rich Generation Xers as individuals ages 35 to 54 who have adjusted gross incomes of $100,000 and above. More specifically, we looked at the following two metrics:

  • Inflow of rich Generation Xers:  This is the number of individuals between the ages of 35 and 54 with adjusted gross incomes of at least $100,000 who moved into the state. Data comes from the IRS and is for 2015-2016.
  • Outflow of rich Generation Xers: This is the number of individuals between the ages of 35 and 54 with adjusted gross incomes of at least $100,000 who moved out of the state. Data comes from the IRS and is for 2015-2016.

We then subtracted the outflow from the inflow of rich Generation Xers to determine each state’s net inflow. We ranked the states from highest net inflow of Generation Xers to lowest.

Tips for Getting Financially Ready for a Move
  • Get expert advice. Moving is a big and oftentimes costly  decision. To plan ahead for upcoming expenses and a potentially varied cost of living in your new location, it may be helpful to talk to a financial advisor. A financial advisor can help you map out your priorities and determine what’s feasible for your budget. Finding the right financial advisor who fits your needs doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that will help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • To rent or to buy? One big decision that you’ll need to plan ahead for is whether you are going to rent or buy in your new location. If you do decide you want to buy a home, it’s important to know before you start shopping how much home you can afford — and then start saving sooner than later.

Questions about our study? Contact us at press@smartasset.com

Photo credit: iStock.com/akurtz

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