Fake news is a problem, but superficial news, or superficial analysis of news reports is a problem, too. For example, Fred Dicker, a columnist for the New York Post and the paper's state editor, tweeted this today: "A study? Just look at Upstate: Study shows Americans flock to states with less burdensome taxes."
Then he linked to this study, which is from United Van Lines, which does an annual movers' survey, showing (according to moving companies) the top inbound states and top outbound states. How well the data from the moving companies corresponds with, say, Census data is one question. But it is an interesting survey.
The top inbound state for 2016 was South Dakota, overtaking Oregon, which held the top spot for the previous three years, according to the moving survey. South Dakota has the 16th lowest state and local tax burden, out of 50 states plus the District of Columbia, according to this WalletHub survey. How accurate is the WalletHub survey? I don't know. It was the first one I found to compare overall tax burdens among all the states. But that is another issue that has to be considered when making the sort of sweeping statement that Dicker does. For example, some well-known organizations compare tax burdens by state specifically for retirees — like this one from Kiplinger's.
If you look at the Kiplinger's map, you'll notice that Vermont and Oregon are listed among the 10 least friendly to retirees on taxes. But Vermont is No. 2 on the movers' list of most popular states to move into, and Oregon is No. 3. So, obviously, taxes may be a factor, but they're not the only factor for people who are moving from one state to another.
In a general sense, there is some truth to Dicker's assertion, judging from the tax burden rankings on WalletHub. If you find the tax burden rankings for the top 10 "inbound" states on the movers' survey, most of them are in the top half for lightest tax burdens. The average ranking is 16. If you do the same for the top 10 "outbound" states, you get an average tax burden ranking of 38.
So, it does appear that tax burden is a factor, especially in determining which states are most popular to move out of. It appears to be less of a factor in determining which states are the most popular to move into. Of the top 10 "inbound" states, only one — Nevada — is also in the top 10 for lightest overall tax burden. Vermont, the No. 2 "inbound" state on the movers' survey, has only the 27th lightest tax burden, according to WalletHub.
The point is, like most things, it's complicated. New York City, which has a bunch of extra taxes just for city residents, in a state that is already highly taxed, has been adding hundreds of thousands of residents. The city's population has risen 4.5 percent since 2010, according to the Census Bureau, and now stands at more than 8.5 million, an all-time high. The city's rate of population increase over that time beats Alaska's (just under 4 percent), and Alaska has the lowest tax burden of all states, according to WalletHub.