| October 1, 2013

Income is flowing out of Oklahoma

“Economists have long studied migration between the states because migration is the ultimate expression of ‘voting with your feet,’” OCPA economists J. Scott Moody and Wendy P Warcholik write. “In other words, more people moving into a state is a good sign of social and economic progress, whereas more people leaving a state is not a good sign.”

Over the last two decades Oklahoma has experienced a healthy net in-migration of people. Disturbingly, though, “despite the influx of people, income has been flowing out of Oklahoma — including during a few years when more people moved in than moved out — suggesting that out-migrants had higher-than-average incomes than in-migrants. Between 1995 and 2009, at least $831,553,000 (not adjusted for inflation) left the state.”

OCPA’s findings are consistent with what Travis H. Brown has found over at “How Money Walks,” a useful data tool which I commend to your attention. Moreover, the National Center for Policy Analysis recently unveiled a state tax calculator which lets you determine how much more (or less) disposable income you would have, as well as how much more (or less) wealth you could accumulate for your children, if you moved to another state. I urge you to visit

With Kansas now committed to phasing out its income tax, Oklahoma is on its way to becoming an income-tax sandwich. Hardly a recipe for stanching the outflow of money.

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