Today, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released their 2009 estimates of taxpayer migration. This is important because people “voting with their feet” is a barometer of the health of a state’s economy (and thus, of public policy). Unfortunately, the data does not bring good news for Maine’s economy.
The chart below shows the net migration in Maine of taxpayers (a good proxy for households), exemptions (a good proxy for people) and adjusted gross income (a good proxy for household income). After enjoying strong in-migration in the early 2000’s, that strength rapidly evaporated in 2004 and beyond. Since 2004, households and people have been leaving Maine–losing 5,211 households and 1,552 people. Since 2008, income has joined them with net out-migration of $44 million.
These losses may not sound like much, but when you consider that net natural population increase (births minus deaths) in 2009 were only 789 people then every out-migrant counts. In fact, net out-migration is now why Maine has lost population the last two years according to the most recent Census counts. Of course, it’s difficult to keep people in Maine when there are fewer private sector jobs today than there were ten years ago.