It Shouldn't Surprise You That More People Are Leaving Maryland Than Coming

By Zoe Sagalow
Capital News Service

Vehicles head north on the Baltimore Beltway, I-695, north of Baltimore City. Source: Flickr

For as long as the United States has existed, people have moved between states in search of opportunity.

In 2013 slightly more people left Maryland than moved to the state, according to a Capital News Service analysis of IRS tax filing data that tracks migration.

Maryland saw a net reduction in population of less than one percent -- .26 percent -- between 2012 and 2013, CNS found.

People left Alaska at a higher rate than any other state – a 1.22 percent net loss -- followed by New York, with a .72 percent loss.

North Dakota saw the largest gain, with a 1.63 percent net increase in population, followed by Colorado, with a 0.91 percent increase.

Economists said the change in Maryland's population between 2012 and 2013 was in line with fluctuations seen in years past.

Other States Losing People at Higher Rate Than Maryland

Eleven other states saw a higher rate of net population loss between 2012 and 2013 when compared with Maryland.

Neighbors Virginia and Washington, D.C., had slightly lower rates of net population loss. Daraius Irani, chief economist at Towson University's Regional Economic Studies Institute, said it's common for people to move between the three states.

In Maryland, Leaving Baltimore, Going to Charles Co.

In 2013, Charles County had Maryland's largest net percentage increase in population and Baltimore City had the largest net decrease.

Charles County's access to water and proximity to D.C. could explain its popularity, Irani said. Families often leave Baltimore for the suburbs when their children are in fourth grade, giving them a year to transition before starting middle school, he said.

What Explains Maryland's Migration Trends


A U-Haul truck in a driveway.
Source: Wikipedia Commons

The IRS migration data shows how many people are coming and going -- but not why they move. It's hard to say exactly why more people are leaving Maryland than coming from the IRS data.

Benjamin Orr, executive director of the Maryland Center on Economic Policy, said other research has shown that the main reasons are: family, career, retirement and weather. "Those are all far ahead of taxes as the reason why people move," he said.