Moving out: See which 20 states people most want to leave

Published: Monday, May 5 2014 10:32 p.m. MDT

Moving from state to state may not be a realistic option for many American families, but that doesn't stop them from dreaming.

According to a recent Gallup poll, an average of 33 percent of state residents want to move to another state, even if they won't or can't act on that desire. Motivation for moving can range from things like work and weather to family/friends, quality of life, schools, cost of living and/or taxes, Gallup reports.

Here's a look at the 20 states with the highest percentage of people who are interested in moving away, along with a look at where Utah falls in that ranking.

Sources: Gallup poll: Residents wanting to leave, Gallup: Top places to live, 2014 State Business Tax Climate Index, U.S. News: Best High School rankings
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Salt Lake City, UT

I absolutely believe that those who hate living in Utah because of lifestyle and religion, should honestly move. I don't think I'd move to Scarsdale, New York and complain about Jewish people. On the flip side, I don't think I'd move to San Francisco and complain about the lifestyle there either.

Love it or leave it, folks. No one is forcing you to stay here.

liberty or ...?
Ogden, UT

Scientist you missed the point of what USAlover meant. Its not that we don't want you to move here if your non LDS I welcome you but I for one LDS member get sick and tired(by the way I'm not from Utah)of non LDS people moving here and they always say they come for the family atmosphere, the moral standards, the patriotism,the good neighbors, the great business and economic oppurtunities, the lower crime rates, less gang violence etc, positive role models for their kids etc.and then complain about how it would all be great accept for the dang Mormons and their beliefs that made the communities this way in the first place. Thats what I personally resent.Like Californians who move to AZ, TX, UT, ID,WY trying to flee the problems in CA and the first thing they do is try and change it to be like the mess they just left almost like a modern version of the black plague. All I'm saying is don't bite the hand that feeds you and respect the culture of your neighbors as much as you want us to respect you.

American Fork, UT

I, too, don't mind it here. The view is great, I respect the neighbours, keep the yard clean and generally keep to myself. Plus I'm gone a lot. I am who I am, however, and generally speaking that is not who anybody else is. Most people are OK with it, some a bit bewildered, and the odd one needs to hear the above arguments rephrased. If you don't like me here, leave.

truth in all its forms
henderson, NV

I don't see why everyone is suggesting people want to move, or should move out of Utah. All I see are positive comments about Utah in the comments...

Park City, Ut

Where's California? I'm always hearing how everyone wants to leave California... from people who don't live in California that is LOL.

Sally Smiles-a-Lot
Vernal, UT

I love living in Utah. I grew up here, and I have lived other places. I lived in Texas for a couple of years, and I enjoyed it there. Nice people. And our family lived in northern Nevada for 16 years. We loved it there. Rural area, small town, great place to raise our family. Now we are back in Utah, family is raised and scattered between NV, Utah, and Texas, and one living in Korea. I see NV is high on the list of places people want to leave. I'm not sure why. No tax on groceries, no income tax, not over-regulated, at least where we lived. I think I would want to leave if I lived in Las Vegas or Reno, however. I think you can learn to love wherever you live...or you can hate it. Depends a lot on the individual.

Fuaamotu, Tonga

I think Abraham Lincoln put it best when he said, "Most people will be about as happy as they decide to be." You can choose to be miserable about your circumstances or learn to make lemonade with all those lemons.

I've lived in several states and throughout various other parts of the world. Nothing is ever perfectbut almost no challenge can't be overcome.

Orem, UT

I love living in northern Utah except in December, January and February. I don't ski, so that's when I miss my growing up years in Scottsdale, AZ. However, as the population grows, we are slowly becoming laden with the problems we see in other high population areas. I'm LDS, but love to see good non-LDS people moving into the state. It only makes the state better

Burley, ID

I agree with Sally Smiles-a-Lot. Stay out of Vegas and Reno and the rest of the State of Nevada is actually a pretty nice place to live.

If you want real solitude move to Austin, Nevada (dead center of the State). 2010 population 192. It is located on the western slopes of the Toiyabe Range at an elevation of 6,605 feet (2,013 m). Nighttime view there is incredible; especially if you go to the highest point in the town.

However, if you don't want to live in a rural area, Carson City, Nevada would be my choice as the best place to live. Population 55,000, but it feels more like 20,000. Climate is great. You can actually leave your windows and door open at night and the only thing that might come in is the occasional moth (no mosquitoes).

A few years ago, I spent a month in Carson City and thoroughly enjoyed my time there.

Gene Poole

I've lived all over the USA and in several foreign countries. All of them having wonderful reasons to live in each. The whole Earth is a gift from God. So what's so good about Utah? Personal and business reasons make it tops for my family. My affection for the LDS Church and deep commitment and involvement can be accomplished anywhere in the world now. My work can be performed anywhere. What makes a difference for me and my family is the kindness, congeniality, courtesy, compassion that we feel here in greater magnitude. The lower crime rate. The sense of safety - to be able to go for a walk at night and not worry. The cleanliness of the community we notice everywhere we walk or drive. Simply, it feels like it used to feel in many places but no longer does. We moved back to the USA from abroad and prayed about where to be. The overwhelming answer was Utah. Is Utah for everyone. Simple answer - no. It is a place that has higher community standards and a more peaceful lifestyle. If you are looking for that then Utah is home.

Harrison Bergeron
Holladay , UT

@ So-CalAggie

Californians are voting with their feet. According to the Manhattan Institute, California has lost a net average of 225,000 residents per year for the past ten years.

Many of them live in my neighborhood. Several years ago, I politely asked one family what they missed about California. I was anticipating an answer such as the beach, weather, Disneyland, etc. But, after a long thoughtful pause, all they could come up with was "In and Out Burger." I guess In-and-Out has now followed their patrons here.

Durham, NC

I'm from Utah... have family and kids living there now. In many ways I would love to come back... but when I look at the standard of living I have in NC versus what I would get in Utah, it is a hard sell. It's not a financial thing, it is how people live thing. I live on a large wooded lot - can't even see my neighbors behind me. In the summer, my neighbors to the sides disappear. I have looked for similar sized lots in Utah, and they simply don't exist in any of the urban areas. It's not the trees, its the space. I don't need to get into my car to get to open space....

In many ways urban planning in Utah is doing great (transit and transport), and in other way, it is horrible. Drive state street between American Fork and Provo and you wonder if there was any planning at all. Same with point of the mounting to SLC. Its just a jumble of ugly development.

For me, that is the deal breaker. Otherwise I love my home state, and the people that live there.

Mark from Montana
Davis County, UT

Count me among those that think Montana is the best place to live. I have lived in Utah, Florida, Rhode Island and Washington. I left Montana for business reasons and would move back in about .64 seconds given the chance. Yes there are issues and no place is perfect, but Montana is close. A good friend always refers to the state as 'God's country' and he is right on the money.

Having said that, there are many great things about Utah. The way people drive in Utah is not one of the positives.

Salt Lake City, UT

USA Lover; This is my home, I was born here, why don't you move if I bother you so much.

Woodland, CA

I looked over the list twice. I did not see California in the top 20 states where people wanted to move out. I did see Utah on the list. People move out of California to be near to family, a job change, needing to be in a lower cost of living, and etc. People also move back to CA as the business gets better. Right now more people are moving in then out. However, I am at a lost as to why Utahans are ragging on California.

Frozen Chosen
Savage, MN

I lived in Utah for 25 years and enjoyed my time there for the most part. However, I now live in Minnesota and while I may move someday it probably won't be back to Utah. The traffic is nasty and the homes - be they starter or mansions - are crammed right next to each other! Why do developers do that in Utah? Greed, I suppose.

Also, Utah is a desert.


It's comical that Utah's leaders are proud of it's 4.1% unemployment rate. It near the bottom when it comes to low wages and has a multitude of underemployed people. The LDS church is responsible for feeding a lot of Utahans or there would be a crisis. I think people in Utah would rather make a decent wage to put food on the table than receive help from the LDS Church. Utah can have a low unemployment rate when McDonalds hire 3 part-time workers with no benefits instead of a full-time worker. Very misleading statistics.

Sunnyvale, CA

Yeah, most everyone does want to leave (or is leaving or has left) California. It is a wonderful state in basically every way--but it is so highly expensive, and there's government overreach here that is annoying (and ultimately costly).

Beaver Native
St. George, UT

I disagree with the love it or leave it attitude of some LDS Utahns. I love Utah and I'm active LDS, but too many times those active in the Church exclude those of other faiths, sometimes intentionally and sometimes unintentionally. If Utahns are as friendly as we claim to be, we would befriend all our neighbors, regardless of their faith. If they reject our friendship because of our faith, that's their problem. But if we fail to try to befriend them, it's our problem. Too often we include in our circle of friends only those we associate with in church activities and leave the rest feeling lonely and outcast. If we truly lived our religion, we would at least offer our friendship.

Provo, UT

Plenty of good Jobs around if you are in the right industry. Tech + business anyone?

Not McD's

Sunnyvale, CA

Look, clearly, the most interesting and relevant point in this list is that 70% of Utahns think their state is the best or one of the best possible states to live in. That is actually the 3rd highest percentage overall (and numbers 1 and 2 were tied). So even if some people want to leave Utah for whatever reasons--Utahns seem to think their state is most preferable at a higher rate than almost any other state (higher than in 47 states).

The Scientist
Provo, UT

I'm really tired of the "love it or leave it" attitude of (mostly LDS) Utahns. Not very inclusive. Not very welcoming. Nobody is perfect, least of all Utahns (and Mormons), so why turn on those who point out your flaws and try to run them out on a rail? Such an attitude manifests insecurity.


Anyone find it interesting that of the 22 states mentioned 60% have Republican governors?


Love the geographic location, the views & outdoor activities. Dislike the local culture. Every time I hear 'if you don't like it you can leave' I dislike it more.

Tooele, UT

I want to leave Utah because of the inversion. I wouldn't mind moving to smaller-town Utah, but it's too far from the kind of jobs we need. I'd also really like to get back with some "mission-field" mormons... they are worlds nicer and more open-minded.

george of the jungle
goshen, UT

to restore any thing you have to clean out the trash, but one mans trash is another treasures.

Sandy, UT

I recently moved to SLC to be closer to family. We're non-LDS, but have been in the valley for three generations. I absolutely love Utah, and I have great respect for Mormons and their values. But, even as a very experienced and successful professional (marketing), I'm finding it VERY difficult to even get interviews for positions I'm highly qualified for. It's very discouraging. I want to contribute to this community, but there are so many closed doors. It's becoming clear that I may have to abandon my 20+ year career (depriving SLC of my skills and experience) and just take some Mc'job if I want to stay.

metamora, IL

I am LDS, but grew up in Minnesota. Lived in Utah for 10 years. That was enough for my liking. And I am not surprised by Illinois being #1. If we were in a position to leave, we would. I'm tired of Chicago and corrupt politicians controlling everything that happens here. Gov. Quinn is now under investigation for mishandling state funds. Can you say three consecutive governors to serve time?

Curt Conklin
Provo, UT

Hey folks, what city, pray tell, is the greatest city in the world to live in? According to objective critera developed by Forbes and The Economist, its Melbourne Australia! But don't tell anyone, last thing we need is an invasion of Yanquis! If you want to know why, investigate yourself. HINT: weather, transportation, medicine, education, sports, art ... Melbourne has it all.

Granite Rock
Farmington, UT

Annalisa, if you look at the list carefully, you'll see that, out of 50 all together, 31 states have more people that want to leave than Utah. Only 17 states have more people who want to stay than in Utah. The list is poorly numbered, and confusing.

Salt Lake City, UT

Born here, raised mostly in SF Bay area, lived several states. Life is what you make it. Sure neighbors make it nicer or worse, crime and a multitude of things please or displease us. Look for the positive, deal with the negative as best you can. Or move to where the pluses out weigh the minuses.

Some of us seem to gravitate to small town USA but want to be close to major urban centers, others seem to like the same things and viola! small town is gone and we have suburbia. What we didn't want.

I suggest, make friends a best you can, weed our own garden first before we tell others how to manage theirs. It's a great country, enjoy it. We won't last forever so don't sweat the small stuff.

Richland, WA

I grew up in Utah, but during our married life of over 40 years we have lived in Colorado, Maryland, Japan, Virginia, Nebraska, California, Utah, Idaho and Washington State. During our five years in California, many of our neighbors moved to Utah, and the net flow between CA and UT has been in Utah's favor in each of the twenty years since we left. We hope to return to Utah when I retire in a few years. Our family liked many things about each of the places we've lived, but Utah has more of the things we want to do when I am not spending 40-50 hours a week at the office and teaching on the side.

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