The vast majority of Alabamians aren’t interested in moving out of the state, according to a new Gallup survey.
When asked, “Regardless of whether you WILL move, if you had the opportunity, would you LIKE to move to another state, or would you rather remain in your current state?” 69 percent of Alabamians said they would prefer to stay in Alabama the Beautiful, while only 31 percent said they would like to leave.
The national average was 65 percent wanting to stay and 33 percent wanting to leave, so Alabamians are more likely to want to stay in their home state than most Americans.
As a matter of fact, when compared to many states, Alabamians are MUCH more likely to want to stay.
In President Obama’s home state of Illinois, more people would actually prefer to leave (50%) than stay (49%). The same goes for Connecticut, where 49 percent would like to leave and only 48 want to stay.
Overall, Alabama ranked 18th in the country when it comes to its citizens wanting to stick around even if offered the opportunity to leave.
Here’s Gallup’s explanation for why this data is especially important:
State leaders have important reasons for wanting to see their state populations grow rather than shrink. A growing population usually means more commerce, more economic vitality, and a bigger tax base to pay for state services. A shrinking population not only hurts government coffers, but can weaken a state politically by virtue of the potential loss of U.S. House members through redistricting every 10 years.
Gallup’s 50-state poll finds some states far better positioned than others to retain residents, and thus possibly attract new ones. This is evident in the wide variation in the percentages of state residents who say they would leave their state if they could, as well as in the percentages who say they plan to move in the next year.
Nevada, Illinois, Maryland, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, and Connecticut all appear particularly vulnerable to losing population in the coming few years: high percentages of their residents say they would leave if they could, and larger-than-average percentages say they are at least somewhat likely to do so in the coming year. At the other end of the spectrum, Texas, Minnesota, and Maine have little to fear. Residents of these states are among the least likely to want to leave and few are planning to leave in the next 12 months.
Gallup also found some similarities among the state’s at the bottom of the list.
If these states sound familiar to readers of Gallup’s previous 50-state poll articles, it’s because several of them also appear at the top or bottom of the states for resident satisfaction with state taxes, state government, and overall perceptions of how their state compares to others as a place to live.
Follow Cliff on Twitter @Cliff_Sims