Every year, United Van Lines releases its list of which states saw the most inbound and outbound moves. Illinois topped the list of people moving away (643% of all moves were outbound), and Vermont topped the list of people moving in (68% of all moves were inbound). Overall, it seems people are moving more west or further south.
Ohio and Kentucky both made the list for outbound moves, with 7th and 8th place, respectively. But why? According to United Van Lines, the top 5 reasons included:
- Jobs located outside of the state (65% in Ohio, 54% in Kentucky)
- Retirement (19.2% in Ohio and in Kentucky)
- Relocation for family (13.9% in Ohio, 25.7% in Kentucky)
- Lifestyle changes (6.6% in Ohio, 7.9% in Kentucky)
- Health reasons (3.8% in Ohio, 4.5% in Kentucky)
Most of Ohio’s outbound population was age 34 or younger, whereas Kentucky saw the highest spike for people over the age of 65. In both states, households with an average annual income of $150,000 were the most likely to leave.
The fact that high-income households – and young people – are leaving both states should be worrying. Aging states with lower incomes often demand more assistance from state and federal governments, which can increase taxes and slow down development. As it turns out, though, our neighbors are fining some pretty ingenious ways to increase revenue, and make Ohio and Kentucky look more attractive to outsiders.
A new way of experiencing “coal country”
The San Francisco Chronicle recently reported on the ways Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia have been reinventing themselves, both as tourist destinations and as cultural centers: “A Shawnee, Ohio, event re-enacted a Prohibition rally outside the real-life former speakeasy…. Ohio’s Winding Road takes visitors back to the birth of the U.S. labor movement.” Ohio has also seen a pickup in international tourism. Cleveland now has two flights directly to and from Iceland, and Great Lakes USA has worked with international students and travelers seeking a more “authentic” American experience.
While Ohio has sought to create new opportunities in and around its towns – the Chronicle writer called it “Rust Belt Chic” – Kentucky has largely focused on ecotourism. “In Corbin, Kentucky, they’re constructing an elk-viewing area on a former mountaintop mine,” as well as an “ecology education site.” The goal is to bring in and educate tourists and wildlife enthusiasts, who can see how changes in the mountain top’s structure has created an ideal habitat for elk, deer, bear and birds. In Eastern Kentucky, the “More to Morehead” campaign has helped generate enough income to make Rowan County the 5th most visited area of Appalachia. Visitors can explore the lake and the local woods, but also pop in for a cup of coffee or shop at the boutiques downtown.
Why tourism matters to all of us
As anyone who lives in a tourist destination can tell you, visitors help the local economy. They generate revenue, increase the need for workers, and help lower residents’ annual tax bill. All of this helps local and state governments fund social programs, fix crumbling infrastructure, and create new spaces to be enjoyed by locals and tourists alike. It’s a win/win.
But there is another benefit to this influx of revenue outside of taxes: health. United Van Lines listed health reasons in last place for both Ohio and Kentucky – and it’s no wonder. Coal Country has long had a reputation for poor water supplies, dirty air and touch soil (despite evidence to the contrary for that last one). More revenue means better clean-up, and better healthcare, too. Local clinics and hospitals often see a share of that revenue, which means they can increase their reach. Rural areas have been especially hard-hit when it comes to access to care. The more revenue our states being in, the better chance at increasing that access.
At Crandall & Pera Law, we do more than serve the community in Ohio and Kentucky. We live here. We raised our children here. We have a vested interest in the success of our communities, and look forward to seeing all the ways life can improve here.
Our firm offers comprehensive representation to residents and visitors alike. If you were injured by another driver, because of an act of medical malpractice, while visiting a worksite, or through any act of negligence, we want to help. Please call our Kentucky team at 877-686-8879, our Ohio team at 877-686-8879, or fill out our contact form to learn more.