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The Bay State — a mecca? Or a place to put in your rearview mirror?

Cars are seen whizzing past on a stretch of the Mass. Pike between the exits of Westfield and Lee in July 2020.Erin Clark/Globe Staff

Statistics on people leaving for other states pale next to how Mass. has grown

Jeff Jacoby’s portrayal of Massachusetts as a “losing team” (“Bye-bye, Bay State,” Opinion, Jan. 5) cites a link to an American Enterprise Institute economist’s report that 45,000 Massachusetts residents have moved from the state in a 15-month period. This “loss” constitutes about 0.6 percent of the population for this window of time.

The bigger picture tells a different story. From 1990 to 2020, our state’s population increased from about 6.2 million to more than 6.9 million, a growth of almost 15 percent. While residents are leaving for other states, newcomers are arriving from Europe, Asia, and Latin America, both to study and to work. (Jacoby notes the influx of foreign immigrants.)


Given new arrivals as well as strong public schools statewide, our population is increasingly young and well-educated, giving us a strong base for future prosperity.

Why would Jacoby overlook the larger picture to focus on a small detail in the demographic landscape? Could it be that he is using the idea of a “losing” state to imply that taxes should be dropped to retain a tiny percentage of residents?

The way I view the data, Massachusetts is on the winning team. Don’t let Jacoby persuade you otherwise.

Anne Wheelock

Jamaica Plain

If it’s taxes they’re fleeing, then good riddance to them

You can’t blame someone for moving to another state because they prefer the weather or the politics. But if people are leaving Massachusetts for Florida and New Hampshire because they want to avoid paying income taxes, as Jeff Jacoby posits in “Bye-bye, Bay State,” it seems like Massachusetts is stronger for their departure. I’m happy to live in a place where fellow residents want to step up and contribute their fair share for the common good.

Fritz Holznagel


He’ll take the outflow if it eases the commute

“Year in, year out,” writes Jeff Jacoby, “tens of thousands of Massachusetts residents leave for good, and their numbers aren’t replenished by newcomers from other states.” Based on the daily traffic slog along Route 2, I-95, and the Mass. Pike, one can only hope this trend continues.


Alan Marks


The livability index, as debated by online readers

Jeff Jacoby’s Jan. 5 column generated nearly 500 comments online. The following is an edited sample:

We have considered moving for childhood education purposes. Always thought the public schools in Boston were supposed to be good, turns out that’s not the case. And the surrounding burbs are just too far a commute for two working parents. Not to mention still insanely expensive. (WashingtonMD)

I hope Jacoby’s Kentucky friend [who moved there from Massachusetts] doesn’t have children in public school or an elderly parent in need of myriad state-provided services. (Jackson2)

Have you lived in Kentucky and experienced its school system, Jackson2? Have you lived in any Southern state? The South, for example, gets a bad rap when education is noted. Just returned from Georgia and was given a tour of new schools and sports facilities offered to the children. Words cannot describe what I saw. I grew up in the Boston area. Loved living outside Boston. But Mass. is no haven, by any means. Wonderful places to live in all 50 states. (JAG49)

I’ll stay in Massachusetts, where I’m certain my voting rights and right to choose will be protected. And I love the way right-wingers tout the lack of an income tax in NH. I own property there, and the property taxes are through the roof. (pdmommy)


People are moving away from blue states and into red states. This has been happening for years, and millions of people choose to do this every year. Liberals can choose to remain in denial about this, or they could do the right thing by looking at why so many people are doing this. It’s not the actions of a few Trumpists; it’s millions of people of all stripes. (User_19801984)

I’d like to know more about the demographics of who is moving. How much of this change is driven by the boomer generation retiring and wanting to spend their golden years in better weather? Is the younger generation moving from Florida, and the (larger) retirement generation moving to sunshine? It would be interesting to see a breakdown. (frostyjack)

Why doesn’t anyone bring up the fact that blue states experiencing net population loss are donor states, sending more in federal taxes than they receive in return? We in civilized states take care of our own, as well as taking care of the states that try to suppress the cost of living by not taking care of their own. Also, net outflow from a state is complicated. In my home state of Illinois, the more impoverished downstate explains the net loss. Chicagoland is not losing population.(lindaebb)

Say, lindaebb, care to opine on which states have the highest percentage of residents serving in the military? Should we call them patriotic states? Heroic? Selfless? I thought this might be important to you. You know, given the moral superiority you apparently feel because you live in Illinois. A “civilized” state if ever there was one. (user_4170097)


Percentage of people serving in the military probably has more to do with how much military presence there is in the state and lack of job opportunities in the state than patriotism. (smartcookie2)

I lived in Boston for 15+ years. Now I live in a rural area of a European country. My living costs are 35 percent below those in Boston, the health care system is excellent and accessible, education is almost free so there is no burden of student debt, the roads are excellent, and gun control is seriously written and enforced. The police here are mostly paramilitary and have been for many years: You do not mess with them, but they are clearly well-trained and fair. The taxes can be high but at least there is something to show for the money. Last but not least, good manners are still important here — something that has almost totally disappeared in America. The number of Americans seeking information about living here has at least tripled over the past year. (hankcd)

Sounds great — do you mind sharing the name of the country? (eastplan)

Most Massachusetts residents have never lived anywhere else and would never consider moving (or couldn’t afford to return if they sold). I’d move elsewhere in a heartbeat but can’t budge my husband, who has never lived anywhere else. (northshore123)

I’ve lived in several other states, came home 15 years ago, and nothing will ever get me out of here again. (Lilac19)


I’ve heard of Kentucky. Wasn’t that pioneer fellow Daniel Boone from around there? (Bhekaron)

Yes. And Albert DeSalvo was from Massachusetts. (CharlesRyder)

I’d move to Kentucky. Friendlier pols like Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul. (Evergreen33)

Libertarianism = astrology for guys. (smozo)