The high cost of living is driving many Massachusetts residents to consider leaving the state for cheaper pastures, and the destinations they have in mind are varied.
Massachusetts was seventh on the list of “most moved from” states for 2022, according to an annual survey from United Van Lines. The company tracked the trends of their customers and found that fifty-seven percent of moves in Massachusetts were heading out of state. The most popular destinations for their customers in Mass. were New Hampshire and Florida. Nationwide, most people would like to head to Puerto Rico.
Last year, a study by Redfin found that Bostonians were leaving the state and landing in Portland, Maine.
We asked Boston.com readers where they would go if they had to relocate out of the Bay State, and many said they would head to New Hampshire. Of the 414 people who responded to our survey, 17% chose the Granite State as their ideal new home, 16% said Florida, but most had another state or country in mind.
Another 17% of readers who responded said they’ve already moved. Some common destinations among that group included The Carolinas, Florida, New Hampshire, and Georgia.
Mike D. and his wife moved from East Boston to Virginia after the start of the pandemic and said he’s loved the change.
“A large part of why my wife and I left Mass. after seven lovely years in the Bay State was proximity to family. That said, the economics of the decision would have been enough to convince us. Our market rate rent in Eastie was nearly $3,000 a month. My wife, a teacher, is now earning about 20% less teaching in Virginia Beach, but our rent is $1,500 for nearly 30% more space. Our prospects of ever being able to purchase a home in or around Boston were slim,” he said. My job pivoted to fully remote during the pandemic, which allowed us to explore other options. We love Boston and will always cherish our time in New England as a whole.”
Some readers, like Phil A. from Yarmouth Port, said they’d never want to leave Massachusetts.
“Why would I leave what is unquestionably the best state in the country? Massachusetts ranks at or near the top in all the important metrics: health care, education, public schools, opportunity, crime and safety, economy, quality of life, etc, etc, etc. Plus great sports, culture and history, the Cape and the Berkshires, and a host of wonderful towns to live in.”
But for most people, moving out of the state comes down to the cost of living above all else. A vast majority of the readers who wrote in said they’re seeking out areas with lower taxes and cheaper living. Christian, who’s already moved to North Carolina, said he relocated because of “lower cost of living, lower taxes, more house and property for our dollar. Plus, people are nice and we’re warmer.”
Readers who are considering relocating outside of Massachusetts have their sights set on cities near and far. Below you’ll find a sampling of responses from readers sharing why they think they’d have a better quality of life in New Hampshire, Chicago, the Netherlands, and more.
Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.
If you were to relocate out of Massachusetts, where would you go?
“Lower taxes. The estate tax alone is enough to make me leave.” — Keith M., Stoneham
“No more hassles with common problems of the big city rent, taxes, parking, and loss of family neighborhoods also crime seems to always increase.” — K. M., Brighton
“Taxes! This state has gotten out of hand with living expenses.” — Albie T., Roslindale
“Massachusetts: Taxes and disdain that the state and communities have towards the business community. New Hampshire: no income tax and very pro-business.” — Brandon K., Newbury
“I love Massachusetts. I grew up in Arlington, but it doesn’t feel the same here anymore. Neighborhoods with affordable single-family homes and a community feel have ceded to overpriced condos and McMansions with less than congenial neighbors. Add higher and higher income and property taxes, terrible roads, six months of cold weather, and state/local governments which have failed the taxpayer time and again, and, other than close proximity to family and friends, I can’t see many incentives to stay here. I can sell my 1962-built ranch house for more than I will buy a new house in Florida, Texas, or North Carolina. Remote work will allow me to earn a comparable salary in a lower-living-cost state. Delta Airlines’ frequent flyer points will let me come back to Boston anytime I want to visit. How could I possibly not want to leave?” — Brian, Waltham
“Lower taxes, better weather, and fewer gun regulations.” — Paul M., Brighton
“I’ve already lived down south for most of my adult life and moved back north to be closer to my aging parents. Though salaries are better here, it’s just too expensive. When I retire in a little more than a decade, I don’t want to be stressed out, paying to occupy a tiny apartment that costs more than a 3,000-square-foot house in Georgia, risking a heart attack every time I shovel my car out of a snow bank. I’ll be closer to my kid too if I head back down south which is a plus. Unfortunately, I’ll also be surrounded by ultra MAGA, QAnon believers. Love it in Massachusetts, but I don’t want to burn through my savings and be left with nothing but social security to keep me from ending up in a rest home.” — Jason O., Andover
Vermont, Tennessee, New Zealand, and more
“I like rural settings, but Western Mass. is full of New Yorkers (sorry, but…) and not as pretty as Vermont or coastal Maine. Housing is crazy expensive here in the Boston area, where I currently live. Also, traffic is terrible and the fact that public transit in Boston is falling apart doesn’t help.” — Jennifer G., Lincoln
“Chicago offers city living, a vibrant community, transit, and civic life in a dynamic, world-class city, with a fraction of the cost of living of Greater Boston. I love Boston, but it definitely stings to look at Zillow listings in Chicago for beautiful spacious apartments for a fraction of the cost of a dinky old studio or one bedroom here.” — Matthew P., Brighton
“New Mexico has beautiful desert, is affordable, has a very big art scene, friendly people, and it snows in New Mexico but melts fast. If that is where I belong then maybe someday I would move there permanently. I plan on flying out there soon just to see how it really is.” — Jacquelyn H., Roxbury
“Nineteen years in Massachusetts has taught me that I like to visit snow on my own terms, not live in it. I love the vibe of the small towns dotting the coast north of San Diego. It’s not any cheaper than Massachusetts, but it’s far friendlier, more laid back, and the weather speaks for itself.” — Chris N., Milford
“Hawaii has warm weather all year, beautiful beaches, a laid-back vibe — pretty much the opposite of Massachusetts. No shoveling snow or slipping on ice in Hawaii. Easy access to nature. And Hawaii is still a progressive state.” — Vivian, Medford
“Tennessee has no state tax, a sane estate tax policy and is not over burdensome on regulations. I will be moving in about 5 years when I retire and right now Tennessee is my top selection. Winters are bearable as well.” — Ted, Westwood
“New Zealand is the most beautiful country in the world. Has a sane leader who took charge re: gun control and COVID. Or Yorkshire, England. Dales, sheep, and access the entire coastline and countryside.” — Carolyn, Allston
“Europe. The United Kingdom or the Netherlands. Much safer, better public transportation, easy access to other European countries, better restaurants, the cost of living is much better, and it’s more affordable to live near metropolitan areas.” — ALM, Newton
Boston.com occasionally interacts with readers by conducting informal polls and surveys. These results should be read as an unscientific gauge of readers’ opinion.