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Connecticut saw influx of wealth from New York, but not enough to make up for losses

The COVID-19 pandemic spurred many wealthy New Yorkers to abandon the city and cross the border into Connecticut, buying up houses well over the asking price and leading to speculation that Connecticut could reverse its nearly decade-long loss of population and wealth to other states.

And while there was a massive inflow of New York money into Connecticut, it was not enough to offset the state’s losses to other states, according to the Internal Revenue Services’ migration data for the years 2019 and 2020.

The IRS tracks tax returns and adjusted gross income as it moves from state to state, county to county and internationally. According to their figures, Connecticut saw $5.988 billion in wealth move to other states and $5.714 flow into Connecticut for a net loss of $273.2 million in adjusted gross income (AGI) during the years 2019 and 2020.

The loss pales in comparison to outflows of money in previous years, when net losses of wealth were in the billions, with Florida usually taking the bulk of it.

2019 and 2020, were no different in terms of money migrating to Florida, but wealth migration from New York into Connecticut doubled the loss to Florida, as high-income people jumped ship from New York and settled in Fairfield County, just over the border.

IRS data shows Connecticut gained a net of 9,740 tax filers from New York amounting to $2.3 billion in adjusted gross income and an average of $236,139 per filer. These numbers reflect tax returns, not the number of people, which include families who file a single tax return.

Meanwhile, Connecticut saw a net loss of 4,443 tax filers to Florida, amounting to $1.2 billion in AGI, an average of $277,713 per tax filer.

While the influx of New York people and money doubled the loss to Florida, it was not enough to make for the cumulative loss of Connecticut residents and income to other states, such as Massachusetts, where Connecticut lost $101 million in AGI, and North Carolina, where Connecticut saw a net loss of $175 million.

International migration was a small blip on the overall radar, amounting to a loss of a few hundred tax filers, likely due to the pandemic, which brought much international migration to a standstill during 2020.

At the county level, Hartford and New Haven counties saw the largest losses, amounting to a combined loss of 2,728 tax filers and $592 million in AGI, the vast majority of which — $430 million – came from Hartford County. Fairfield County also saw a loss of tax filers but grew AGI by $22.3 million. Connecticut’s remaining county areas all saw increases or remained roughly the same.

In terms of the total number of individuals involved in state-to-state moves, Connecticut saw a net loss of 3,003 persons during 2019 and 2020, according to the IRS figures.

However, it should be noted that the IRS data does not include 2021, during which migration trends from New York into Connecticut may have continued during the pandemic. Census Bureau data shows Connecticut lost only a few hundred people between April 1, 2020 and April, 1 2021.

**Correction: this article originally reported the average income of NY movers as $131,636 due to a calculation error. The number has been fixed** 

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Marc E. Fitch, Senior Investigative Reporter

Marc E. Fitch

Marc worked as an investigative reporter for Yankee Institute and was a 2014 Robert Novak Journalism Fellow. He previously worked in the field of mental health is the author of several books and novels, along with numerous freelance reporting jobs and publications. Marc has a Master of Fine Arts degree from Western Connecticut State University.

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