Pennsylvania Loses 54 People Every Day

How long before Pennsylvania becomes one big ghost town? New Census data shows that Pennsylvania lost a net of 19,588 residents to other states in 2019—that’s a loss of 54 people every day.

Our children, friends, and neighbors are leaving Pennsylvania for better opportunity in other states, driven by a high tax and spending burden that hinders economic growth. Nobody wants to live in a state that snatches away a huge percentage of their income.

Across America, the states that provide economic opportunity for residents are the migration “winners.” The map linked below shows migration from high tax states to lower tax states.


Map: State to State Migration, 2018-19


And Pennsylvania’s losses affect our political position, too. As noted in the Wall Street Journal, Pennsylvania is on track to lose another Congressional seat after the 2020 reapportionment.

Infographic: Tax Revenue Migration

Additionally, IRS data shows that this out migration cost Pennsylvania $1.4 billion in incomes from families leaving.

To reverse this trend and make Pennsylvania a destination state where families and businesses pursue opportunity, lawmakers must look to improve our tax climate, and that starts with controlling the growth of government spending.


The Taxpayer Protection Act achieves that goal. As my colleague Steve Bloom wrote in a recent op-ed,

Enacting the Taxpayer Protection Act will stem the need for state government to hike taxes and provide an opportunity for economy-boosting tax cuts. When Pennsylvania once again becomes a destination state for job creators and job seekers, college graduates won’t have to go looking elsewhere to launch their careers.

The PennLive editorial board echoes this sentiment, calling for passage of the Taxpayer Protection Act as a way to control state spending and end the “brain drain” of millennials exiting our state.


Already this year, the Independent Fiscal Office projects Pennsylvania will overspend its budget by $779 million—a $779 million deficit come June that could require a tax hike.


The only way we can end this brain drain is to practice honest budgeting; controlling state spending to create a competitive tax climate; and creating the opportunities that attract workers, families, and business owners.