The rate that Kansans leave for other states is slowing down, but the trend for Kansas income is not. These figures are based on statistics that the Internal Revenue Service collects collects, based on address changes noticed when people file tax returns. The IRS collects three statistics. The number of returns filed is an approximation of the number of households that changed addresses, while the number of exemptions approximates the number of people. The adjusted gross income measures the earnings that changed addresses.
For Kansas, the statistics for returns filed (approximating households) tell us that each year many households leave the state. The trend, however, is in a better direction as can be seen in the accompanying chart. Still, for the years 2007 to 2008, 37,842 households moved to Kansas from other states, while 39,415 households moved from Kansas to other states. The net out-migration was 1,573 households. (The trend in exemptions, representing people, is very similar.)
While the trend is that each year fewer households are leaving Kansas, the chart tells us that many have left, year after year. For the period from 2000 to 2008, a net of 34,259 returns (households) representing 55,370 exemptions (people) left Kansas. That’s like the entire city of Manhattan packing up and leaving Kansas — in less than a decade.
The trend in AGI (adjusted gross income), however, is not moving in a good direction. For the past several years the trend of income leaving Kansas has been on a downward trajectory, meaning that while each year there is an out-migration of income from Kansas, the pace of income leaving is increasing. This is at the same time the trend of people leaving Kansas is moving in a better direction. While it’s difficult to draw a conclusion from this data, a possibility is that Kansas is becoming poorer, relative to other states.