One state leads all others in stickiness—the glue that lures people born there to settle down and stay

Many Americans take pride in their home state — but Texans are more likely than anyone else to settle down there.

The Lone Star State has a clear lead over peers when it comes to retaining its native population, according to a new analysis by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. It found that that some 82% of those born in the state were still living there as of 2021. That compares with figures between 72% and 76% for the remainder of the top five states on the list: North Carolina, Georgia, California and Utah.

Wyoming is ranked as the least-sticky state, with only 45.2% of natives remaining there, followed by North Dakota and Alaska which also had readings under 50%. States in the northeast also ranked relatively low. 

The numbers have important consequences for state governments, which invest large sums in educating their younger inhabitants — and lose out when people take their skills, and their tax payments, somewhere else. 

The researchers found that a stable or growing population and workforce is a key element of economic growth, and that states with strong job markets and low tax burdens tend to do better at persuading people to stay. 

The Dallas Fed also noted that the pandemic, at least in its initial phase, didn’t affect stickiness scores too much — with no state seeing its score change by more than 3 percentage points between 2017 and 2021.

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