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Poll: Taxes, cost of living driving away young residents

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(The Center Square) – A new survey suggests the price residents pay to live in Pennsylvania tempts younger generations to move.

Results from the Commonwealth Foundation poll conducted last month show more than half of respondents between the ages of 18 and 44 have considered moving to another state – or know someone who wants to do the same.

The survey questioned roughly 800 registered voters between June 16 and June 19. Among the 338 respondents that considered moving, the top two reasons why were high taxes and cost of living. Other considerations – in order of popularity – included lower crime; more job opportunities; elected leaders more aligned with personal values; less intrusive government; better public schools; more secure elections; better health care; and more school choice.

The partisan split of respondents was 39% Democrats, 38% Republicans, and 23% independent, with a 3.46% margin of error.

The results reflect concerns expressed by both Gov. Josh Shapiro and state legislators. Prioritizing job growth and pro-family policies ranks high on the priority list on both sides of the aisle as the government scrambles to thwart a demographic crisis.

Lawmakers agree that stemming population loss, especially among working-age residents, is the state’s biggest challenge – one that must be conquered to prevent future economic ruin.

The latest U.S. Census data shows the counties encompassing Philadelphia and Pittsburgh were among the top 10 nationwide that shrank in population last year.

Philadelphia County and Allegheny County ranked sixth and 10th, respectively. Philadelphia lost more than 22,000 of its 1.6 million residents overall, while Allegheny shed just over 12,000 out of 1.2 million between July 1, 2021 and July 1, 2022.

While the numbers comprise 1% or less of the total population, the data points to an ongoing trend of Pennsylvania residents fleeing its cities for other states. Philadelphia lost more than 32,000 people to domestic migration and Allegheny just over 12,000.

The bureau also tracks birth and death rates and international migration to calculate a more complete picture of population change across the country. Statewide, the data points to an ongoing trend of counties in the north and west shrinking, while counties closer to the southern border and collaring Pittsburgh and Philadelphia have grown.

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