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Harsh winters, a high cost of living and a so-so job market battered by the COVID-19 pandemic. Sound like Connecticut?

Sure does, according to recent studies by two national moving companies that show those among the main reasons the state continued to see more residents move out than relocate here in 2020.

North American Van Lines’ report says that 41% of their Connecticut customers last year were moving in, while 59% were heading elsewhere. That roughly 60/40 negative split has been holding steady for more than a decade.

A similar study by competitor United Van Lines was even harsher, noting that 63.5% percent of its Connecticut customers last year were outbound, and only 36.5% moved in.

Based on 1,867 inbound and outbound moves with United, that ranked the Nutmeg State the fourth-worst in the nation, behind only New Jersey, New York and Illinois.

Connecticut’s steady outflow came despite it being named the third most-popular state for people to move into during the pandemic. A United report last fall showed that about 20 percent of all people who moved into Connecticut between March and August cited COVID-19 as a reason.

The numbers reflect a nationwide trend toward people moving to less-congested states with warmer climes and lower taxes.

United says their customers’ most popular 2020 destinations were South Carolina, Oregon, South Dakota and Arizona.

The states attracting the most new residents moved by North American were Arizona, Tennessee, South Carolina, and North Carolina.

Key factors identified in North American’s report include:

—Robust job growth in the South in due to companies relocating to or opening branches there.

—No state income tax in states such as Texas, Florida, and Tennessee, and relatively low rates in Arizona and the Carolinas.

—Warm weather that make enduring hot summers worth it for the mild winters.

Those factors may be even more significant in Connecticut given the state’s relatively older population reaching or already at retirement age.

Retirement considerations, combined with concerns over the pandemic, appear to be adding fuel to the trend, Michael A. Stoll, economist and professor in the Department of Public Policy at the University of California, Los Angeles, said in a release by United. 

Connecticut’s out-migration was led by those 55 and older, which made up more than 60% of United’s departures.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has without a doubt accelerated broader moving trends,” Stoll said in the United report, “including retirement driving top inbound regions as the Baby Boomer generation continues to reach that next phase of life.”