San Antonio Texas
Sarah Biren
Sarah Biren
May 16, 2024 ·  3 min read

5 States Where the Living is So Good, People Never Seem to Leave

People tend to have strong feelings for where they live. They may yearn to move away and explore somewhere new and inviting. But some are happy staying where they are. Not only that, they take great pride in their homeland. An analysis by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas discovered which states in America are the “stickiest” — where people tend to stay — and which are the least sticky.

What Makes a State Sticky?

Many factors contribute to a sticky state. For instance, it tends to have a warmer climate and offer better economic conditions like a wide-range of job opportunities and less taxes. Therefore, sticky states tend to have metropolitan areas with large populations, which provides less transportation costs and more social advantages. They also often offer diverse landscapes like big cities to beaches to mountains, which attracts different kinds of people. 

Read More: 16 States With The Highest Taxes in the US

Sticky State #1: Texas

Dallas skyline
Photo: Pixabay

Based on statistics from the American Community Survey, 82% of residents born in Texas remained there as of 2021. Texans seem to take more pride in their state compared to all other Americans. They also have the reputation of being outspoken and friendly, which fosters a sense of belonging among its people. The Lone Star State also has a diverse job market that offers economic stability, making it possible for citizens to buy homes, raise families, and have stable careers. Additionally, it has no state income tax.

Sticky State #2: North Carolina

Uptown Charlotte aerial view
Photo: Pixabay

North Carolina had a retention rate of 75.5% as of 2021. Despite its unappealing-sounding name, the Tar Heel State has diverse geography to choose from, from small towns to big cities, to mountains to the Atlantic Ocean. It also has a wide job market that can suit many different career paths and facilitate financial stability. The people there tend to foster friendliness and a sense of belonging.

Read More: 18 Maps Of The United States That Will Make You Think

Sticky State #3: Georgia

Atlanta night skyline
Photo: Pixabay

Meanwhile, Georgia has a 72.42% retention rate, according to the American Community Survey. Similarly, Georgia hosts diverse landscapes, an opportune job market, and a deep sense of community. Plus, the state invests in its infrastructure, providing the residents with good health care, transportation, and educational facilities.

Sticky State #4: California

the Hollywood sign
Photo: Pixabay

It may not be surprising to see the Sunshine State on this list, with a retention rate of 73% as of 2021. California is an outlier though since sticky states tend to have affordable housing. After all, many young people are forced to move states in order to buy a home. But California has high stickiness and expensive housing. It offers a unique sense of spirit, creativity, and optimism, with people moving there to chase their dreams

Sticky State #5: Utah

People may be surprised to see Utah with the retention rate of 72.9%. But it’s large religious community is likely a major factor. Faith and religious values create a strong sense of community and commonality. At the same time, the Beehive State has a vibrant economy, varied landscapes of canyons and mountains, and a high quality of living. 

The Least Sticky States

  • Rhode Island, 55.2%
  • South Dakota, 54.2%
  • Alaska, 48.7%
  • North Dakota, 48.6%
  • Wyoming, 45.2%

Common unappealing factors of these states include high costs of living, cold or harsh climates, limited job opportunities, and sparse populations, which can lead to limited attractions, long travel times, and feelings of isolation. However, some residents may love living in these states and enjoy the good they have to offer, like gorgeous scenery and wildlife. A state doesn’t need to be popular for its people to feel happy and at home.

Read More: Mother Of 12 Struggles to Afford Her Kids With Staggering $24k Annual Food Bills


  1. John Davey. “5 states where the living is so good, residents never seem to leave.North Country Now. March 22, 2024
  2. “5 States Where the Natives Don’t Leave.Newsner. September 11, 2023
  3. “Texas natives likeliest to ‘stick’ around, pointing to state’s economic health.” Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. Ana Pranger, Pia Orrenius and Madeline Zavodny. August 29, 2023