Connecticut: A Very Moving State

About half of Connecticut’s residents would move to a different state — if only they had the chance.

That’s the result of a Gallup poll, taken for god knows what reason and passed along by alert “06880” reader (and longtime Nutmeg State resident) Andy Yemma.

The 49% wanna-get-out results compare to a 33% national average. The only state with less satisfied residents is Illinois, where 50% of the folks would move if they could.

Three very different states had the most satisfied people: Hawaii, Maine and Montana. Only 23% of those residents wanted to flee.


Hartford radio station WNPR — which reported this story — quoted UConn economist Fred Carstensen (hey, why not?) as allowing that residents in coastal Connecticut are probably satisfied, what with our close access to New York City, lots of local cultural attractions, and strong sense of place.

However, he noted, “If you are in central Connecticut, [like] Hartford, Waterbury — the I-84 corridor — I suspect you would be thinking about moving.” 

So what do you think, “06880” residents? (And those who live elsewhere.)

Would you move away if you could? Why or why not? Did you come here by choice? Have you actually moved away? Would your answer be different if you lived in Waterbury?

Click “Comments” to respond. Please use your full, real name.

And zip code.



40 responses to “Connecticut: A Very Moving State

  1. John Karrel

    Interested in moving nowhere else.
    Regards, from,
    Green’s/Greens/Green Farms

    • bobbi essagof

      I’m with you.
      (but which is it? At GFS we settled with Greens but it’s always a question in my mind)

  2. Mara Barth

    I heard this story on NPR but missed the part about 50% wanting to ditch IL. We just moved here (Westport) a year ago and while it’s lovely, at this point I’d still love to go back to IL!

    • Laurey Tussing

      Mara, We moved here from Chicago (Wilmette) about a year ago too. I’m with you I’d head back to the Midwest tomorrow if I could.

  3. Bart Shuldman

    06880—-Dans Town

    First-did you know Fairfield Coubty residents pay 25% of the total state income taxes collected. And WESTPORT is fourth highest town in CT averaging $18,290 per taxpayer. We have a real problem that could get much worse and that is why we are seeing more want to leave the state.

    This is a huge issue for the state given the huge budget deficit now predicted for the next few years and the billions in long term liabilities that continue to grow. We will all have to help pay for it eventually unless something is done.

    It has become very expensive for most to live in CT and that is why you are seeing 50% wanting to move out. If we lose more people then the remaining will be left with having to pay even higher taxes. Less people means higher taxes for the remaining. Don’t look at Fairfield as the norm-it’s the other parts of the state that is hurting. Fairfield might have to pay 30%, 40% ofnthenstate income taxes as other areas in the state see the population drop as they move out to go to lower tax states or need to find a job. CT ranked almost last in creating new jobs.

    Right now the Governor is considering instituting tolls again and Keno in bars. I fear he might have to raise state income taxes again-would that drive you to answer YES to moving away? Or residing in Florida for 182 days a year to avoid state income taxes?

    This article addresses a serious issue in CT and one that Fairfield County residents could be required to pay more.

    I would ask a serious question-should Fairfield County become its own state? We clearly have the income to support it. Then would you move away? And then would it force the Governor to deal with the real issues. Losing our 25% might wake up the politicians to stop looking to Fairfield to help dig them out of their spending issues. And maybe help them fix their horrible pension schemes.

    Just asking.

    My answer-we are staying for the next few years. We love it here. But if it gets worse-we might be forced to look elsewhere.

  4. Jeff Launiere

    I was born and raised in Westport, then as an adult owned homes in Shelton and Trumbull. In 2003 with the massive taxes, and lousy beaches, we moved to Wesley Chapel, FL, which is just north of Tampa.

    We now go to work, and come home still seeing the sun, no income tax, property taxes that are 1/6 of what we paid back in CT, plus we can have a beautiful home with a pool, for a small fraction of the cost in CT.

    We live a much better life in Tampa, and of course have the nicest beaches with beautiful clear, blue water, which we go to most of the year.

    Yes I loved growing up in Westport, and my years in CT, but I would never move back. Of course some love the snow, or the seasons, and that is the way it should be. Enjoy where you live.

  5. Morley Boyd

    Amen to everything Bart just said. It might seem to some that only the bow is going down but there is a reason why Forbes recently included CT on its list of death spiral states. And it has nothing to do with geography.

    • Bart Shuldman

      This is a very serious issue in CT. There is no fun in knowing 50% want to leave the state. Why? Because nobody will move in to take their place. The Governor is giving away tax breaks to try and keep businesses in CT. But if more move out, then the problem gets worse.

      Just recently it was announced the Governor missed his tax revenue by $400 MILLION. This is after the largest tax increase in the states history. This is a huge miss. And one that now suggests we will run a significant budget deficit this year. Therefore something will need to be done. Tolls, Keno and higher taxes?

      And let’s remember the Governor gave Bridgewater $150 MILLION to move from Westport to Stamford. And let’s remember he kept the use of overtime for pensions. Some are retiring with $250,000 yearly pension income. All on our dime.

      It’s fun to say whether you will stay in CT or not. But if this gets worse, then what? We have over $70 BILLION in off budget long term liabilities. And the Governor has not put anymore money away to pay it down. It is growing and will not go away. Or teachers could find themselves with no pensions if it all goes under.

      Fairfield County will be required to pay more because Hartford, Bridgeport and New Haven are not producing. Could taxes on people in Fairfield County go up more? Hell yes. governor Malloy will have no problem raising taxes on the so called wealthy. But we already pay for 25%. We could be required to pay more. And don’t think it’s not you. It will be.

  6. Michael Calise

    We have lost many good citizens to other states due to Connecticut’s burdensome tax policies

  7. Wally Meyer

    The problem is where do you go? So many other states are wacko with guns and discrimination that Connecticut wins by default. So I will stay a Nutmegger.

  8. Jill Nash von Schmidt

    We already moved, and would move again. It’s way too expensive to live there.

  9. Rich Stein

    Let’s get real for an instant… To the person who left for Florida …. Your education system blows…. Most people send there kids to private school… And there are also many many issues that get reported on that the world shakes their head over and say Really!!!???…. So if you are saying enjoy the beaches as your measuring stick…..that is a poor argument…., to all others… The mill rate in 06880 is just under 18…. If you look at Bridgeport or New Haven their mill rate is around 40…. If we were paying that much you too would be leaving…so many people lose perspective of the past…. How is this, in 1981 the interest rate for a home mortgage was 12.88%… Can you imagine that now… Some can some can’t ….. Whine, bitch moan…. Try figuring solutions and stop complaining

    • Bart Shuldman

      Rich. Trying to understand your point. Bridgeport mill rate might be 40, but that’s on a $100k home. We have 18 on an average of $1,500,000.

      Also, that mill rate provides us Westporters with our wonderful schools etc. But that has very little to do with state taxes. State taxes you know, are different. It’s in addition to the mill rate tax-right? A person in Westport pays both-right? And what if state income taxes go up more? How much do they have to go up before it starts to effect even Westporters?

      Making matters worse, people in Bridgeport or New Haven probably cannot afford any higher taxes. So if they move we lose their state income
      Revenue. Then what? We have to pay more to make up their lose.

      Yes our schools are great. But what is those empty nesters leave CT because there is no benefit to being in CT. Then those beautiful FL beeches start making sense. And we need empty nesters in CT, in Westport, because they pay the same taxes but use less services.

      I will try and do something and not vite to reelect Malloy. He is a disaster. And most know I am active in Westport.

      • Rich Stein

        True enough… And fair enough… But if you are an empty nester say so.. Don’t speak of beaches and there wonder seems dumb making the comparison

        • Bart Shuldman

          I am not an empty nester. Hope that helps you understand my concern. I am a very concerned resident of both Westport and CT and also a business leader. I have seen the horrible impact the increase on state taxes did to my employees. I am also concerned with the cost to do business in CT. And, most will tell you I get involved.

    • Of the top 100 high schools in America, how many are in FL and how many are in CT?

      People are revealing their preferences as they leave the state.

  10. Sven Davidson

    I’m a Connecticut native. I’ve travelled to every continent in the world (except Antartica) but I’ve never lived more than 25 miles from where I was born. I like Connecticut. I’ve lived in Westport for over 40 years. I like living in Westport. I like the seasons; I like proximity to NYC; I like Westport’s mix of interesting people; I like the many cultural attractions; I like the good schools; I like Long Island Sound and our beaches and our public country club. Yes, there’s a premium for these things and I’m grateful that I can afford that premium. I’m staying for as long as I can.

  11. I do not question that the long term financial obligations for the State look ominous and this has been known for some time. They will have to be addressed and it will have a price tag that we all will share, or choose to go elsewhere.. This is not something that has happened overnight or over the last few years.

    One of the reasons that Fairfield County people are less inclined to move is because we just need to look to the west and by contrast to NY’s Westchester County, taxes seem very reasonable here. Granted we have personal property taxes and they do not, but that is more than offset by NYS higher income taxes and significantly so by their real estate taxes. Here, the real estate taxes are roughly 1.0 to 1.4% of current market values, whereas in Westchester they are virtually double that, if not more. So in contrast, taxes here are far better than our neighbors to the west. If that changes, Fairfield County will definitely lose some of the people who move here and endure longer commutes.

    CT (i.e. Westport) works for me and I hope to stay. My children and grandchildren have moved back which is certainly the most compelling reason to stay. I realize we could move to a cheaper place, but I will try to make tradeoffs since this is home now. Plus I like the place.

  12. Sally Campbell Palmer

    I would love to stay in my home town, but it is getting close to the point where financially it just doesn’t make sense.

  13. Berke Rhoda

    I lived in Westport for almost 30 years and loved every day living there, except of course, for the horrible winters. My husband and I moved to Boca Raton, Fl. almost 10 years for many reasons….one of which is that Florida is a friendly retirement state…WE HAVE NO STATE INCOME TAXES. That makes a very big difference when you are retired and an empty nester. Yes Compo is great but there just is no comparison to the beaches in Florida…pure white soft beautiful sandy enormous beaches with the most beautiful blue waters that we can play in pretty much every day of the year. Hey, if you like cold weather and snow, if you like rain, if you like miserable gloomy days for about 5 months straight, there is no better town to live in than Westport, Ct. Me…I love the sun and surf and golf and tennis…every day of the year.

    • Rich Stein

      Oh Mrs. Burke you were always the tennis and pool mom as long ad I could remember…

  14. I graduated from Staples HS in 1968, UCONN ’72 and continued to live in Westport until at age 31 the reality of the economics became bluntly apparent. In 1980, a realtor found the cheapest 12 month rental house in town on Hillspoint Rd at $600/month. With almost no insulation, the winter oil bill was another $600. My wife and I decided to move to Florida.

    Florida’s central east coast was ‘primitive’ compared to Westport but gradually the area has gained amenities, some provided by nature. I live 10 minutes from fabulous beaches to the east and jungle-like creeks to paddle 15 minutes west. Our greatest fear now is an influx of people leaving places like Connecticut will ruin what brought us here 33 years ago.

    I still consider Connecticut as a beautiful, wonderful place but a place reserved for those capable of funding the quality of life demanded by it’s citizens. You all wanted a Staples HS that is beyond the conception of people in almost any other place I’ve lived or visited. You want services at a level that would be impossible in most areas of the nation. What you’ve asked for and been provided is expensive and you’re paying dearly for what you enjoy. You’ll be paying for your desires many, many years into the future. I’m currently the elected mayor of my small Florida town and learned long ago, someone eventually is called upon to pay the tab and in my Town we pay as we go and don’t make promises to pay later.

  15. Berke Rhoda

    Yes Richard, we had a pool and we had a tennis court in Westport but what you seem to forget is that those amenities were only used for a few precious months. Again, Westport will always be very near and dear to my heart but the reality is, as the old song goes…”Its not for me”. Priorities change in everyone’s life and the priority in mine now is for “Sunshine and Happiness”. Came home from yoga a while ago, took my DAILY walk and just came out of my refreshing pool…Life Is Good here in the Sunshine State.

  16. Nancy Hunter Wilson

    Simply, I’m amazed by the number of people who answer/respond to polls.

  17. Scott E. Brodie

    Yogi Berra once remarked of a popular restaurant, “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.” Much the same thought comes to mind when people complain about “the high cost of housing” in a place like Westport. If no-one wanted to live there, real-estate prices would surely fall… Not much sign of that lately!

    • Bart Shuldman

      Scott. No doubt. At least for today. But what happens to home prices if taxes go up? What happens to our Westport taxes is empty nesters leave and get replaced with families of 4? Staples is already past capacity. k-5 packed. This issue has been raised at BofF meetings.

      Also-are we creating a state where only wealthy can survive? Same for Westport? Will we drive empty nesters away? Who else will we drive away?

      What happens to teachers who find CT too expensive? Do we have to pay more to attract? They might not live in Westport but in surrounding towns. If costs go up what happens to town taxes?

      Should we not worry or just accept the nice housing market today and think it will just continue? Or did we see housing slump just a few years ago. Could we have forgotten this quickly? Let me go real far on this-does Hartford look like Detroit? New haven?

      • Nancy Hunter Wilson

        “What happens when?”, “What happens if?”
        One who plans, never worries. One who never worries, doesn’t react to polls.

  18. Marcy Fralick

    I left Westport after gradution in 1970, went to college in Rhode Island for two years before moving to Colorado and the University of Colorado. I lived in Colorado for 40 years and Colorado is my home. We lived in a small town (Divide) about an hour west of Colorado Springs, deep in the Pike National Forest, on five acres of land, dirt roads, eight fishing lakes and no neighbors nearby. My kids grew up with the innocence and trust of my childhood in the 50’s. They ran all over the hills, fished in our lakes, rode bikes everywhere and camped out in our back yard with Pikes Peak and the Collegiate Peaks in their back yard. The cost of living is about 1/5 of CT, and taxes are reasonable. I now live in Tucson, but my heart will always be in Colorado. I have been back to Westport, and the super fast pace of life, the traffic, the cost of living, and the McMansions made me want to go back to my log home on 5 acres of land on a dirt road with no neighbors and an unsurpassed view of Pikes Peak as fast as I could.

  19. Iain Bruce

    There are lots of good reasons to live here, and there are lots of good reasons to move away. Everybody has to make that call based on the totality of circumstances and his own goals.

    What most intrigues, and appalls, here, is the oozing condescension, from the professor, and from Mr. Stein. The professor opines that if you live on the coast or in (extremely expensive) Fairfield County, and you are a sophisticated urban guy who likes the big city, you’ll love it here, but if you are a hopeless rube and hick, you’ll want to go to some rural backwater where small and lower class folks like you might be happy because your standards are so low.

    And Mr. Stein reckons that anything that isn’t just like here is crap. Your schools “blow.” Really? Your comments, while often pithy, aren’t usually so pissy. Why so snotty?

    Staples is fantastic, but it’s quite possible to succeed going to a school not quite as good as Staples. And it’s possible to love and enjoy a life outside a big city, or not even near a big city. It’s easier to start a business in other places, and it’s easier to live on lower incomes where they aren’t confiscated by your government.

    Just because people aren’t like you, or don’t like what you like, does not make their concerns or goals or quality of life decisions invalid or unworthy. They’re just not yours.

    • Rich Stein

      Lain… That is not what I am saying at all… Public schools in Florida are not great… I know people who lived in Florida and left solely because of poor education… Private school was the only option… There are great schools throughout the US… BUT in an all things equal world Florida public schools are not great.

    • Marcy Fralick

      Just because you’re a hopeless rube and a hick and go to some small, rural backwater town, where likeminded and lower class folks make their home, doesn’t mean your standards are low. Thousands of people escape the big city all the time for the peace and quiet, quaintness and homey feel of small towns. Maybe they love the fact they have a beautiful home on acerage, with mountains surrounding them, or beaches, billions of stars every night since there are no city light to obliterate them, a sweet and safe lifestyle for their children, good schools with small class sizes, and ample access to the great outdoors and hiking, biking, or skiing. Having neighbors who travel 35 miles down dirt roads to teach at the nearest university with their Ph.D.’s, art festivals, Friday night lights, marching band, parades, quaint little mom and pop stores because the population is so small the big box stores won’t come there. Small towns do have doctors, lawyers, a health clinic, accountants, churches, plumbers, electricians, contractors, and just about every other walk of life.

      Maybe Mr. Stein might want to rethink his opinion. Not all rural, small towns are like something out of “Deliverance”. There are thousands of small towns all across America where time seems to have stood still, yet people of all ages, rich and poor, educated and dropouts can live together with equal respect and appreciation for each other.

  20. Nancy Hunter Wilson

    Whether fate, circumstance, or choice, I figure that people can choose to be happy, or unhappy, wherever they live.
    Tune out the noise and be responsible for yourself.
    Blaming anything or anyone for unhappiness is a juvenile trait, a trait I read too often here.

    p.s. remember to laugh! (oh, and don’t forget your moms!)

  21. Craig Clark

    Fascinating read. I left in 74 after college. Came back to Hartford area in 77. Left for NH in 79. I’m leaving here feet first. I love going “home” to Weston and Westport but would never move back.

  22. I moved away and would come back in a heartbeat.

  23. Berke Rhoda

    And I too, would move back to Westport for 3 or 4 months and live in my $3,000,000 bungalow at the beach…that is after I win the Powerball…

  24. I grew up in the great state of Connecticut, first in Stamford and then New Canaan. I went to college out of state and started my career in CA, eventually moving to NYC. When it came time to raise a family and move out of NYC, Westport was the community where we wanted to live. 30 years later, we decided to move and have settled in the mountains of Colorado. Westport is a wonderful community to raise your family. Once your kids have moved on though, you realize that you have aged out of town. Young families with kids move in, as they should, and the town attends to their needs. As older residents in town with few options for downsizing, you realize that there are countless places in the country that are truely amazing. So we sold our beautiful home to a young family with kids and hope they appreciate the wonderful things that Westport has to offer.