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Wisconsin Watch partners with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. Read our methodology to learn how we check claims.


An estimated 92,146 income tax-filing individuals left Wisconsin in 2021 for other states. The conservative Institute for Reforming Government said “nearly 60%” of them moved to states with flat or no income taxes, arguing tax policy was a major factor.

But nearly the same amount — 91,559 — moved into Wisconsin from other states that same year, according to IRS domestic migration figures based on tax returns. And a Wisconsin Watch analysis of that data shows 52% of those moving into Wisconsin came from flat-tax or no-tax states.

Wisconsin’s net population flow for 2021 was 0% — ranking 30th for in-migration, according to Tax Foundation.

The data do not necessarily capture total tax filer migration to and from Wisconsin, as some individuals did not have to file individual income tax returns using Form 1040.

Experts disagree about the relationship between interstate migration and state tax policy. 

This Fact Brief is responsive to conversations such as this one.


Internal Revenue Service Income data: Migration 2020–2021 — Wisconsin

Institute for Reforming Government Lost Revenue New Analysis Shows Wisconsinites are Fleeing to Low Income Tax States

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities Tax-Related Migration Is Grossly Exaggerated: a Research Preview

Google Docs Wisconsin Watch analysis of property tax and migration

Tax Foundation Americans moved to low-tax states in 2021

Tax Foundation How do taxes affect interstate migration?

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Jacob Alabab-Moser joined as Wisconsin Watch’s fact checker in September 2022, as part of the effort by The Gigafact Project in partnership with different state-level news outlets to combat misinformation in the 2022 midterm elections. Jacob has several years of experience as a fact checker and research assistant at a variety of organizations, including at The Gigafact Project. He holds a BA from Brown University and is pursuing a MSc from the London School of Economics and Political Science.