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Got the urge to leave your state? You must be from Illinois.

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Melanie Stetson Freeman/Staff/File

(Read caption) People walk down a commercial street in the Englewood neighborhood, on August 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. Half of Illinois residents would leave the state if they could, according to a Gallup poll released Wednesday.

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Good news: If you plan to move to Illinois, there should be plenty of room for you.

Half of Illinois residents would high-tail it out of the state if they could, according to a Gallup poll released Wednesday. Plus, 49 percent of Connecticut residents would like to do the same, and residents of Maryland, where 47 percent of people feel little fealty to their state, also have ambitions to pack up for somewhere else.

The poll results are based on interviews late last year with 600 residents in each state. All were asked: “Regardless of whether you will move, if you had the opportunity, would you like to move to another state, or would you rather remain in your current state?” The survey did not ask people who wanted to leave their state where they’d like or plan to go.

Polled residents of Illinois, Connecticut, and Maryland were the most eager to depart their states, with about half wanting out. But more than 40 percent of the residents of Nevada, Rhode Island, New Jersey, New York, Louisiana, and Massachusetts (among them, perhaps, former US Sen. Scott Brown, now prospecting a run in New Hampshire) were also hoping to go somewhere else, according to the poll.  

But ZIP Code dissatisfaction is uneven across the 50 states. In some states, upwards of three-quarters of residents are pleased to stay put, thanks, according to the poll. Just 23 percent of residents in Montana, Maine, and Hawaii are interested in getting out, and only 24 percent of residents of Oregon, Texas, and New Hampshire (ah, makes sense now, Mr. Brown) would want to leave. Plus, fewer than a third of people in Colorado, Minnesota, Wyoming, and North Dakota are dissatisfied with their state addresses.

But just because people want to move out doesn’t mean they’re actually planning to do so. About one-fifth of polled Nevada residents are either “extremely," “very,” or “somewhat” likely to move soon – the highest percentage in the survey.

In the two unhappiest states, Illinois and Connecticut, locals who reported having at least some plans to move cited work as the No. 1 reason for going. In Illinois, "weather/location" (17 percent) and "quality of life" (15 percent) ranked No. 2 and 3; in Connecticut, "family/friends" (13 percent) was No. 2.

Overall, though, would-be residents of "somewhere else" were mostly seeking jobs or business opportunities. Of the people who said there is at least some chance that they will indeed be leaving their state, almost a third said it would be for work-related reasons. In Mississippi, half of all residents have some plans to move.

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In New York, though, the top reason for leaving was not work, but the cost of living. Twenty-one 21 percent cited the sheer cost of keeping residence there as having put them off. Another 14 percent of disgruntled New Yorkers said “taxes.” 


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