Arkansas Sees Influx Of Out-Of-Staters In 2017

LITTLE ROCK (KFSM) — Arkansas and other southern states are seeing a huge influx of new residents into the labor pool as the nation’s population base is starting to look much like the final college football rankings with a strong SEC focus.

Between July 1, 2016 and July 1, 2017, U.S. Census estimates show the South added 1,235,167 additional residents, well above the second-fastest growth region in the West with a population increase of 765,672 people.

The Midwest and Northeast regions saw meager gains of only 201,183 and 111,221 residents, respectively, according to year-end population estimates compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau.

What stands out in the Natural State – which census data estimated touched 3 million people for the first time in state history at the end of 2017 – is the huge spike in the number of people from the other 49 states moving to Arkansas and pushing the employment levels to an all-time high.

 

Since the summer of 2016, the state’s growing population base saw net migration of 4,718 out-of-staters and 3,499 foreign-born residents to Arkansas, pushing yearly totals up notably by 133% from 3,530 in 2016 to 8,217 in 2017.

The number of residents from other U.S. states choosing to migrate to Arkansas was even more impressive, spiking an eye-popping 2,320% from only 195 out-of-state migraters to 4,718 in 2017.

That impressive gain did not go unnoticed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who constantly promotes Arkansas as a natural landing spot for startups and tech-oriented millennials, highly-skilled professional and military retirees, highlighted by passage of a new law during the 2017 session to exempt all military retirement pay from state income tax.

“This is just extraordinary, exciting news and is reaffirming the direction that we are going as a state,” Hutchinson said in an interview with Arkansas Talk Business & Politics.

“One of my objectives is: I want to grow our state both in terms of our labor force and economic growth. And a good indication is in-migration, particularly of those from other states that say, ‘we want to move to Arkansas.’”

During his three-year tenure as governor, Hutchinson has focused much of his agenda on growing the economy by recruiting foreign and out-of-state companies, and supporting legislative initiatives that prepare workers for technical and professional jobs that pay higher wages.

The Republican governor said Arkansas has a lot to offer out-of-staters, which he believes will continue to push net migration totals even higher in the future.

“I think (we) saw the kind of growth in 2017 that reflects that the word is getting out about our lower taxes for military retirees (and) job creation that has gone on in this past year, so I delight with those net migration numbers and hope that we can keep up that trend,” said Hutchinson, who is running for re-election in 2018.

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