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Young people earning $100,000 or more are fleeing California and New York—here's where they're going

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New York and California have long been attractive places for young workers striking out on their own. But that may be changing.

A survey conducted by SmartAsset tracked the movement of so-called "rich young professionals," which it described as anyone under 35 earning an adjusted gross income of at least $100,000. 

SmartAsset determined the inflow and outflow of rich young professionals in all 50 states and the District of Columbia by using Internal Revenue Service data to compare tax returns from 2019 and 2020.

It seems young professionals are most eager to leave New York. With a net outflow of 15,788, this state had the highest number of individuals leaving by a significant margin. With a net outflow of 7,960, California also appears to be losing allure for rich young professionals.

So, where are young people going? These are the top seven states wealthy millennials are flocking to, according to SmartAsset:

1. Texas

Total inflow: 15,024

Total outflow: 11,200

Net inflow: 3,823

2. Florida

Total inflow: 10,258

Total outflow: 6,847

Net inflow: 3,411

3. Washington

Total inflow: 9,882

Total outflow: 7,129

Net inflow: 2,753

4. Colorado

Total inflow: 7,306

Total outflow: 4,665

Net inflow: 2,641

5. New Jersey

Total inflow: 11,015

Total outflow: 8,556

Net inflow: 2,459

6. North Carolina

Total inflow: 6,929

Total outflow: 4,881

Net inflow: 2,048

7. Arizona

Total inflow: 4,231

Total outflow: 2,794

Net inflow: 1,437

The top two states, Texas and Florida, are known for their lack of income tax, which may make them appealing to young professionals. "They also have a reputation for affordability," Susannah Snider, a certified financial planner and managing editor of financial education at SmartAsset, tells CNBC Make It.

However, it's important to remember that "housing costs and other expenses will vary within a particular state," Snider says.

With an inflow of 2,800 wealthy young millennials, Washington also appears to be a place of interest. That makes sense: Washington was previously ranked the most affordable state for millennials by WalletHub.

In contrast, California and New York both have a reputation for being expensive, Snider says.

The rise of remote work may also play a role in why affluent young people are fleeing coastal hubs. "While our study doesn't quantify the role the Covid-19 pandemic had on the migration patterns of rich young professionals, I think it's worth noting its potential effect," Snider says.

"As offices closed in 2020 and companies switched to remote work, young professionals may have had more flexibility in choosing where to live and could move based on factors unrelated to workplace proximity."

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