Much of New Hampshire is a Bedroom of Massachusetts

May 9, 2014 by

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Yesterday’s report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities briefly touches on another fact about New Hampshire that anti-tax activists never mention: much of the state is a bedroom of Massachusetts. By waking up in New Hampshire and driving to Massachusetts for work, tens of thousands of New Hampshire residents earn higher wages, on average.

Analysis of county-to-county commuting flows (available here, from the Census Bureau) shows that on any given workday between 2006 and 2010, about 83,500 New Hampshire residents woke up and traveled into Massachusetts to clock into their job, compared to only 30,000 who did the reverse. These New Hampshire residents who commute to Massachusetts must pay Massachusetts income taxes on the wages they earn there.

In total in 2011, approximately 107,000 New Hampshire residents worked in another state, compared to only 63,000 residents of other states working in New Hampshire (See this Census Bureau report, Table 6). As a result, New Hampshire has one of the largest daily fluctuations in its populations in the nation. On average from 2006-2010, New Hampshire saw a 3.1% decline in its population during the daytime—the largest in the nation save Maryland (see this excel sheet from the Census Bureau).

One result of the tens of thousands of New Hampshire residents commuting to work in Massachusetts every day is that per capita income in New Hampshire is higher than it otherwise would be, since wages and salaries for jobs located in Massachusetts are about 25% greater than in New Hampshire.

Most of the New Hampshire residents who commute to Massachusetts reside in Rockingham or Hillsborough Counties. 75,000 of the 364,000 total commuters who live in these counties (workers who live in these counties and don’t work at home) work in Massachusetts. With 20% of their workers earning their wages and salaries in Massachusetts, these two counties also happen to have the highest per capita incomes in New Hampshire.

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