What does Maine have in common with Hawaii and Montana? People don’t want to leave.

According to a recent Gallup poll, the three states where people are least likely to find the grass greener on the other side of the proverbial fence are Hawaii, Montana and… drumroll, please… Maine.

The way life should be.

gallup listOnly 23 percent of Mainers would leave the state if they could, according to Gallup, which is a tie for the lowest percentage in the country along with the two aforementioned states. The polling took place from June through December of last year, when organization representatives interviewed at least 600 residents older than 18 years old in each state, and 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?”

In contrast to Maine, about half of everybody in Illinois (50 percent), Connecticut (49 percent) and Maryland (47 percent) would leave their respective states if they could only find a way. By that metric, if you met two people on the bus in Chicago, it’s a good bet one of them would want to be somewhere else.

In Maine, you’d need at least four or five people to have a near statistical certainty of finding someone anxious to leave. My story, and it’s a story I hear from others often, is that when I graduated high school, I wanted to get out and see someplace different — I was bored with the sights I’d seen more-or-less every day for the previous 17 years, and imagined other states would be more exciting.

But then I went out and saw some other states (although admittedly, I didn’t see Montana or Hawaii) and realized Maine’s really a great place to live.

gallup mapNotice on the above map who folks in northern New England are pretty happy where they are, and the northeastern states seem to get darker the farther you get from Maine.

Maine is routinely found to be one of the country’s safest states, according to crime statistics, and often gets ranked among the happiest as well. So why move?

Again, according to Gallup, Mainers aren’t. As part of the same poll, the organization found that only 8 percent of Maine residents are “likely to move” from the state within the next year, regardless of how they felt about moving in the first question.

Neither Hawaii nor Montana were among the 10 states from which people were least likely to move, indicating that while residents of those states don’t want to leave, they more often can’t avoid it.

Or Mainers are just better about sticking to their guns. We don’t want to move, and doggone it, we’re not.

States where people are most likely to be moving within the next 12 months are Nevada (20 percent), Illinois and Arizona (19 percent each).

So, back to that bus in Chicago. You meet 10 people. Three say, “I wish I could get out of here, but just can’t…” Two say, “Ha! Losers! I’m leaving within the year!” And five are like, “Go Bulls!”

Gallup found that, in the states from which people plan to be moving, their top reason for taking off tends to be work-related. While the top reasons are different depending on the states, moving to be closer to family and friends is right up there. Somewhat surprisingly, people aren’t statistically prone to leaving their home states because of high taxes or cost of living (with the exception of New Yorkers, 21 percent of whom say they’re leaving because their state is too pricey and 14 percent of whom are being chased out by taxes).

Nationwide, about 5 percent of people who plan to leave their current states are doing so because of high cost of living, while about 3 percent move because of taxes.

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