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7 States That Pay You to Move There

Moving isn't always as expensive as you might think. While you have to pay to move to most states, there are some states that pay you to move there. Though they may not be at the top of most lists, they offer a high quality of life: a chance to rediscover the charm of small town America and live close to nature. Keep in mind these states aren't offering money out of the goodness of their hearts. They’re doing it to help revitalize their communities. So while they’re willing to pay cash, it comes with a few provisions about where you can live, where you can work, and how long you stay.


The SHOALS is a strip of land in Northern Alabama, along the Tennessee River. In order to attract new residents, the state established the Remote Shoals Program which awards $10,000 to eligible applicants. Participants receive $2,500 upfront to help cover moving expenses, then another $2,500 after your first six months. The remaining $5,000 is given at the end of your first year.

The program is open to anyone 18 years or older who can relocate within six months and has a job outside Colbert and Lauderdale counties. Employment must be full time and pay at least $52,000 a year. Entrepreneurs are also encouraged to apply, but only if their business is located outside the SHOALS region.


Alaska has one of the longest running incentive programs in the country: the Permanent Dividend Fund. Started in 1976, it pays every resident an annual stipend as long as they lived in Alaska during the previous calendar year. The amount depends on the state’s annual revenue, but averages around $1,600.

Unlike most states that pay you to move there, the Dividend Fund has no geographic or age restrictions. You’re eligible no matter what part of the state you live in, but must demonstrate a willingness to reside there indefinitely when you apply. Acceptable proof includes:

  • W2
  • Alaska Driver’s License
  • Vehicle Registration
  • Voter Registration
  • Mortgage Statement or Escrow Papers
  • Lease Agreement
  • Boat or Moorage Fees for a Primary Residence Vehicle
  • State Benefits, Such As Senior Benefits, Chronic and Acute Medical Assistance, General Relief, Interim Assistance, Alaska Housing, Energy Assistance, and Old Age Assistance


Tulsa Remote is a program designed to help remote workers interested in moving to Oklahoma. It offers $10,000 to anyone who meets the five eligibility criteria below.

  • At least 18 years old
  • Authorized to work in the United States
  • Employed in full-time remote work
  • Able to relocate to Tulsa within 12 months
  • Has resided outside Oklahoma for the past year

Once you’ve applied, select applicants will be interviewed by Tulsa staff in order to learn more about your background and interest in the city. If you're accepted, the money will be deposited into your account in monthly disbursements as soon as you can provide proof of residency (e.g. lease agreement, mortgage).

Besides money, the program offers a few other benefits. Incoming residents are given a membership at 36 Degrees North, a co-working space for entrepreneurs and remote workers. They’re also enrolled in Benepass, a health and wellness platform, to help connect them to gyms, spas, and counselors in the area. If you’re searching for a healthcare provider, the state provides access to Juno Medical, which provides a wide range of pediatric, primary care, women’s health, and same day care services.


Another state looking to grow its economy, Ohio is offering up to $15,000 to college graduates willing to move to Hamilton, a small town twenty minutes north of Cincinnati. The state's Talent Attraction Program is aimed at skilled workers who have earned a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) degree within the past seven years. Billed as a “reverse scholarship,” the initiative pays $300-400 a month to residents working remote or full time in Butler County.

The program has already paid $13 million to over 3,000 students. Though the Hamilton Community Foundation, which runs the program, is interested in anyone who meets the qualifications, they prefer applicants with an expressed desire to become active in their community. 

West Virginia

Ascend West Virginia is a program aimed at remote workers looking to escape the urban grind for a life among the forests, rivers, and mountains. New residents receive $10,000 paid out in monthly installments over their first year, plus an additional $2,000 if they decide to stay another year.

They also receive a Digital Outdoor Recreation Pass entitling them to 12 months of wilderness adventures, including camping, kayaking, ziplining, off-road excursions, and whitewater rafting expeditions, as well as discounts on skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing equipment. With over 1.5 million acres of parks and public land, 98,000 miles of rivers and streams, 1,500 miles of hiking trails, 130 golf courses, and five ski resorts ‒ it’s a tremendous opportunity for anyone interested in exploring the great outdoors.

Participants are also given free access to co-working spaces within West Virginia, to help them connect and collaborate with digital nomads and entrepreneurs. The program includes social events as well, designed to foster community and introduce you to life in the Mountain State. You can even earn a Remote Worker or Remote Manager Certification through the John Chambers College of Business and Economics at West Virginia University.

The program is open to anyone who currently resides outside West Virginia and works remote full time. Business owners are also eligible, as long as they own a business outside the state that can be managed remotely. Once accepted, you’re required to move within six months. Choose from any number of participating towns across the state. Not everyone who applies is guaranteed acceptance, but previous applicants are encouraged to apply again whenever a spot opens in their desired community.


Kansas’ Choose Topeka program offers up to $15,000 to remote workers with employers outside Shawnee County. It's also open to on-site workers, but only if their company participates in the state’s relocation incentive.

Anyone accepted by the program is required to purchase a home or rent an apartment in Topeka within 12 months after being hired or moving to the area. Renters receive $10,000 and home buyers $15,000. Everyone applying to the program must be authorized to work in the United States. They’re also required to complete the Choose Topeka survey after their first year in the city and must take part in a Choose Topeka Immersion program. Finally, for anyone interested in working on-site, the application from your employer must be received before you relocate.


Another program aimed at remote workers, Move to Michigan offers up to $15,000 in direct financial assistance, as well as $5,000 in additional benefits to home buyers who relocate to Southwest Michigan. The state provides $10,000 towards your mortgage, with the amount rising to $15,000 if you plan on enrolling your child in a public school within two years of arrival.

The money is presented to your lender at closing then gradually forgiven after each year of residency ($5,000 the first year, $2,500 the second year, $1,250 the third year, etc.). Anyone who meets the criteria is encouraged to apply. Applicants:

  • Must reside outside Michigan
  • Must provide proof of employment outside Michigan
  • Cannot have a home under contract or be working with a realtor in Southwest Michigan
  • Are required to purchase or build a home worth at least $200,000
  • Must obtain Michigan residency by acquiring a Michigan driver’s license and claiming Michigan as their primary residence
  • Must consider volunteering in a civic organization in their new community

There are certain geographic restrictions as well. The program is focused on communities along south Lake Michigan, specifically:

  • The City of St. Joseph
  • The City of Benton Harbor
  • St. Joseph Charter Township
  • Royalton Township
  • Benton Charter Township
  • Oronoko Charter Township
  • Lake Charter Township
  • Lincoln Charter Township
  • The Village of Stevensville

Besides financial assistance, Move to Michigan offers additional incentives to make your transition even better. Successful applicants can choose two of the following benefits, absolutely free!

  • Car Service. Free rides to and from regional airports for one year.
  • Harbor Shores Practice and Driving Range. Become a member at one of the premier golf clubs in the state.
  • Co-Working Space. Enroll in a co-working space, where you can forge connections with other remote workers.
  • Renaissance Athletic Club. Receive a free membership to one of Michigan’s leading gyms and wellness centers.
  • South Shore Rail. Get a free annual pass to this convenient rail line that links communities in Chicago and Northern Indiana.
  • Park and Beach Access. Obtain a free annual pass to some of the state’s most popular outdoor attractions: St. Joseph Beach, Benton Harbor Beaches, and Berrien County Parks.
  • Economic Club. Automatically become a member of the The Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan Speaker Series, which invites leading experts to share their insights on emerging trends and complex issues affecting modern society.

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