A pronounced demographic trend in the years leading up to the Great Recession is back with a vengeance: Americans are moving to the South and the West. Florida alone gained roughly 200,000 net new movers (this number does not include immigrants from abroad, only Americans who’ve moved between states) between 2014 and 2015. Other states with big gains in the numbers of new net movers were Texas (170,000), Colorado (54,000) and Arizona and South Carolina (more than 45,000 each). That’s over half a million people in just one year who chose to relocate to these five states alone.
What states did they come from and why did they leave them, you ask? The states experiencing the biggest losses to domestic migration were New York, Illinois (105,000 people chose to leave the stomping grounds of Barack Obama and Rahm Emanuel), New Jersey, California, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Maryland…in that order. Vermont, Maine, Rhode Island and New Hampshire were among other states that lost population in this manner.
There are some long-term trends at work here, such as the prevalence of air-conditioning and interstate highways in recent decades, especially as regards the South. The loss of industrial jobs in many areas of the Midwest and Northeast has also led some to abandon these areas. In much of the South and West housing was- and often still is- cheaper than in the Midwest and Northeast.
Despite the hysteria over global warming, many folks get sick of the cold weather in the northern climes, especially as they get older. Anyone who has had to drive on icy roads or been stranded in a blizzard can sympathize, I’m sure. (As I write this, the northern-tier states are in the grip of dangerously cold weather).
There is more to it than all of this, however. Notice that the vast majority of the states people are leaving are bastions of liberalism while the states they are fleeing to tend to be more conservative. The major cities in the Rust Belt states have been nearly- or actually- bankrupted financially…and morally. Violent crime is high- and getting higher- in areas where firearm laws are strict and conceal-carry laws are non-existent. Many people want to be free to exercise their inherent, natural, Constitutional right to protect themselves and their loved ones if necessary… and don’t want to be condescended to for so desiring.
In some states, like New York, immigration from abroad has offset losses from domestic migration, but most areas in the Rust Belt will see more empty houses, vacant lots and shrinking cities, leaving only dependency and despair to fill the void.
There is another reason, too, for this Great Migration. It’s not just smaller states these folks are leaving behind, but smaller minds. (And higher taxes). The states and cities that have been run (into the ground) by progressives for years on end are also the most politically correct. Light up a smoke in your own vehicle or wear a Sombrero to a Halloween party and you may be held up for public shame and ridicule. And the South, in particular, still has a reputation for being more refined and polite in dealing with strangers.
The allure of better manners, bigger skies and open land (and minds) is a powerful one, indeed. Perhaps the hope that many of these people couldn’t find in Obama can be found in Odessa.
Texas, that is.