Southward Goes the Course of the Empire

The Census Bureau has released population estimates as of July 2008. The trends remain the same, with a little bit of flutter around the edges. That is:

In 1960, the Midwest and Northeast comprised more than half the nation's population, with the West and South just under half. Now, the West and South make up 60 percent of the population; the Midwest and Northeast just 40 percent.

Of major-population states, Michigan has really been taking it on the chin for decades now.

Michigan had as many as 19 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives as late as 1982. But it lost one seat in advance of that's year's election; two in the 1990s, and one following the 2000 census.

More here and below.

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  • Turtles||

    Big surprise. Look for the correlation to tax rates.

  • Nigel Watt||

    Turtles: Also a good explanation for why NH is doing way better than the rest of New England.

  • </||

    Yankee go home

  • ||

    There is also something to be said about average temperatures. Old people don't like cold, look for even bigger shifts as the boomers age.

  • Lewis Medlock||

    Because they're buildin' a dam across the Cahulawassee River. They're gonna flood a whole valley, Bobby, that's why. Dammit, they're drownin' the river...Just about the last wild, untamed, unpolluted, unfucked up river in the South. Don't you understand what I'm sayin'?...They're gonna stop the river up. There ain't gonna be no more river. There's just gonna be a big, dead lake...You just push a little more power into Atlanta, a little more air-conditioners for your smug little suburb, and you know what's gonna happen? We're gonna rape this whole god-damned landscape. We're gonna rape it.

  • ed||

    I'll say it one more time: Illinois, Ohio and Michigan, erect gigantic FOR SALE signs, pointing north. Come on, Canada, you know you want it! The south beckons. Cheap land! Flannel!

  • Garrard||

    Viva la Minnesota!

  • ||

    Turtles: Also a good explanation for why NH is doing way better than the rest of New England.

    Isn't most of the growth in NH just retiring Massholes?

  • Georgia||

    This river don't go to Aintry. You done taken a wrong turn. See uh, this here river don't go nowhere near Aintry.

    Boy, you are a lost one, ain't ya?


    What we, uh, "re-quire" is that you get your god-damn asses up in them woods.

  • Nigel Watt||

    James, if it's about the weather, explain Idaho.

  • ||

    Three things:

    A/C
    cheap travel
    low cost of living

    The first is simply a huge equalizer in terms of comfort. The second depends on low cost of energy and the third is highly dependent on the culture of the north and midwest. Ohio and Michigan might never regain their advantage in manufacturing, but they could achieve mild success if they ditched alot of the taxation that just makes it undesirable to live there. Michigan could achieve a second home state status like New Hampshire and Maine if they made it cheaper to live there.

  • ||

    Episiarch,

    I know alot of people in the south that buy farms up in New Hampshire for second homes too, but yeah, NH has achieved mild prosperity because its relatively cheap to live there.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "Of major-population states, Michigan has really been taking it on the chin for decades now."

    Of course - it's been run by liberal democrats for decades - right into the ground.

  • ||

    One thing. Methinks that Arizona and Nevada are going to give up alot of their gains in the next decade as energy costs rise. The desert doesn't have a high carrying capacity without lots of water transport and the Colorado River is already straining under the demand. Unless we pipe massive amounts of water from the Mississippi, cost of living in Arizona and Las Vegas is going to skyrocket.

  • Nigel Watt||

    Lost_In_Translation: Or desalinization from the Gulf of California. Unfortunately, government controls the water business, so that probably won't happen.

    Bizarrely, Corpus Christi, Texas is using desalinization, even though it gets plenty of rain.

  • ||

    Nigel,

    How expensive is desalinization compared with basic water treatment and pumping?

    I'd prefer to see desal as opposed to water table usage in the future as its more controllable and the true cost is revealed as opposed to passed on to those downstream.

  • The Bearded Hobbit||

    .. I would like to point out that New Mexico has lots of FLEAS and they carry the PLAGUE so you really, really, don't want to move here ... really .. and, and, we're FULL!! .. yeah, no one come here 'cause we're FULL!! ..

    .. remember, New Mexico= Land of the Flea, Home of the Plague .. and we're Full!!

    .. "unless you're hot wimmin" Hobbit

  • ||

    Lost_In_Translation : There was a show about salt on Modern Marvels a couple of weeks ago that said that water from the desalinization plant in Tampa cost 3 cents per gallon vs traditional 1 cent per gallon, mostly due to energy costs. If I remember correctly.

  • Nigel Watt||

    How expensive is desalinization compared with basic water treatment and pumping?

    Saying what the appropriate price of water is is as hard as saying what the appropriate price of oil is, but it's certainly more expensive than just jacking a stream. If water bodies could be private property we'd have a much more sensible system.

  • David Pinto||

    I wonder how much growth in population in NC and GA contributed to their water shortages?

  • Seer||

    I'd be really interested to compare the population shifts in West Michigan versus East Michigan given that the West is much better off economically, more conservative and building up the medical industry around Grand Rapids to try and make up for the loss in the auto industry.

  • ||

    The westering trend, of course, goes back a lot farther than 1960.

    I'd take these numbers with a grain of salt, though. The annual census estimates have even more of an undercount of difficult-to-count populations than the decennial census numbers, and this is a comparison of the annual census to the decennial one.

  • ||

    Turtles | December 23, 2008, 9:18am | #

    Big surprise. Look for the correlation to tax rates.


    Washington? Oregon? California?

    North Dakota? Mississippi? Alabama? Nebraska? Kansas?

  • robc||

    Didnt someone on here suggest a while back that Michigan just accept that they will be the Vermont of the midwest? No one lives there, but people visit in the fall to hunt and watch the leaves change.

  • robc||

    joe,

    If they are aware of the undercount, shouldnt the adjustment on the annual estimates be easy to make? I understand the problems with the regular census (Im a big fan of "actual count" for the regular one, but see no reason to use it in between).

  • ||

    As societies become ossified and elites become more entrenched, the rank and file leave for better opportunities elswhere. The South actually has an advantage from losing the civil war and the civil rights movement in that it tore up society and the entrenched interests and created more opportunity. People moved south and west in the 1950s because that is where the opportunity was.

    That trend has long since faded as the West and South has its own entrenched interests. What is different now is tax rates. High taxes do all sorts of nasty things like jack up the cost housing besides just take people's money and discourage investment. A place like Michigan is great if you are a unionized autoworker or a state employee. It is not so great if you can't get one of those gigs. You are just stuck with high taxes, cold winters and a Stepford wife Governor with a double digit IQ.

    Some of this is the normal shaking out of cities specializing and catering to certain kinds of people. Is it really efficient to have large scale manufacturing in places like New York City or Boston anymore? Probably not. Those cities are designed as playgrounds for the rich and welfare distributing points for the poor. The real manufacturing and work is done in San Antonio or Charlotte. This can be seen in the demographics of places like New York and San Francisco. Those places have very few middle class and very few young people with children. They have the old and the wealthy and the young and childless.

  • ||

    I'll say it one more time: Illinois, Ohio and Michigan, erect gigantic FOR SALE signs, pointing north. Come on, Canada, you know you want it! The south beckons. Cheap land! Flannel!

    I'd write it again, but apparently ed has reading compehension difficulties. So I'll just go with the graphic. Perhaps ed can get someone to explain it to him.

    I imagine being in the same country as Ontario, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and British Columbia, leaving Mississippi, Alabama, West Virginia and Oklahoma behind would have more positives than negatives.

    Imagine, hell! I'm almost certain of it.

  • ||

    BTW Joe,

    Kansas gained 3% despite the fact that there is nothing there. I am from there and it has no real natural advantages. The weather is brutal both summer and winter, there is no major river or port. There is just lots of open space and semi-arid country side. There is no way anyone would chose to live there over New England all things being equal. But of course all things are not equal and Kansas manages to attract a few people looking for lower taxes and cheap land.

  • ||

    J Sub D,

    Some states like Alabama don't have big populations or tax bases. They are almost gaurenteed to get more money from the feds than they send in. Hell one good Navy base probably covers most of Alabama's tax base. Contrast that with California that would be like the 10th largest economy in the world if it were a country. It would take an incredible amount of pork to exceed that amount of taxes. Those paid in versus taken stats are decieving as hell and worthless.

  • ||

    Moreover J Sub D, as I watch your sorry ass state of Michigan loot the treasury over the next few months, I think those numbers will change. If you want to give the big 3 bailout money back, you can go to Canada and don't let the door hit you on the way out. Trust me no one will miss you. We might miss having a sorry assed group of Big 10 football teams to beat every bowl season, but that is about it.

  • ||

    robc,

    They're aware that there is an undercount, but how much of an undercount is tough to get a bead on.

  • ||

    Yes, John, the pursuit of cheap land is a major determinant of where emigrants go.

    Last time I tried to explain this to you, you went into one of your snits.

  • Eric S.||

    John

    Kansas' pop growth isn't really that interesting because I'm sure the great majority (like 95%+) are people moving to Overland Park, et al., and maybe a few moving to Lawrence looking for a that small college town feel (e.g., Madison, Ann Arbor). What is happening in the remaining 95% of the state is irrelevant.

  • ||

    Is it really efficient to have large scale manufacturing in places like New York City or Boston anymore? Probably not. Those cities are designed as playgrounds for the rich and welfare distributing points for the poor. The real manufacturing and work is done in San Antonio or Charlotte.

    128 Belt? Industrial parks? What on earth are those?

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "There was a show about salt on Modern Marvels a couple of weeks ago that said that water from the desalinization plant in Tampa cost 3 cents per gallon vs traditional 1 cent per gallon, mostly due to energy costs. If I remember correctly."

    Desalination takes lots of electricity.

    Just wait until they get that nuclear fusion power thing worked out, though, and then we can pump rivers of desalinated water from the coasts to where it's needed.

  • ||

    "128 Belt? Industrial parks? What on earth are those?"


    Momentum from the past. Think about Joe. Mass has one of the best natural ports in the country, 400 years of wealth built up, and a huge education infrastructure and all you can say is "we did as well as Kansas". If everything was equal, no one would be moving to Kansas and lots of people would be moving to Boston and the surrounding area. But all things are not equal. Why is that? And don't tell me it is land, there is tons of empty land in Western Mass.

  • ||

    The temperature is four degrees, and it's snowing.

    This weather report has been brought to you by somebody who doesn't want you to move to Montana.

  • ||

    Momentum from the past.

    As a matter of fact, MITRE (down the street from my office) leads the country in patents every single year.

    Boston has one of the best natural ports in the country. No it doesn't. The port of Boston is distinctly second-rate for modern shipping.

    400 years of wealth built up For most of those years, Massachusetts was sending large numbers of people west. It's always been that way.

    and all you can say is "we did as well as Kansas". Actually, we're doing a great deal better than Kansas. Lower poverty, higher incomes, much better educational attainment.

    And don't tell me it is land, there is tons of empty land in Western Mass.

    Western Mass is at least a two hour drive from the 128 belt, and unlike eastern Mass, is in a long-term economic and population decline.

    There's a reason you can't account for the difference between the rust belt and the northeast corridor - because your argument doesn't make any sense.

  • ||

    BTW, John, that whooshing sensation on your scalp? Let me clear that up for you:

    "128 Belt? Industrial parks? What on earth are those?"

    You compared the cities of Boston and New York - the urban centers, where there is very little manufacturing left - to places like Charlotte, which includes both the old city and the extensive suburbs surrounding it.

    Noting that there is little manufacturing going on in the city of Boston without acknowledging the existence of 128 is either dishonest hackery of the highest order, or somebody who doesn't know what he's talking about.

    And what's up with the obsession with population and manufacturing, anyway? Are you trying to prove that Kansas could beat Massachusetts in World War I?

    The rest of the country can have our leftovers as we keep pushing the envelope. That's the way it's always worked. A century ago, you would have talking about how the future is Ohio and Michigan, and writing off Massachusetts because the big, muscle-power manufacturing industries were leaving.

    The information economoy is where it's at. Of course older, more mature industries are going to leave places where higher-value industries are growing up. In a few years, we'll be seeing the biotch and nanotech industries setting up large-scale production in cheaper parts of the country, too. It will be interesting to see what the new industries employing people in Massachusetts will be then.

  • BDB||

    Kansas grew because there was so little pop. To begin with, whereas with Mass it takes a whole lot more people to grow the same percentage.

    But if Mass somehow annexed New Hampshire, itd probably be doing better than Kansas.

  • BDB||

    Charlotte, btw, is much more banking and things of that nature than manufacturing. I don't know about San Antonio.

  • ||

    Naga, the Northwest is attracting idealist progressives like mad with their growth boundries and other anti-suburban policies. Idaho is growing because people who like suburbs are moving there to escape the tyranny of Washington and Oregon.

  • ||

    the Northwest is attracting idealist progressives Californicators like mad with their growth boundries and other anti-suburban policies.

  • ||

    Southern New Hampshire is metro-Boston, whereas western Massachusetts is not.

    Claiming that the economic engine that is greater Boston is weak because it is driving population growth in a region that is across a state border, but not driving it in a region that is much further away but within the same state, presents some obvious problems.

  • ||

    "For most of those years, Massachusetts was sending large numbers of people west. It's always been that way."

    No they haven't Joe. They have been sending immigrants who passed through Boston. There is a difference.

    Further, the poverty rates in Kansas versus Mass are 12.3 for Kansas to 11.1 to Mass over a 3 year average. http://www.nemw.org/poverty.htm

    That is not that much better. Boston had a 300 year head start on Kansas. It is also in a much better location with a port and within driving distance of most of the country's population. By all rights it should be much wealthier than Kansas but it really isn't.

    Boston has enough old wealth that it can indulge in high taxes and high regulation. Those things are an indulgence and a hinderence nonetheless.

  • BDB||

    The ideal place to live, of course, is somewhere that has blue state living at red state prices and taxes, with winters that at least won't freez your balls off.

  • Chubulor Corpulens II||

    For most of those years, Massachusetts was sending large numbers of people west. It's always been that way.

    Could you guys stop that please? It's a gorram invasion of stupid Kennedy kin.

  • ||

    "And what's up with the obsession with population and manufacturing, anyway? Are you trying to prove that Kansas could beat Massachusetts in World War I?

    The rest of the country can have our leftovers as we keep pushing the envelope. That's the way it's always worked. A century ago, you would have talking about how the future is Ohio and Michigan, and writing off Massachusetts because the big, muscle-power manufacturing industries were leaving."

    Joe Boston has pushed an evelope in 100 years. By all rights silicon valley should have been in Boston, but it wasn't. You speak of 128, which I have seen like its a big deal because you have never been to Redmond Washington or Austin Texas or if you have you never bothered to look around when you were there. Places like Austin and DFW or Atlanta don't take Boston's leftoevers. There is a reason why there are Red Sox fans all over America. It is because there are New Englanders all over America who left Boston because the opportunities lie elsewhere. Nothing against Boston, it is a nice place. But people like you and your superstious love of taxes and regulations has made the place a shadow of what it could be or once was.

  • ||

    "The ideal place to live, of course, is somewhere that has blue state living at red state prices and taxes, with winters that at least won't freez your balls off."

    Dallas and Austin are pretty close to that. But the summers will melt you. So it is pick your poison.

  • BDB||

    I think the places closest to that are Charlotte, Raleigh. Atlanta, and Northern VA.

    Denver and the Twin Cities get 2/3, though.

  • !||

    Is there no topic that joe & John can't find a way to it into another bitch fest?

  • ||

    Further, the poverty rates in Kansas versus Mass are 12.3 for Kansas to 11.1 to Mass over a 3 year average. http://www.nemw.org/poverty.htm

    So Massachusetts, a much more urbanized state with a much higher % of immigrants in its population, has almost 20% less poverty than Kansas.

    There is a reason why there are Red Sox fans all over America. It is because there are New Englanders all over America who left Boston because the opportunities lie elsewhere. Ah, that must explain our higher incomes, higher home prices, higher commercial space prices, higher costs (and lower vacancy rates) for modern industrial space, and lower unemployment rates.

    Boston had a 300 year head start on Kansas. Where on earth do you get the idea that having older cities is supposed to translate to lower poverty rates?

    It is also in a much better location with a port Again with the port! The port of Boston is fairly small potatoes. It was a big deal during the era of three masted sailing ships, but it's relatively shallow and narrow.

    ...and within driving distance of most of the country's population. By all rights it should be much wealthier than Kansas but it really isn't.

    As a matter of fact, Massachusetts' median income is about $10,000 higher than that of Kansas.

    Joe Boston has pushed an evelope in 100 years. And it has been, having been either ground zero or one of several ground zeros in computer hardware, biotech, nanotech, medical research, and environmental services.

    That you can find one industry - software - that sprung mainly out of a different ideolopolis doesn't refute the observation that numerous industries have been born and grown up in greater Boston over the past century.

    Once again, you refuse to account for the fact that the measures of demand for living and working in greater Boston all point to a long-term position of strength. You can't explain the difference between Boston and Detroit, yet you fancy yourself an expert on the economic drivers of migration. You don't even realize that Massachusetts is a national leader in emerging industries, yet you think you understand something about innovation and the economy.

    Maybe it's just me, but I find your comment hilarious.

    Oh, and aren't Dallas and Austin consistently run by Democrats?

    Gee, I wonder why industry migrates there instead of Mississippi and Alabama.

  • ||

    Manufacturing. Ports. Physical proximity. Raw manpower.

    John, you're the perfect economic analyst for the 18th century.

    I can only take heart in the fact that you didn't hold forth on the quality of our soil and the presence of timber stands when discussing economic drivers in 2008.

  • BDB||

    Boston having a not very good port plus the fact that the port doesn't have a big river that really leads anywhere out of it, is the reason it stopped being the biggest city in America in the 19th Century.

  • ||

    Joe, Alabama is at the center of an industrial boom. Three car plants in-state, with several others in bordering states. I don't know if Dallas and Austin will be able to keep up with their Democratic pols.

  • BDB||

    "Oh, and aren't Dallas and Austin consistently run by Democrats?"

    The question is, who runs the suburbs?

  • ed||

    Moreover J Sub D, as I watch your sorry ass state of Michigan
    loot the treasury over the next few months...


    Shit, I forgot about that. It could be a deal-killer with Canada.
    Not that inheriting a 0-15 NFL team isn't also.

  • ||

    The question is, who runs the suburbs?

    In Texas, the cities include the suburbs. Houston, laid over Boston, would extend to Wocester and southern NH.

    Which makes it difficult to to apples to apples comparisons of northeastern and sunbelt cities.

  • BDB||

    Boston is a small city in geographic size even for the northeast, I think. It's tiny.

  • ||

    James Ard,

    It's good to hear that there's good economic news coming out of Alabama, but Dallas and Austin aren't trying to "keep up."

    A production center, like Detroit or Cleveland, isn't the same thing as a ideopolis, like Boston, Austin, or Dallas these days.

  • Nigel Watt||

    joe, Dallas only has a population of 1.4 million, whereas DFW has a population of 6. The cities don't exactly include the suburbs in Houston either - COH has a population of ~2 million, and the area has one of 5.4.

    And urban areas in Texas have been consistently run by morons of many parties - listen to a Dallas City Council meeting sometime (thanks, WRR101) and you'll understand.

  • ||

    BDB,

    A city like Cambridge or Someville, both of which border Boston, would probably be one district in a neighborhood in a sunbelt city, if you look just at geographic size.

    This, btw, is what makes passenger miles the wrong measure when evaluating the importance of transit. If someone in Cambridge travels 1 mile from his apartment to his job on the T, while someone in Phoenix drives 30, those two commutes have provided the same service.

  • ||

    OK, Nigel, how about:

    Cities in Texas include in their boundaries a lot of suburban areas that would be separate muncipalities in New England.

    Better?

  • ||

    And urban areas in Texas the US have been consistently run by morons of many parties

    I think Nigel would agree with this edit.

  • BDB||

    It will be interesting to see what the 2012 Electoral College will look like after the census, and which party gains.

  • BakedPenguin||

    You are just stuck with high taxes, cold winters and a Stepford wife Governor with a double digit IQ.

    Are you talking about Michigan or Alaska? Oh, right, Alaska has high prices, not taxes.

    As a matter of fact, Massachusetts' median income is about $10,000 higher than that of Kansas.

    And they probably pay about $10,000 more in taxes, too. But what the hell are you going to do in Kansas City after work?

  • ||

    BP,

    Massachusetts now ranks about dead center of the country in % income paid in taxes.

    It's higher in aboslute numbers because of income levels, though.

  • Big Dans New Bedford Mass||

    Raped? She fucked a bar full of guys then she turns round and blames them for it? Listen lady, she loved it, she had an audience, she did the show of her life!

  • Naga Sadow||

    This would explain a lot. Half of Biloxi are transplants and I've always wondered what the fuck would bring them to Mississippi. I mean half of all college graduates leave the state but apparently we're just sucking people into the state to fill their place. Strange.

  • ||

    Heh, I get it, there was a crime committed in Massachusetts!

    HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA...

    gasp

    HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HAAAAAAAA!

    Um.

    Wait.

    I don't get it.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Big surprise. Look for the correlation to tax rates.

    And unions. And state legislation favoring/not favoring them.

  • |||

    Joe is just mad because the Democrat states are going to lose political influence due to their shrinking population.

  • ||

    You mean like Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Washington, and Oregon?

    Yeah, really breaking my heart that states flipping from red to blue are the ones growing the fastest.

  • Mike Farmer||

    The Atlanta area is trending to be one of the future megalopolises, even crossing state lines. The Charlotte area might trend this way, too.

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