Don't it Make My Blue States Empty?


Suburban theorist (and past Reason contributor) Joel Kotkin has an interesting piece in Forbes positing that we're witnessing a population "exodus" from Blue states. Excerpt:

She had to leave it

Net migration, both before and after the Great Recession, according to analysis by the Praxis Strategy Group, has continued to be strongest to the predominately red states of the South and Intermountain West.

This seems true even for those seeking high-end jobs. Between 2006 and 2008, the metropolitan areas that enjoyed the fastest percentage shift toward educated and professional workers and industries included nominally "unhip" places like Indianapolis, Charlotte, N.C., Memphis, Tenn., Salt Lake City, Jacksonville, Fla., Tampa, Fla., and Kansas City, Mo.

The overall migration numbers are even more revealing. As was the case for much of the past decade, the biggest gainers continue to include cities such as San Antonio, Dallas and Houston. Rather than being oases for migrants, some oft-cited magnets such as New York, Boston, Los Angeles and Chicago have all suffered considerable loss of population to other regions over the past year.

Much the same pattern emerges when you look at longer-term state demographic patterns. A recent survey by the Empire Center for New York State Policy found that the biggest net losers in terms of per capita outmigration between 2000 and 2008 were, with the exception of Louisiana, all blue state bastions. New York residents lead in terms of rate of exodus, closely followed by the District of Columbia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and California.

Nick Gillespie on the "boredom" of Red states here.

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  1. The yankee influx to the South is most unfortunate.

    1. Two words for ya, kafka:
      Grant and Sherman.

      1. The funny thing about Sherman is IIRC he was head of the Louisiana Military Academy when the war started. He was a trendsetter even then.

    2. Especially when they don’t check their politics at the door. The ex-Angelenos and New Yoricans that preach to all the people of Nashville every chance they get are quite grating. We just politely ignore them, in our quaint southern style.

    3. A yankee influx to anywhere sucks:

      Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to President Barack Obama, recently explained the White House war on Fox News as an example of “speaking truth to power.” Much of the American political world collapsed in laughter, pointing out that her boss was president of the United States, the most powerful man on earth. His every word is news around the world. Fox News is a cable channel rarely watched by more than a few million people at a time. How could she have so blithely said something completely out-of-sync with reality?

      Simple: She’s a liberal.

      As a liberal she carries around in her head the liberal paradigm of how the world works and what needs to be done to make it work better. There’s nothing wrong with that. We all use paradigms to make sense of what we see around us and couldn’t get along without them. Unfortunately, the basic liberal paradigm hasn’t shifted in a hundred years, while the world we live in has changed utterly since the late 19th century, when modern liberalism was born.

      What is that paradigm? The basic premise is that the population is divided into three groups. By far the largest group consists of ordinary people. They are good, God fearing and hard working. But they are also often ignorant of their true self-interest (“What’s the matter with Kansas?”) and thus easily misled. They are also politically weak and thus need to be protected from the second group, which is politically strong.

      The second group, far smaller, are the affluent, successful businessmen, corporate executives and financiers. Capitalists in other words. They are the establishment and it is the establishment that, by definition, runs the country. They are, in the liberal paradigm, smart, ruthless and totally self-interested. They care only about personal gain.

      And then there is the third group, those few, those happy few, that band of brothers, the educated and enlightened liberals, who understand what is really going on and want to help the members of the first group to live a better and more satisfying life. Unlike the establishment, which supposedly cares only for itself, liberals supposedly care for society as a whole and have no personal self-interest.

      Thus the liberal paradigm divides the American body politic into sheep, wolves, and would-be shepherds. The shepherds must defeat the efforts of the wolves.

      1. Plagiarize much?

    4. My problem with it is that these idiots vote in the Democrats, trashing their state, then whine about it and move to my state where they try to do the same thing. Californians are the worst.

      Screw them. They crapped on their state and they should have to stay there until they’ve voted out all of the Democrats, and cleaned up their act. Stop polluting my state with your moronic lack of attention and feeble grasp of issues.

  2. So taxes DO make a difference! Oh the lessons you can learn from Sim City 2000…

  3. Red states have fostered better business environments and attracted them with lower taxes, real estate is typically cheaper, telecommunications improvements make it extremely easy to keep in touch with one’s roots, the weather is better, and divorce rates have separated families anyway. Why not move? Add to that the far greater numbers of people going to college, many of them away from home, they meet someone else who is also away from home and they settle where they want. The brain drain from the Northeast should be a surprise to no one.

  4. New York residents lead in terms of rate of exodus

    No shit. Let’s see:

    1. Ridiculously high taxes, from sales to income to property tax.
    2. Fucking police state. There are so many cops it’s ridiculous.
    3. Corrupt much?
    4. Everything is regulated, requires fees, or demands you go through endless hoops.
    5. Corrupt much?
    6. Bloomberg/Bruno/Spitzer/Cuomo/etc.

    Seattle/Washington isn’t heaven, but man, it’s so much better than New York in many of those ways.

    1. Yeah, the best thing about NY is apple cider donuts. I imagine you can get those quite easily in Washington.

      1. I don’t eat doughnuts. Fatty.

        Though getting a decent pizza is a struggle here. Luckily there is DeLaurenti’s so I at least have a mediocre pork store. And the salmon is killer. But no soft-shell clams, which sucks eggs.

        1. Your loss. I’m 6′ 170 lbs. I eat whatever the hell I want and I’ll still live to 100.

          1. Yeah, well, I’m 6′ 185 lbs. Because I don’t eat doughnuts. Now Warty is a different matter. He only eats dicks and vaginas and he’s 314 lbs. You’d think Atkins would kick in for him but I think he has a glandular problem.

            1. Foreskins are high in sugar. True story.

    2. Sixty years ago Detroit was the largest industrial city in the history of the world. Look at it now. If they can destroy Detroit, they can destroy New York. Eventually the parasites will kill the host. There was a time when Newark was a hard working livable blue collar town. But it wasn’t after the unions and the bureaucrats got done with it.

      1. I’m skeptical. In Chicago, at least, where I’m currently living, the city itself has seen a slight decline in population, but the suburbs and exurbs have exploded. I’m sort of doubtful that the overall NY metropolitan area is shrinking.

        1. IT’s not shrinking, but only because of immigration from out of the country

  5. I’ve flown back and forth across America many times and not once have I looked out the window and seen a red or a blue state.

  6. “The simple fact is that many people–arguably most people, if population patterns are any indication–are ready, willing, and able to pay a steep premium to live in more densely populated places where things inevitably cost more money and take more time, where there are more regulations, higher taxes, bigger annoyances, you name it.”

    Actually they increasingly are not willing to do that, as the Forbes article shows. Further, with the advent of the internet, big chain book stores, coffee places, and decent chain restaurants, it isn’t nearly as hard to live in the hinterland as it once was. The country is a lot more homogenized than it used to be. That is bad if you live in Manhattan, New York, but great if you live in Manhattan, Kansas.

    Also, once you get married and have kids, the attraction of living in a densly populated area goes down. When you have a young child, you just can’t go out and party like you used to. You want a big house and a yard more than you want a good Opera and the latest yuppie restaurants. That is why there are very few children in big expensive urban areas. Those areas tend to be populated by young people who don’t care if they live in an efficency and old people who have the money to live there and don’t care about the terrible schools.

  7. I think the relative prosperity of Indianapolis, hardly a Sun Belt location, shows that tolerably good governance (plus a shitload of recession-proof government jobs)matters.

  8. 2. Fucking police state. There are so many cops it’s ridiculous.

    This, yo.

    I moved there in Giuliani days, and before nightfall on my first day in town, I got bellowed and run at by three gun-rubbing cops (one pair and one solo) for stepping on patches of sidewalk that were “parks.”

    Shit like that happened every couple days. “Whaddafuckaya doon?!” I never once knew what I was getting yelled at for. And I look like a not-poor almost-certainly-not-black guy.

    I don’t know how anyone who’s not a cop, or who ever has to walk a greater distance than from a limo to a doorman, can stand to live there. It’s like North Korea, with cars and fat fucks.

    1. It’s not just NYC. Hudson River Valley counties, like Orange, are teeming with cops too. I’m not sure if way upstate is better.

      1. Yeah, they’re ubiquitous but I rarely see them doing anything.

        1. They aer ubiquitous everywhere. I just drove I70 through Western Kansas to Denver. There is a town about every fifty miles and the road is as straight as an arrow. You could drive 150 on that road and not hurt anyone. And sure enough there was a fucking cop running his radar about ever twenty miles.

          1. I have seen a lot of this too. I am thinking because of the bad economy they are under pressure to make more revenue or something.

  9. People moving here into TN from NY tend to be very annoying.

    Loud and obnoxious, plus pushy Catholic or Jew is no way to go through life. We already have pushy Southern Baptists. That’s enough.

    I think Florida still has some spots open. Go there.

    1. And they inevitably vote for the same socialists policies that made New York so unlivable. That is what they did to New Jersey. New Jersey used to have one of the best state governments in the country. And they didn’t have an income tax. That is why so many New Yorkers moved there in the 50s and 60s. And they immediately proceeded to turn it into a worse socialist shithole than what they left.

      1. Correction: NJ is a socialist “armpit”.

      2. “And they inevitably vote for the same socialists policies that made New York so unlivable”


      3. Do they let you pump your own gas yet in N.J.?

        1. No, but surprisingly it is still cheaper than next door Penna. where you can.

  10. NW Atlanta is heaven.

      1. I lived in Atlanta for a year and I really liked it. I would leave Washington DC for there in a minute.

  11. Judging by the number of vehicles with California license plates that invariably end up in the ditch along I-25 any time there’s the slightest bit of moisture on the road, I’d say this article is probably correct.

  12. Upstate New Yorkers should not be lumped in with those from NYC/Long Island. We actually say please and thank you here.

    1. We preferred to be called “The North Country” when I lived in District 23. Only metro New Yorkers call it “upstate.” And lazy journalists.

  13. Virginia takes New York’s garbage instead of its people. Virginia wins.

  14. Uh, blue people who move to red states don’t turn red. So yes, the blue states might become less influential politically — but the formerly red states that become more influential simultaneously become less red.

    It’s a shell game, folks.

    1. Isn’t this what a lot of people are complaining about? Like the New Jersey thing? Did you read any of the other comments?

  15. I think Florida still has some spots open. Go there.

    Piss off, we’re full. Anyway, listen to those people talk about how great Atlanta is. New Yorkers, move there.

  16. Degustibus est non disputandum. I grew up on a farm outside a town of 500 in western Iowa; from there stops in a couple of midsize hippie haven college towns (Iowa City and Gainesville FL), the jejune suburban sprawl of Orange County CA, Stuff-White-People-Like headquarters Austin TX, and now Chicago. All had some redeeming qualities but I’d rank Austin tops, Chicago worst.

    My taste vector ranks Santa Rosa / Sonoma County CA as the best place in America to live. Heaven on earth, or a reasonable facsimile. The worst, probably Lancaster / Palmdale CA.

    1. No Cal is paradise. Too bad liberals feel the need to fuck up every nice place there is to live.

      1. Agreed. On reflection, I’d say the worst living conditions I’ve every seen in America is easily Detroit. Jesus, what a horror show. It’s like postwar Beirut, with 300 inches of snow a year.

    2. I grew up near Lancaster / Palmdale. It’s not bad if you like the high desert. Sucks otherwise.

      I’ve lived near Santa Rosa and Sonoma, and if you like wine and lots ‘o liberals, great places to live.

      As a resident of Windward Oahu, I’ll take strong exception to your ranking Santa Rosa / Sonoma as the best place in America to live for everyone.

      It’s November, and I still have all the windows open right now, I’m going to take a dip in my pool in a bit, and I’m wearing shorts and an aloha shirt with a fan running to cool things down a little.

      Now that’s Heaven on earth.

  17. Your housing market says otherwise, BP.

  18. If you’re looking for a Californian, start in Arizona. If he’s not there, he’ll definitely be in Nevada.

  19. Your housing market says otherwise, BP.

    Oh yeah? Well, I still can’t fucking afford one, so you New Yorkers stay the hell away until I can. And if I do buy a house here, keep staying the hell away, because I don’t want you moving here and telling me “that’s not how we do shit in NY” and how it was so great you had to leave.

    1. I lived in Fl for 10 years, age 12-22. I left for a reason. You can keep it.

      1. Yeah, it’s a shithole. Spread the word.

      2. Just bustin’ your balls, Nick. Bustin’ your balls.

  20. Of course, the article on people leaving NY doesn’t compare it to other times or look at the age demographics of people leaving. Are people leaving the city because they’re starting families and moving to CT or NJ? Are they recent retirees who are moving to FL because the weather is better and it’s easier to live on a fixed income? Both those groups would have higher average incomes than people moving into the city. Without these key data points the analysis is thoroughly lacking and doesn’t say much.

    Also, noting that the “fastest percentage shift toward educated and professional workers” doesn’t say necessarily say much*. Those cities have lower than average proportion of college educated residents. If their residents get educated at the national average (which is higher than it was a decade ago), it would have a much bigger effect on the proportion of college educated workers than places with higher proportion of college educated workers. I’m not saying there isn’t a shift going on, but these numbers are somewhat weak sauce.

    The death of NY as a financial hub is highly overstated.

    * Except for Charlotte, corporate HQ of BofA which got a lot bigger, so there would be more educated people being pulled in.

  21. Massachusetts people are trying the same thing in New Hampshire.

    1. And already succeeded in Vermont. Damn them.

  22. Heavily urban, highly Democratic places like downtown Seattle or Manhatten are a great place to party and meet singles and generally be cool and urbane.

    But, if you wind up marrying and having kids, suddenly these places start to suck for your changed life circumstances.

    Which is why these urban centers have such a low population of families.

  23. Atlanta would be great if it had any water left. Although Yankees will ruin it before long.

    1. Nah, the drought is long over. They have plenty of water now.

  24. Upstate girl here, property is cheap, property tax isn’t so bad. But the corruption, sales tax, and general cost of living (car insurance is fucking expensive, for example)are pretty suckish. But its so pretty here! The Adirondacks are beautiful, there is lots of American history that can be taken in, and we have the most amazing fucking pizza here in Utica NY. I’m not lying. If you have ever had it, you know what I’m sayin. I’ll never leave here.

    1. Utica, huh? Nice town. Still have my Schultz and Dooley steins. German-made, not the Chinese versions. And yes, small-town pizza north of The City can be pretty outstanding. All my other siblings but one left New York state for good. But the one who stayed will never leave either.

    2. Utica, huh? Never been. I will say, however, that Syracuse is is the most depressing non-Detroit city in America.

      1. Well, it’s the tears that make the pizza tasty.

  25. New York residents lead in terms of rate of exodus, closely followed by the District of Columbia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and California.

    That correlation to high taxes and one-party rule is just an artifact, a red, if you will, herring.

  26. I still maintain, and 52 years of experience have borne this out, that it is easier to be atheist/gay/chemically enhanced/etc. in most red states than it is to be economically free in most blue states.

    I can co-exist peacefully with my socially conservative neighbors as long as I am not flaunting/protesting on the street corner.

    You cannot avoid the alphabet soup of regulators/taxers/fee collectors of the Borg collective. Your only hope is to live where their numbers are minimized.

  27. I think the supposed “boredom” of red states, especially rural areas, arises because the people declaring that boredom tend to be articulate-intellectuals would structure their entire lives around manipulating other people by talking at them e.g. Nick Gillespie.

    If you like living in contact with nature and finding your recreation in nature, then life in country or the small town is a blast. I grew up in a working class rural family and I had pony, a motorcycle and guns. I was seldom bored. (Of course, I wouldn’t have complained of boredom because my grandparents had the cure all for boredom…work.)

    As people grow their careers and acquire families, their lives concentrate on the details of work and family. You become far less interested in the latest novel entertainment and more interested in making something complex work and how you kids did in school. At this stage of maturity, living in close proximity to a lot of avant guard performances artists loses its appeal.

    More importantly, in the end people have to work first and foremost and they migrate to where the jobs are. People are moving away from these cultural centers because economic-creatives can no longer have the freedom they need to create.

    Culture does not produce wealth, it consumes it. The great cultural centers like New York or San Francisco started out as ugly, boring but economically dynamic centers of commerce. Broadway exists because of Wallstreet not the other way around. The cultural bonuses came after business people made their fortunes and hired articulate-intellectuals to come entertain them like bears in the circus.

    Unfortunately, the entertainers have taken over and we see the predictable economic three ring circus. Eventually, the cultural advantages will disappear because they have not economic-creatives won’t be their to pay for it.

    Culture will follow business. It may take a while but it will happen.

    1. I grew up when I was young in a small town and had a pony and dogs and the like as well. I then moved to a big town when I was around ten. Things were a lot more fun in the small town.

      “I think the supposed “boredom” of red states, especially rural areas, arises because the people declaring that boredom tend to be articulate-intellectuals would structure their entire lives around manipulating other people by talking at them e.g. Nick Gillespie.”

      That would be a tactful non-vulgar way of saying small towns are only boring if your idea of entertainment is sitting around with a group of friends smelling your own farts. Bravo on the brutal tackdown.

  28. I live in the socially liberal area of a (quasi) economically liberal state. It works out fairly well. Property taxes suck, but they are laughable low compared to many areas of the country.

    And we have a gay libertarian deputy mayor.

    1. A gay libertarian deputy mayor walks into a bar…

      1. Punch line: No that’s just frost on my mustache

  29. Living in bumfuck isn’t boring. When you can shoot rifles off your back porch, you have no excuse to be bored. Ever.

    1. I grew up in bumfuck and I find it incredibly boring. But that’s a quality I possess, not bumfuck.

      Being an only child didn’t help.

      1. I assumed you and Epi were Siamese twins. Is he your parasitic twin, then?

        1. We were each other’s parasitic twin.

  30. As every child used to learn in the old days, the golden goose only has a finite number of eggs that she can lay.

    1. In fact, that’s the opposite of the moral of the story of the golden goose.

      If that were the moral, then killing the goose would be more sensible, since the eggs were going to run out anyway.

    2. The point was, if you get greedy and try to get everything at once, you might wind up losing the things you would have gotten if you’d been more patient.

  31. Best place to live is Minneapolis. Low unemployment, educated populace, Forbe just ranked it the number 1 safest major city in the US. Good restaurants, theater, NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, parks galore, lakes, fishing, skiing, snowmobiling…

    And if you work downtown, there’s 80+ blocks connected by skyways so you don’t even have to go outside during the eight months out of the year when it’s 600 degrees below zero.

  32. I’m not sure the influx of young, educated people to work at BOA and Wachovia headquarters in Charlotte between 2006-08, i.e., at the absolute height of the bubble, is really that good an example of the Sun Belt being the future.

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