Politics

When Growth Grinds to a Halt

California slides from dynamism to stasis.

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I was born inside a growth machine.

California in 1968 had a population of 19.4 million, double what it was at the end of World War II, which was itself triple what it had been at the end of World War I. My north Long Beach neighborhood was mostly alfalfa fields in the late 1940s; by the end of the '50s, it was part of the biggest suburban subdivision west of Levittown. The numbers confound the modern mind: 50 tract houses built per day, 107 homes purchased in a single hour, a city that went from zero to 70,000 residents in just three years.

Relentless, exuberant expansion, along with the salesmanship it requires, was baked into everything: sports, politics, real estate, art. Our baseball home team was the Angels, the first Major League Baseball expansion club in 60 years, owned by the "singing cowboy" Gene Autry, a serial media entrepreneur. We lived three miles from the car dealership of Cal Worthington, whose "Go See Cal!" late-night commercials—in which he'd stand on his head until his ears turned red, usually next to his "dog" Spot, who was often a tiger—were so famous that he became a regular on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show. Worthington, too, had made a separate fortune in radio broadcasting, helping midwife the region's country-western music scene.

Dynasties were built selling Southern California as the healthy, horizontal, autonomous alternative to the tubercular, vertical, anonymous cramp back east. Places of dubious aesthetic appeal were prettied up with fanciful names like Garden Grove and the Inland Empire. Here was a broad middle class living the dream of homeownership, good-paying aerospace jobs, stylish automotive personalization, and year-round recreation.

Cultural critics may have scoffed at the "booster" class of local ribbon cutters, and Hollywood may have developed an entire lucrative subgenre of films about the noir behind the sunshine, but there was no denying the pervasiveness of the Gold Rush mentality. From its 1848 incorporation, the Golden State grew at a rate at least 2.5 times faster than the rest of the country, right up until 1990. What happened then?

The 1970s and '80s saw the rise of "slow growth" policies up and down the West Coast. In Santa Barbara, where I first started reporting in the late 1980s, these shackles on new development had predictable results: The local population was cemented at 90,000, tent cities sprang up wherever they were tolerated, and the median home price vaulted toward $1 million. As long as you had bought early, learned to avoid certain neighborhoods, and didn't mind inward-looking politics, it was a pretty good deal.

This pattern has been repeating itself for three decades now, as the sidewalk shanties bloom and every neighboring state welcomes the U-Haul traffic. The combined population of Oregon, Nevada, and Arizona has nearly doubled from 7.7 million in 1990 to 14.5 million today.

April 2021 brought the shocking if long-predicted news from the U.S. Census Bureau that California, for the first time in its history, would be losing a congressional seat after decennial reapportionment. A delegation-count trend that seemed like it would defy gravity forever— 2-3-4-6-7-8-11-20-23-30-38-43-45-52—instead stalled out in 1990, inching up to 53 for 2000 and 2010 before retreating back to 52.

Like New York, which lost a congressional seat by the narrowest of head-counting margins, California did not lose population from 2010 to 2020—a fact waved around like a battle flag by the sizable left-leaning journalistic corps on both coasts. It merely failed to keep pace with the rest of the country.

But 2020 itself is a different story. As census tabulations received further refinement in May, the unthinkable became reality: For the first time in recorded history, California's population shrank from one year to another. More than 182,000 people—roughly two Santa Barbaras, or one Rancho Cucamonga—vanished during that COVID-scarred year.

"This is a sea change," Public Policy Institute of California Senior Fellow Hans Johnson told The New York Times. "Of course there is the asterisk—the effects of the pandemic—but the bigger picture, that California is now a slow-growing state, that's not going away."

Because our political conversation tends to be tribal and myopic, much of the discussion of census results centered on immediate partisan winners and losers and competing interpretations thereof. Joining the elite coastal states in the loser column were Rust Belt bleeders Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Illinois. Gaining were Montana, Colorado, Oregon, North Carolina, Florida, and Texas (which picked up two seats). On the crude scale of the 2020 presidential map, that's a loss of three seats for Team Biden.

But a longer view reveals a more instructive—and cautionary—tale, one worth reflecting on as the country's overall growth rate slows to levels not seen since the dreary 1930s.

Population trends in the developed world reveal the health of a given polity. The former industrial strongholds of Detroit, Baltimore, Cleveland, and St. Louis were ranked fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth in U.S. population as recently as 1950; now they are 26th, 31st, 54th, and 69th, respectively. The decline has been devastating to many of the people left behind.

As Japan can testify, treading demographic water also comes with costs. When a previously growth-oriented society goes flat, politics gets crabby and provincial, as people start squabbling over slices of the pie. After California achieved and then rested at 12 percent of the U.S. population in 1990, that stasis launched a new political era of recrimination—first against resource-consuming illegal immigrants, then against the Republicans who had demonized them, then against the money-squandering Gov. Gray Davis (D), then against the union-tweaking Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), and now potentially against the pandemic-bungling Gov. Gavin Newsom (D).

Stasis in America, particularly in states with wealth-generating economic clusters (like Silicon Valley and Hollywood in California or media and finance in New York), is a recipe for homelessness and middle-class flight. Progressive environmental regulations and other restrictions on development, enacted in the spirit of curbing the excesses of runaway growth, send housing costs skyward.

Two mostly external factors are largely responsible for pressing California's (and New York's) population numbers down: the Trump administration's severe cutbacks on legal immigration (many of which only really got started in 2020 and will stretch on into the future) and the pandemic-triggered spike in telecommuting away from office clusters. Yet local policy choices exacerbate both phenomena. Housing unaffordability is a repellant.

That is one reason Texas is alone in gaining two congressional seats after this census. The Lone Star State and Florida, both of which receive a disproportionate amount of policy scorn from coastal elites, have gone from having essentially the same combined population as California in 1990 (29.9 million vs. 29.8 million) to opening up a commanding lead of 50.7 million to 39.5 million. At 2020 rates, Texas will catch California in population by 2035 or so.

This result, appalling as it is to California ears, should be a wake-up call. Those who value the types of culture and commerce created by dynamism should follow the lead of the working and middle classes by seeking it elsewhere.

NEXT: Brickbat: Caught on Camera

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  1. You almost made it through an entire column rightly blaming Progressives for something without bashing Trump. Almost.

    1. That’s just not the Reason Way.

      1. Meh, he forgot to mention the fact that approximately 33 percent of all federal welfare scheme transfers go to a state with approximately 12 percent of the U.S. population.

        Maybe he’s taking about growth of federal welfare transfers?

    2. If you’re going to explain why a state like California has stopped growing, then slowing immigration over the past years is going to be part of the picture. It’d be malpractice to talk about one without mentioning the other.

      1. A.) Even Welch points out that many of those policies didn’t come into effect until 2020, which is the same year the census was performed.

        B.) There was no such legal impetus preventing *internal* immigration to California. People just stopped doing it themselves.

        C.) Even if legal migration was halted entirely, that isn’t necessarily going to make the population numbers go *down*. Well, maybe in New York, depending on how many old folks were sent to the Covid showers by Cuomo.

        1. Hard working Immigrants, with earned income, do not like paying income taxes for kickbacks to those without earned income.

        2. “Two mostly external factors are largely responsible for pressing California’s (and New York’s) population numbers down: the Trump administration’s severe cutbacks on legal immigration (many of which only really got started in 2020 and will stretch on into the future) and the pandemic-triggered spike in telecommuting away from office clusters.”

          Not in New York’s case. The last time NY broke even in the Census was 1940. Every decade since, 1950, ’60, ’70, ’80, ’90, 2000, ’10, and ’20, the state lost Representatives. They’ll go into 2022 with 19 fewer seats than in 1942. That’s an 80-year trend.

          Over the same time Florida and Texas have consistently gained seats, with Florida up 22 and Texas up 17.

      2. California stopped growing in 1990, 26 years before President Trump took office.

    3. He can’t help himself.

    4. It’s telling you perceived a bashing where there was only a neutral observation. Always with the victimhood.

    5. It’s a reasonable thing to comment on. It was a policy that had an effect, let’s move on. It was hardly bashing.

      1. If you don’t always bash Democrats and don’t always praise Trump then you’re a dirty commie who needs to be killed. Didn’t you get the memo?

    6. Cry more, loser.

      1. Lol the elephant in the room is that name of the loser is California.

        And the biggest loser will be known as “Socialism”.

    7. Everyone agrees that it was Trump policies that created the mass exodus from California.

      1. Everyone inside your bubble agrees? Thats nice. Enjoy it while it lasts.

      2. Again, I would definitely discard this iteration of Truthteller as a brokem protoype and move on. It just doesn’t do what it says on the box.

  2. “every neighboring state welcomes the U-Haul traffic.”

    Bullshit.

    1. There’s a difference between “welcomes” and “isn’t legally allowed to prohibit”.

    2. Between 2000 and 2020, Nevada population has tripled. You don’t think much of that has to do with California movers?

      1. Sorry, it didn’t triple. But still grew an impressive 60%.

      2. My point is entirely about the use of the word “welcomes”. Neighboring states certainly *accept* incoming traffic from California. That’s not the same as actually welcoming it.

      3. That is one of the reasons the Oakland Raiders moved there. Less expensive, Vegas would build them a stadium using tourist revenue AND California was still close enough that CA fans would make the trip to see ‘their’ team.

        1. Don’t forget that they can also spend less for a given player: The average annual salary for an Oakland Raider is over $3 million. California’s income tax will take $270,000 of it. Nevada doesn’t have income tax. This puts the Raiders in a better bargaining position when it comes to player’s salary negotiations.

          1. Only 270K? The California income tax rate is 13.3% if you earn over 1 million, not 9%. Although out of state games don’t count I think, because visiting players get taxed at California rates for games played in the state. It’s why even Newsom was for allowing fan-less games to be played in California last year. (Even though Santa Clara county took it upon themselves to lock out the 49ers.)

            1. “Only 270K? The California income tax rate is 13.3% if you earn over 1 million, not 9%.”

              So it’s gone up since I left there. Not surprising.

              And I was aware that games played in the State are already taxed, but moving to Vegas would still reduce the player’s tax burden, and prove more cost-friendly to the team, as well.

    3. We need a common sense “cooling off” period before Californians can vote in their new home states. Maybe something like 10 years?

      1. Why? People don’t leave California because they like its Democratic government, and want to recreate it in their new home state.

        1. They may not want to, but its often the result of the “vote blue no matter who” attitude they carry with them

          1. “vote blue no matter who”

            Surely you’re not suggesting that they vote for a *shudders* ReTHUGliKKKan Nazi?! /sarc

          2. A lot of the people fleeing are not the Dem voters.
            The main reasons for leaving are:
            1. high home prices (caused by anti-growth policies)
            2. high taxes (thanks to the Dems)
            3. one-party rule (and the bad policies it generates)

            1. Call it personal perspective of my area; Tell it to all the use-to-be [R] cities that got invaded by Californians and are now mostly [D] cities.

              Stupid is fixable; Ignorant + Stupid leave’s no room for learning and most Democrats carry around a bigger Ignorant-Card than their Stupid-Card. There not horrible people; they’re just unknowingly secretly Ignorant and Stupid.

              Generally played out as, “I know I’m Stupid and Ignorant; but my ’emotions’ won’t let me accept the truth.” They’re like cults who all commit suicide to “save” themselves from their emotional turmoil.

        2. Tell that to Arizona…

          1. Same with New Hampshire and the metro Boston refugees.

        3. CA who leave bring their baggage of arrogance and coastal elitism with them. And the entirety of politics in CA – all sides – is utter crap

          1. “arrogance and coastal elitism”, that pegs it pretty well.

            [WE] destroyed CA but [WE] are still right and everyone else needs our ‘expert’ guidance to save them from themselves.

            Tax-Payer funded arrogance 101….

        4. https://www.texastribune.org/2013/03/11/polling-center-californias-conservative-migration/

          “First, these newcomers, on average, tend to be conservative. Pooling [sic] data from the May 2012 and February 2013 UT/Tribune surveys, we found that 57 percent of these California transplants consider themselves to be conservative, while only 27 percent consider themselves to be liberal (a fair guess as to the margin of error is somewhere around +/- 7 percentage points).”

          1. exactly, the liberals are happy to remain in the paradise they are creating in California, or too broke to leave.

          2. lmao… “and though the actual number of these people is but a small subsample of our survey”

            How to tell the world the data is cherry-picked without making it blatantly obvious. I live in a CA invaded city; every one of them carries the Nazi’s (def; National Socialist) ideology.

        5. Bullshit. That they leave because the policies they prefer negatively impact them does not mean they learned a fucking thing. Look at all of the bleating about “they didn’t do communism correctly” for examples.

  3. This result, appalling as it is to California ears, should be a wake-up call.

    Forget the wake-up call.
    Move Reason to Texas.

    1. Reason seems content living inside the beltway.

      1. Or below the belt.

  4. Not once did he give the proper credit to the Democratic Party for the mess they made out of California.

    1. No one wants to admit their baby is ugly.

      1. How in the world is California’s Democratic Party Matt Welch’s baby?

        1. How in the world is jan 6 trumps baby? Wanna have it and eat it too?

      2. That baby has anencephaly. Only a sick fuck would cling to it.

  5. Sheep are gregarious so they flock to where other sheep are located.

  6. It’s called “killing the goose that lays the golden eggs”. Most of what government does isn’t a necessity, it’s a luxury – no matter how much people proclaim that people are “entitled” to these goods. The only way to pay for these luxuries is to siphon off some of the revenue generated by commerce. As long as businesses are thriving and growing and you limit the percentage of the revenue you’re siphoning off, you can do pretty well. When you start getting the relationship between business and government backward and start thinking it’s government that allows businesses to thrive rather than the other way around, when you start draining off more revenue than businesses can sustain, bad things happen.

    Unfortunately, it’s this habit of thinking government is the driver of the economy rather than the beneficiary that gets you into this mess, but that same habit causes you to look to government to solve the problem created by looking to government to solve problems. You’re calling for more government to solve the problem of too much government.

    You have to recognize that government is a parasite and, while a healthy body can sustain a certain amount of ticks and fleas and tapeworms, when the parasites get too big they start affecting the health of the host and prescribing more parasites is not going to help the situation.

    1. So government should fund a commission of political appointees to study this with the goal of implementing their recommended corrective actions? This commission should travel to other (approved) states to see in person what is happening there.

      1. Easier to just fire half the bureaucracy.

    2. prescribing more parasites is not going to help the situation

      You mean bleeding the patient with leeches isn’t a valid medical practice?

    3. ” When you start getting the relationship between business and government backward and start thinking it’s government that allows businesses to thrive rather than the other way around, when you start draining off more revenue than businesses can sustain, bad things happen. ”

      Isn’t the Hoover dam an example of government allowing business to thrive? California agriculture, for example. It’s not glamorous like Hollywood or Silicon Valley so doesn’t merit a mention in the article, but it’s nevertheless a huge slice of the California economy and completely reliant on the energy and irrigation supplied by the Hoover dam.

      1. If it was worth it the businesses would build it. And if not, the businesses would thrive somewhere else. If the Cali agri didn’t exist there would be more agri somewhere else. So what if Cali population and business never boomed, it would boom somewhere else. Of course, a lot of businesses figure why invest our own money when we can get the gov to do it?

        1. “If it was worth it the businesses would build it. ”

          Businesses did build it. But the government paid for it. Two entirely different things. A project like the Hoover dam is simply too fraught with risk for private enterprise to undertake. Same with the early space program but even riskier.

          “And if not, the businesses would thrive somewhere else. ”

          But where? Almonds are a big part of California’s agricultural production. They have very specific needs and something like 80% of the world’s supply comes from California. Iowa and Nebraska are two of America’s heavy weights in agriculture, but their cold winters preclude serious attempts at almond production. The notion that almond production would be viable ‘somewhere else’ is simply naive and uninformed.

          1. Almonds are a bad example of government doing good. They are soaking up all the water.

            1. It’s not meant to be an example of government doing good. It’s an example of business (the almond business) thriving thanks to government intervention (the Hoover dam). It’s meant to refute Jerryskids idea that government is a parasite on business. Here we have an example of one of California’s most profitable and successful businesses existed solely thanks to government action. That’s not how parasites work.

      2. That all you got? An 80 year old public works project? How’s that desalination plant going? And all those new nuclear power plants?

        1. They’re too preoccupied with the goddamn trains.

        2. “That all you got?”

          One Hoover dam seems to have been enough until now. As I mentioned, thanks to the water provided by the project, California was able to propel itself into the position of providing 80% of the world’s almonds. It was possible because of the government made it possible. With a tip of the hat to farm workers, of course. Nothing would have happened almond wise without their fine contributions, it must be said.

        3. But… But…. ” I found a needle in the haystack!!! ” – they scream…
          Never-mind; business put the needle there by both sides (taxation and creation). What was the **purpose** of ARMING the project (i.e. throwing in Gov-Guns)???

          Oh wait; That’s right **ENSLAVEMENT** purposes.

    4. And the biggest luxury the government provides is millions of make work unionized government jobs with pensions and health care to employ those who reliably vote for more government and fund the unions who support the politicians who keep giving them more of the same.

      1. You seem grossly misinformed about the conditions of the workers who raise and export California’s almonds.

  7. “Here was a broad middle class living the dream of homeownership, good-paying aerospace jobs, stylish automotive personalization, and year-round recreation.”

    And now almost all of these things are immoral. Recreation is merely suspect, as long as the participants in each activity and group include desired racial diversity.

    1. Recreation is merely suspect, as long as the participants in each activity and group include desired racial diversity.

      And provided the choice of activity is one that can be performed while adhering to “social distancing” guidelines from your benevolent overlords at the CDC and Saint Fauci.

    2. Oh, recreation is fine as long as it’s progressives out enjoying nature. Unless too many people try to get out and enjoy that same nature area with them.

  8. Yeah, once the size of the pie is declared fixed (or even reduced) the fight will be over (re)distribution. And perhaps that inevitably tends towards feudalism–no middle class desired.

  9. Any information about population movements of California’s animals? Like bears, coyotes, wild cats, eagles and the ungulates (hoofed ones) etc. It’s plausible that endless droughts and wild fires are driving them off to other areas quite irrespective of the economic situation facing California’s human residents.

    1. https://wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Mammals/Black-Bear/Population#:~:text=California's%20black%20bear%20population%20has,be%20between%2030%2C000%20and%2040%2C000.

      “California’s black bear population has increased over the past 25 years. In 1982, the statewide bear population was estimated to be between 10,000 and 15,000. Presently, the statewide black bear population is conservatively estimated to be between 30,000 and 40,000.”

      All the grizzlies are long gone, sadly.

      1. “Presently, the statewide black bear population is conservatively estimated to be between 30,000 and 40,000.”

        My rough calculations indicate that’s one black bear entering California for every six humans leaving.

        “All the grizzlies are long gone, sadly.”

        There’s an interesting account of navigator William Barents’ failed attempts to discover a north east passage through the arctic in the late 1500s. They were the first Europeans to encounter polar bears and I think they suffered more fatalities from bear attacks than any other cause. The bears even took to living in the ice bound ship during the winter while the crew were forced to make camp on the island of Novaya Zemlya.
        http://library.lol/main/08C3F32CDB42967139E636E03B95042B

        1. >he bears even took to living in the ice bound ship during the winter while the crew were forced to make camp on the island

          Just know that, if your housecat was larger, they’d do the same thing to take over the master bedroom.

  10. Because our political conversation tends to be tribal and myopic, much of the discussion of census results centered on immediate partisan winners and losers and competing interpretations thereof.

    But fear not! Matt Welch, the mental giant, is going to set all you stupid people right! He will skip right over the “tribal and myopic” divisions between socialists and libertarians and instead present you with a unifying message and deep analysis!

    Matt, you’re an arrogant prick and your analysis is trite and insipid.

  11. Someone I work with has a kid in the Navy and they were helping them move to their new base on the East Coast; told me it costs over $10K to rent a one way truck out of CA, such is the demand.

    1. is round-trip truck and a plane ticket out cheaper?

  12. …and the median home price vaulted toward $1 million. As long as you had bought early, learned to avoid certain neighborhoods, and didn’t mind inward-looking politics, it was a pretty good deal.

    Bloody hell, that really says it all about out here. How long the ‘pretty good deal’ can last is anyone’s guess. I believe looking back historically, it’s going to seem to have vanished in a flash.

    1. I rent a room from a friend who bought this house for $160K 25 years ago. His son will get it when he dies, and won’t have a tax increase. Anyone who wants to come here that doesn’t have that deal is screwed.

      The house two doors up is listed for a million dollars, and they’ll get it. Their taxes will be more than our mortgage. 1250 sq ft, no ocean view, nothing special… just a million dollars because that’s what a house costs here.

      It will have to break somehow. I can’t predict how. I suspect it might be because in 10 years all the boomers will be dying, their kids might be trying to cash out, or.. who knows. Maybe something else. But there aren’t enough good jobs everywhere to sustain a median home price of over $750K, with coastal areas being over a million.

  13. I imagine it looks like a lot like a dragon, eating its tail.

  14. >>right up until 1990. What happened then?

    moved from Yorba Linda to Saint Louis. killed the whole vibe.

    1. >>right up until 1990. What happened then?

      I’m no noble prize winner but the [R] to [D] shift fits the narrative about head-on.

  15. >>the Trump administration’s severe cutbacks on legal immigration

    did someone else base your article on population dropping since 1990 or did you try to blame T for a 30-year trend?

    1. LOL… ^^THIS… No-one can reason why TDS runs so rampant except to say it’s all B.S. lefty-propaganda indoctrination run-amok out of fear of loosing their Nazi Government Powers.

  16. Stagnation or much slower growth is an interesting phenomenon. It’s actually not bad for retired older people who’ve owned their homes a long time and built up their retirement accounts. It’s true that their kids may be struggling with buying a house, or even just living in an environment with fewer opportunities than they had, so maybe they move to Texas and seeing the grandkids will require a couple of trips each year. But the weather remains largely good, and if traffic decreases a bit, what’s not to like? California’s progressive philosophy basically boils down to “my life will be diminished if we let you live like me”. I don’t see it changing, and I’m comfortably situated, so I suppose I should enjoy it. It is rough on the youngsters trying to start out, but mine will inherit well one day.

    Illinois has been declining a lot longer than California, and there don’t appear to be many signs of it abating any time soon.

  17. California, for the first time in its history, would be losing a congressional seat after decennial reapportionment…Like New York, which lost a congressional seat by the narrowest of head-counting margins, California did not lose population from 2010 to 2020

    This is where you can see that regular citizens are harmed with a zero-sum congress. Fewer representatives but more people. Of course this is nothing compared to the general increase in population or suffrage – all with zero increase in representation. But it’s the only sort of harm that in theory I suppose could get standing in court.

    Course that won’t happen

    1. Also it bears mentioning that one can be counted for congressional seat apportionment yet be 100% ineligible to vote, or even ineligible to be in the country at all.

      Make sense? Of course not.

      1. “Also it bears mentioning that one can be counted for congressional seat apportionment yet be 100% ineligible to vote”

        Anyone under 18, for example.

    2. Or we could launch California as an independent spin-off. I’m surprised it didn’t pass long ago.

  18. What the fuck did people think the progressives meant when they started talking about ‘degrowth’?

    They want to fuck the economy and kill a ton of people. You know, for mother earth.

    And that’s it, in a nutshell.

    1. So a fecundity project? Can add lefty shits to the soil first.

  19. Vote for fascists, get fascism; whodathunkit?

  20. The cycle is entirely normal. The rust belt went down for other reasons but people just moved out and went to where there was more opportunity.

    California has high taxes, high property prices, a housing shortage. New opportunities are opening up elsewhere so that is where people go.

    Where did this idea come from that growth must go on forever and is even necessarily a good thing.

    1. The cycle is entirely normal. The rust belt went down for other reasons but people just moved out and went to where there was more opportunity.

      That cycle is entirely normal but is exactly what has been broken. Specifically the ability to move. We have the lowest mobility rate now (or at least pre-2020) than anytime since WW2 (when census housing surveys first captured that info). That is merely the outcome rather the cause but it is an outcome that itself has downstream effects that are self-reinforcing (iow the less we move, the higher the barriers we erect to moving in future).

      I know one huge cause of that decline is the lack of (meaning large absolute decline in) that sort of housing. But there are other causes of why that is broken – and a lot of unmentioned subsidies/distortions that have caused it

  21. Was clicking this to listen to the concert of butthurt lefty bumfucks. 😀 Keep going please, it’s still a little quiet at the moment.

  22. We escaped from Californication to WY 12 years ago, couldn’t take the extreme cold, but loved the politics and no income tax. Moved to NV after one year (no income tax) but not happy with the progressive politics. Considering TX, FL is too muggy.
    I would move to the North Pole if it were libertarian.
    If you told me 40 years ago China would be more capitalist than the US Empire is now, I would have laughed.

  23. “Of course there is the asterisk—the effects of the pandemic”

    Except the Census counted where people lived on April 1, 2020, before the Covid migration was on the horizon.

  24. I wouldn’t move to CA because I’m in tech and Si Valley is too close to wildfires. They get the smoke there. Also housing prices too high as mentioned. I work remotely with CA folks all the time with no problem. I wouldn’t move to TX either. I don’t like extreme heat and humidity in the summer. Would rather have cold winters. FL is disgusting in the summer too.

    Altogether I’m happy with my east coast blue state, despite the taxes. No droughts, I bought my house when it was affordable, and the liberal government policies don’t really impact my life. I guess if I was starting a small business, I’d go somewhere else. Big business is doing o.k. here, especially health care.

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