Friday, February 01, 2013

The South Rising

“Between 2000 and 2010, the population in the eight states without income taxes grew by 18%, while all others grew by 8%; the (then) 22 states with right-to-work laws grew by 15%; the others grew by 6%. Population flowed from north to south, with warm sun and friendly Republican governors. Florida grew by 17.6%, Texas by 20.6%... and New York by 2.1%. (As it grew bluer, [New York] became less important. It has no more electoral votes than does Florida, and it now trails Texas by nine.)”

--Washington Examiner Columnist Noemie Emery

The biggest states with no income tax are in the South. All southern states except Kentucky are right-to-work states; among the industrial states outside the South, only Indiana and Michigan (! as of just last year) are right-to-work.

Joel Kotkin has studied the demographic shift to the South as closely as anyone. Writing in Forbes, Kotkin tells us:
The South still attracts the most domestic migrants of any U.S. region. Last year, it boasted six of the top eight states in terms of net domestic migration — Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee, South Carolina and Georgia. Texas and Florida alone gained 250,000 net migrants. The top four losers were deep blue New York, Illinois, New Jersey and California.
the South will expand its dominance as the nation’s most populous region. In the 1950s, the South, the Northeast and the Midwest each had about the same number of people. Today the region is almost as populous as the Northeast and the Midwest combined. . . it’s because economic growth in the South has outpaced the rest of the country for a generation and the area now constitutes by far the largest economic region in the country.
Why is this happening?
  • Southern states are business friendly, with lower taxes, and less stringent regulations, than states the Northeast or on the West Coast. CEO Magazine says the four best states for business are Texas, Florida, North Carolina and Tennessee. Southern states are also much less unionized, and last year, Texas, Louisiana, Georgia and North Carolina were four of the top six destinations for new corporate facilities. 
  • The education gap is shrinking, particularly in metropolitan areas. Over the past decade, the number of college graduates in Austin and Charlotte grew by 50%; Baton Rouge, Nashville, Houston, Tampa, Dallas, and Atlanta by 35% or more. They easily eclipsed the performance of “brain centers” Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Chicago. 
  • Many of these new educated residents come from places such as New York, Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles, bringing diplomas, skills and high wage jobs with them. They are attracted by jobs, lower housing prices, lower taxes, and a more affordable quality of life. 
Kotkin concludes that we should expect Southern influence to grow. "It is more likely that the culture of the increasingly child-free northern tier and the slow-growth coasts will, to evoke the past, be the ones gone with the wind."

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