Not everyone in Blue State America is moving to a far healthier Red State. It only seems that way. But enough are doing so to say, without a doubt, it is one of the most significant trends in America today. A revolution of sorts.
It’s long been known in demography and population economics that people leave areas known for authoritarian tyranny, stagnation, stultification, crime and excessive regulation in order to find the opposite somewhere else: economic freedom, dynamism, social diversity and good government.
It’s a big reason why literally hundreds of millions of people around the world have expressed their desire to emigrate to the U.S.
But it’s also true within countries, too.
Amid a backdrop of slow overall population growth, a problem in itself, comes the mass exodus of more than a million Americans moving largely from Blue States to Red States, expressing dissatisfaction with high taxes, rampant crime, lockdowns, vaccine mandates, excessive state government regulations, a politically stifling “woke” culture, and lack of economic opportunity and freedom.
Taken together, from 2010 to 2019, Census data show, the top 10 mostly Blue States lost 845,000 citizens, while the top 10 mostly Red States gained just over 1 million. In short, as the Blue State model crashes, the Red State model soars.
As the American Enterprise Institute’s Mark Perry recently noted in a tweet: “Americans are moving from high-tax, forced-unionism, business-unfriendly blue states like CA and NY with high housing costs to low-tax, right-to-work, economically vibrant, business-friendly red states with lower housing costs like FL and TX.”
This was not just Perry’s opinion. He did the math.
He looked at a set of 14 demographic, economic and regulatory data, in the table below. What jumps out is that it’s clear Red States, often led by moderate Republican governors, outperform the Blue States when it comes to their economic dynamism.
Source: Mark Perry, AEI, Carpe Diem blog
The U.S. Census and Perry are not alone. Yet another measure of the Blue State exodus is the U-Haul Growth Index, a yearly report that gauges the net number of U-Haul trucks leaving and entering a state. It’s a measure of that state’s raw emigration rate.
This year, no surprise here, the top 5 were all Red States — Texas, Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee and Arizona. The bottom 5 included California, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Alabama.
U-Haul doesn’t mince words in its description of the meaning of its data, saying ” “the U-Haul Growth Index is an effective gauge of how well cities are both attracting and maintaining residents.”
U-Haul also noted that the data would have looked even worse, but they literally ran out of equipment in California, so large was the demand to leave.
So what does all this mean, exactly? First, it can no longer be denied, particularly by the left, that the Blue State model is no longer attractive to Americans. They’re leaving in droves.
But it also portends major shifts in America’s voting clout. If, as recent trends in Florida show, those who move to a Red State are more likely to register with the dominant Republican Party than the Democratic alternative, it means Red States will get redder, while Blue States get bluer.
Because of the Red States’ population growth, their relative clout in future elections should be bigger. They’ll have more seats in the House of Representatives and, assuming it’s a trend across most states, it might turn Congress slightly more to the right of the political spectrum.
It also means that the economic dynamism that often accompanies large influxes of immigrants will make the largest Red States more innovative and economically diverse.
That’s already happening in Texas, which is now challenging California as the engine of national economic growth after California’s first-ever two-year loss in population in 2019 and 2020. The Golden State’s ongoing drain of jobs and businesses will soon diminish its economy to a husk of what it once was.
Right now, there’s a lot of talk, mostly on the left, about a coming “Civil War” in the U.S. as Americans increasingly split into two angry, culturally antagonistic right-left camps. This talk is mirrored by the continuing flood of people moving from Blue to Red.
But the fact is, our country, since its founding, has always used the right to move and relocate in any state (and even earlier, to unsettled territories) as a de facto political pressure release. As we expanded, that right became ever-more precious and useful.
That Americans can vote with their feet, as we noted, is a big thing. Choice is a big thing.
America is changing. But maybe not how the far left thinks. Once-dominant Blue Cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and even mighty New York are, sadly, in decline. These are facts. States and cities that haven’t embraced the poisonous theory that more government, more taxes, more regulation, more bureaucratic control, more woke schools are what we need, are thriving.
It’s not a civil war. Call it the U-Haul Revolution. No shots fired. Just people moving for personal freedom and growth.
— Written by the I&I Editorial Board