Where is the land of opportunity for America’s two most aspirational groups, millennials and immigrants?

by Ryan Streeter on March 20, 2015. Follow Ryan on Twitter.

The renewed movement of population to the Sunbelt suggests that the South, and parts of the West, will continue to gain influence. California, although clearly still a powerhouse, appears to have passed its demographic apogee and increasingly resembles the slow-growth states of the Northeast.

That’s from this January article by Joel Kotkin and Wendell Cox that I was re-reading this morning. Their claim is based on an analysis of where millennials, the largest generational group in America’s history, and immigrants have been moving, and which regional economies are growing the fastest. Did you know that half of the nation’s fastest-growing technology companies are in the south?

The importance of this development is more than just the numbers. It’s what the numbers show about two of the nation’s most aspirational groups: rising young workers with their entire careers ahead of them, and immigrants who have come to the land of opportunity to make a life.

Regarding young workers, when you look at where 25-34 year olds are moving at the fastest clip, you find the top 6 states:

are all in the South – Nashville, Tenn., San Antonio, Austin, Houston, Orlando, Fla., and Jacksonville, Fla. Their ranks of young, educated workers have grown more strongly than in coastal California or Northeastern metropolitan areas. Some locales, such as Portland, Ore., and San Diego, which have prided themselves as magnets for young educated people, seem to be losing their appeal.

Regarding newcomers:

Immigrants have accounted for roughly 40 percent of the country’s population growth during 2010-14. Once heavily concentrated in the Northeast and California, immigrants now also appear to be heading to the lower-cost regions of the South and Texas. Indeed, since 2010, the Southeast – including Texas – has led the nation in terms of newcomers, adding 1.5 million immigrants to their populations. This is roughly 50 percent more than the migration to either the Northeast or the West Coast.

Austin, SF, and Tel Aviv top the list of top tech cities

by Ryan Streeter on March 2, 2015. Follow Ryan on Twitter.

Austin, San Francisco and Tel Aviv are the top ranking cities for tech companies, according to a report by international real estate advisor Savills. Proving small cities are big hitters on the global stage.

That’s from Savill’s new global report on the best tech cities.

Here are the top cities:

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I’ve heard a few comments about this report here in my new hometown, Austin. They are pretty much in the “well, yeah, of course” category.

People in Austin seem to be used ranking on top of this-or-that list, so they don’t really dwell on it. They are just looking for the next thing to do and achieve.

As a new guy in Austin, I find the rankings more interesting than the people I’m bumping into in this-or-that food truck court.

The release on the report also says:

[S]maller cities with their significant creative population offer some things that mega cities just can’t.  City living on a smaller footprint can give residents shorter commute (Savills finds the average commute for tech cities employees is 31 minutes), accessibly by bike, easier to access amenities and a better work/life balance – but with all the buzz of larger urban centres.  Austin has also seen recent population growth, GDP growth, and house price growth – its stand out economic growth rivals the bigger cities and the median average age is only 31 years.

As someone who’s older than the “median average age” and who rides his bike to work, I can affirm that Austin is a special place. People here complain about the traffic all the time, but having lived in Chicago, Washington DC, Atlanta, and London, I can only say the commute here is still way better than it is in most large global cities.  And access to fantastic food and music per square foot is off the charts compared to the other cities on that chart above.

I haven’t lived in San Francisco, but I’ve spent a summer there. I’d still say “move to Austin” if you had a choice between the two.

A generation of change: How America has changed for 18-34 year olds in 2 charts

by Ryan Streeter on February 28, 2015. Follow Ryan on Twitter.

I was re-reading this Mark Perry post and struck by the stories the following two charts tell. Read the whole post for Perry’s more detailed analysis.

Screen Shot 2015-02-28 at 2.29.31 PMIf the preceding chart shows how much the rising generation has change in terms of income, race, ethnicity, and family patterns, the following shows how the geography of opportunity has shifted from manufacturing centers to knowledge centers:

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Rubio and Summers as a guide to 2016

by Ryan Streeter on February 13, 2015. Follow Ryan on Twitter.

The biggest philosophical difference between Rubio and Summers is this: Rubio sees government as a bridge helping people to get into the marketplace, while the Summers document argues that the marketplace is structurally flawed throughout and that government has to be a partner all the way along.

That’s David Brooks using Marco Rubio’s book and Larry Summers’ new paper as a guide to the philosophical dividing lines going into 2016.

Reading the column brought to mind John Micklethwait’s parting column at the Economist last month.

Two great debates are forming that will redefine liberalism. The first is to do with inequality. A more open society, where global markets increase the rewards for the talented, is fast becoming a less equal one. As this newspaper pointed out last week, the clever are marrying the clever and manically educating their children, making it ever harder for the poor to catch up. Liberals should resist the left’s inclination to punish the talented and somehow to mandate equality. But in the name of equal opportunity, progressives need to hack away at unnecessary privileges…But [progressives of the 19th century] also believed in a smaller state. This is the second debate forming around liberalism, and a dilemma: for although this newspaper wants government’s role to be limited, some of the remedies for inequality involve the state doing more, not less…The answer is to scale down government, but to direct it more narrowly and intensely. In Europe, America and Japan the state still tries to do too much, and therefore does it badly. Leviathan has sprawled, invading our privacy, dictating the curve of a banana and producing tax codes of biblical length. With each tax break for the already rich and with each subsidy to this business or that pressure group, another lobby is formed, and democracy suffers.

It seems that Rubio and Summers generally agree on the first dilemma, that of unequal economic growth. And it is their disagreement on the 2nd point, namely the scope of the state, that will define much of the debate leading up to 2016.

Texas and Florida win, Illinois and New York lose…again

by Ryan Streeter on February 11, 2015. Follow Ryan on Twitter.

Internal migration is the major force for redistribution of population across states. In numbers, the big gaining states are to Texas and Florida, as has been the case for quite a while, but there are strong gains in Colorado and Arizona as well. In terms of migration gains, increasingly prominent are North and South Carolina and Tennessee, and even Washington.  The biggest losing states are again as they have been for some time:  New York, Illinois, New Jersey, California (to other states in the west), Pennsylvania, and Michigan.

That’s from this New Geography piece by Richard Morrill.

I’ve long been fascinated with the economic, political, and cultural factors behind domestic and international migration. Why do some states or countries lose people while others gain?

I’ve written a few times about Texas’s dominance, especially compared with California, since they are the two largest states in America. Little did I know while writing those posts that I would move to Austin, Texas one day. My family and I arrived in the Republic of Texas at the very end of December 2014. So I’ve helped contribute to that big black dot you see here:

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Why inequality isn’t a winning theme for GOPers

by Ryan Streeter on February 9, 2015. Follow Ryan on Twitter.

My guess is that Republican politicians almost all care more about raising the middle-class standard of living than about reducing inequality. Since voters do, too, maybe that’s what those politicians should talk about.

That’s Ramesh Ponnuru in today’s New York Times on why talking about inequality is not a winning strategy for Republicans.  Mobility and expanded opportunity are what most Americans care about, and they are looking for candidates who have workable ideas on those topics.

Urbanization update: 52% of the world’s population lives in cities with more than 500,000 people

by Ryan Streeter on February 8, 2015. Follow Ryan on Twitter.

Wendell Cox at Demographia does all of us a service each year by tracking the growth of the world’s urban areas. For the first time in world history a few years ago, the world’s population turned majority urban. Its explosive growth each year is amazing.

In his latest report, Cox reports that Tokyo is up to nearly 38 million people. Jakarta is at nearly 31 million, though most population estimates put Jakarta much lower because they exclude Jakarta’s extension into the neighboring regencies. This is what makes Cox’s estimates so valuable: he looks at the actual regional unit and disregards state and other boundaries.

As Cox has pointed out many times, western cities have pretty much fallen behind. Whatever sway they may have because of culture and finance, their numbers pale in comparison to eastern cities. For instance:

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We sorry taxpayers pay for big business to sell stuff to itself

by Ryan Streeter on February 8, 2015. Follow Ryan on Twitter.

Tim Carney at the Washington Examiner is one of the best critics of crony capitalism and corporate money in politics these days.

His piece on the Export-Import Bank’s greatest hits of 2014 includes this line:

70 percent of the money committed by Ex-Im’s largest program went to subsidize one exporter. Caterpillar got a taxpayer-backed loan guarantee to sell equipment to its own foreign subsidiary (emphasis added).

The bank’s lobbyists have long pointed out that it exists to counter the tendency of foreign buyers to purchase from foreign producers.

Here’s another one:

Officials at Ex-Im, under fire from conservatives who want to let its charter expire this year, claim that American businesses need the agency in order to combat foreign governments that subsidize their exporters. China’s government is the villain most often named. But Ex-Im actually gives subsidies to the Chinese government, including an $18.4 million guarantee in April to the Export-Import Bank of China. Some competitor.

Read the article here.

The shrinking middle class

by Ryan Streeter on January 26, 2015. Follow Ryan on Twitter.

The middle class, if defined as households making between $35,000 and $100,000 a year, shrank in the final decades of the 20th century. For a welcome reason, though: More Americans moved up into what might be considered the upper middle class or the affluent. Since 2000, the middle class has been shrinking for a decidedly more alarming reason: Incomes have fallen.

That’s Alicia Parlapiano, Robert Gebeloff, and Shan Carter at The Upshot, in a post with some pretty compelling graphs.  It has a longer companion article in the Times that is also worth reading.

Here’s the main visual on which the rest are based:

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Read the whole thing. I think the following sums up a lot of where the national economic mood is resting these days, though:

Younger households have borne the brunt of the slowdown. Those headed by people aged 30 through 44 are more likely to be lower income — and less likely to be middle income — than in 2000. Older households have done better. With more people working into their late 60s and wages rising for older workers, households headed by people 65 and older are now more likely to be middle or upper income than in the past, though they are still overrepresented in the lower-income group.

America’s job growth since recession comes from Texas

by Ryan Streeter on January 26, 2015. Follow Ryan on Twitter.

Here are some sentences to ponder:

Between the start of the recession in December 2007 and December 2014, the net job increase in America stood at 1.169 million.

During this same period, Texas created 1,444,290 jobs.

The other 49 states and the District of Columbia lost 275,000 jobs when viewed collectively minus Texas.

Therefore, Texas accounts for ALL of the U.S. net employment increase since the Great Recession.

This comes via Mark Perry at AEI, who also provides this graph to help make the point:

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