by Ryan Streeter on February 3, 2013. Follow Ryan on Twitter.
America’s competitive federalism sets it apart from other countries. As states, we compete with each other for jobs, investment, and people.
This important article by Joel Kotkin shows us why the South is a force to be reckoned with, even as elites disparage the region. For states like mine, Indiana, it’s a good reminder why we need to continue to sharpen our competitive edge:
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.
These trends suggest that 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.
Perhaps more importantly, these states are nurturing families, in contrast to the Great Lakes states, the Northeast and California. Texas, for example, has increased its under 10 population by over 17% over the past decade; all the former confederate states, outside of Katrina-ravaged Mississippi and Louisiana, gained between 5% and 10%. On the flip side, under 10 populations declined in Illinois, Michigan, New York and California. Houston, Austin, Dallas, Charlotte, Atlanta and Raleigh also saw their child populations rise by at least twice the 10% rate of the rest country over the past decade while New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston and Chicago areas experienced declines.
Why are people moving to what the media tends to see as a backwater? In part, 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. A recent analysis by Trulia projects the edge will widen in the rest of this decade, sparked by such factors as lower costs and warmer weather.