The American Interest
Analysis by Walter Russell Mead & Staff
Americans Flocking South and West to Red State Boom

As the shock of the recession fades and the US energy miracle gets underway, Americans are migrating south and west in search of opportunity. The US Census Bureau reports that the Great Plains and Texas are experiencing the country’s most rapid population growth. Thanks to the energy boom, strong hiring growth, rising home prices, and other factors, the Northeast and Midwest are bleeding domestic migrants bound for cities like Austin, Orlando, Phoenix, Denver, and Raleigh. The WSJ reports:

Before the recession, many Americans were moving from cities in the Northeast and Midwest to states such as Arizona and Alabama, where jobs were plentiful and the cost of living was low—but that trend hit a wall once the economy stumbled and job prospects dried up.

The fact that more Americans are now moving west and south could reflect improved hiring and suggests fewer people are stuck in one place because they owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth. Separate Census figures recently showed around 4% of the U.S. population moved to a different county in 2011, the highest level since before the recession.

As the energy boom and pro-growth policies in predominately red states attract large numbers of Americans looking to relocate, the coastal economies are losing ground. The map of America’s wealth is changing and spreading across a greater number of cities and states than in past decades. If the trend continues, American workers and families will have more choices about where to live and work than ever before.

Published on March 15, 2013 11:30 am