Better Business Climates
Red States Eat Blue States’ Lunch

The West and the South—not California or the Northeast—are apparently the places to move these days. In a piece on Denver’s economy, the WSJ provides a list of the urban areas that have been receiving the most in-migration since 2010. Houston, Dallas, Austin, Phoenix, Denver, San Antonio, Charlotte, Atlanta, Tampa, and Orlando make the top ten. Texas, North Carolina, Arizona, Florida, and Georgia are generally red states, and though Colorado is nominally a blue state, its business climate more closely resembles that of Texas than that of California.

You can see that resemblance in the article’s main subject, its profile of Denver. The WSJ reports that Millennials are attracted to the city’s atmosphere and its proximity to natural beauty, but most importantly to the economic opportunities Denver offers in Millennial-dominated fields like telecommunications and tech:

“Denver has long been a regional hub, with established industries such as oil and telecommunications that leaders have built upon to create thriving sectors such as energy information technology and digital health care.”

As Joel Kotkin has argued many times, red states are eating blue states’ lunch, stealing away talented young workers and innovative businesses by offering lower costs of living, higher qualities of life, and more favorable tax and regulatory environments than anything coastal blue citadels can offer. And this is happening despite blue cities’ attempts to remain culturally enticing.

To attract young people, it seems, the cities of America don’t have to worry about being hip. Instead, they need to create dynamic economic environments. That is what draws the talented young—and in turn, it seems, they do their part to make their new homes nicer.

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