Monday, January 3, 2022

Where people are moving from, to, and why.

by Rod Williams, Jan. 3, 2022- I don't know if one could call it a mass exodus but people are on the move. They are leaving liberal high-tax states like California and New Jersey and moving to conservative low-tax states like Tennessee, Florida, and Texas. Level of taxation, of course, is not the only factor and may not be the biggest factor but it appears to be a factor.  Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming — do not levy a state income tax nor a tax on dividends and interest. Of these, Alaska, Tennesee, South Dakota, and Florida are among the top ten states for in-migration. States losing population are among the most heavily taxed. 

Of course, tax rates are not the only factor. If one looks at the list, the states that have been most draconian during the Covid pandemic are losing population and those less draconian are gaining population. Correlation, of course, is not cause and effect and that may or may not be a factor.

Another factor in determining where people move from and to is affordability, primarily the cost of housing.  While we Nashvillians are shocked at Nashville housing prices, to people moving to Nashville from Los Angeles, housing is a bargain.

Quality of life is something that is hard to quantify but people, especially young people, may want to move to a town with nice restaurants, parks, live music, festivals, and an energetic vibe.  They may want to move away from areas that are crime-infested and with large visible homeless populations, and that are dirty and depressing.

One factor in where one moves is economic opportunity.  Most people have to work.  People move to where they think there is a good prospect of making a living. Another factor may be a mild climate.

While there are a lot of factors that determine where one moves from and moves to, many of these factors are a result of public policy choices.  Things like economic opportunity, level of taxation, housing cost, homelessness, and crime are often the result of the policies adopted by those who are elected. 

I am dismayed, that so many people flee high-tax, highly-regulated, crime-tolerant, homelessness-encouraging states like California and move to Tennessee and then want to turn Tennessee into a copy of the place they fled.  

To our immigrant friends fleeing liberal states, if you want your new hometown to be like your old hometown, why did you leave?  If you prefer the policies of the place you left, why just not go back? 

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