1. Americans Flee Blue States
The Topline: During COVID lockdowns, millions of Americans moved out of heavily populated cities. New data on where they moved highlights the stark political divide in the United States.
The Census Bureau released their annual report on which states gained the most new residents in 2021, and of the top ten biggest gainers, eight were red states. Texas and Florida were first and second, respectively, gaining half a million new residents between them. Next were Arizona, North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina, Utah, and Tennessee, which all added 50,000 to 100,000 each.
The National Movers Study looks at which states had the highest percentage of inbound moves compared to outbound. They found that seven of the ten states with the highest rate of new residents by that metric were also red. Blue states had the highest percentage of outbound vs. inbound moves, with two red states in the top ten.
The five states with the highest rate of outbound moves are New Jersey, Illinois, New York, Connecticut, and California. The Census Bureau data shows much the same, with New York, California, and Illinois leading the way in losing the most residents.
One early theory was that people were fleeing blue states for job opportunities, but the new study found that only 32% of people moved because of their work. During COVID, people were able to work from wherever, so they didn’t need to move for work.
The push into these specific states was more likely driven by people seeking a lower cost of living, better lifestyle, closeness to family, and also looser COVID restrictions. Red states have considerably lower costs of living, lower tax burdens, looser COVID restrictions, and more educational freedom for parents wanting greater control over their kids’ schooling.
Impact: Some believe the states losing people will be pressured to re-evaluate some unpopular policies. Others believe this trend will divide America further, as like-minded people increasingly congregate in the same cities and states, and the result will be increased polarization on a national level.