ZeroHedge recently reported an interesting trend occurring in the United States.
A U.S. Census Bureau map details some interesting patterns. Areas highlighted in purple, where the population is growing, are located in the West and the South. Those in orange, areas where the population is dropping are situated in the North and East. Although the Sun Belt does have considerable allure because of its weather, there are other institutional and economic factors at play.
For example, seven of the ten counties with the largest population increases were in Texas or Florida. Of note, Florida and Texas don’t feature the kind of income tax boondoggle we see at the federal level and even some anti-growth states like California.
According to the Freedom in the 50 States Index, Florida and Texas are ranked first and tenth in terms of overall economic freedom, respectively. Interestingly, North Dakota has two of the fastest growing counties in the country, McKenzie and Williams County. In the same freedom index, North Dakota is ranked sixth.
On the other hand, there is evidence that some of America’s largest urban centers are shrinking. From 2017 to 2018, New York City has seen a decline in its population. The Wall Street Journal reports that “New York’s population dropped 0.47 percent to 8.4 million by July 2018, compared with the previous year.” Although small, this could be the beginning of a negative trend as the city is starting to embark on a new path of anti-growth policies such as the Green New Deal and its insistence on keeping big spending intact.
The Chicago metro area’s population dropped for four straight years according to the Census Bureau:
“There were 22,000 fewer residents in the 14-county metro area than in 2017, a drop of 0.2 percent, and the first time since 2010 that the area’s population has slipped below 9.5 million people. Cook County, which accounts for 55 percent of the population in the metro area, lost 24,000 residents.”
This is an interesting case study of a larger macro-trend taking place in America. People are fleeing coastal areas and solidly blue states with burdensome governments for the more sleek, affordable, and business-friendly Sun Belt and Great Plains states.
That’s the beauty of competitive federalism, which allows jurisdictions to compete for the best talent and citizens. This is what helped make America and Europe prosperous over the last 500 years.
This type of competitive decentralization should be embraced and expanded upon in order to ensure prosperity for future generations.