Over the past ten years, millions of Americans have fled Democratic-leaning Blue states for Republican-leaning Red states, according to a new report from the Manhattan Institute.
The Great California Exodus: A Closer Look, focuses mainly on where and why California residents are fleeing the state, but using data from Census and the Internal Revenue Service, the study clearly documents that Americans are fleeing Democratic governance everywhere.
According to the data, California (+11 Democrat) lost 1.9 million citizens over the past ten years, while New York (+19 Democrat) lost 1.6 million, Illinois (+13 Democrat) 880,000, Michigan (+11 Democrat) lost 708,000, and New Jersey (+16 Democrat) 492,000. Meanwhile, Florida (+20 conservative) gained 1.3 million, Texas (+37 conservative) gained 781,000, North Carolina (+21 conservative) gained 714,ooo, Arizona (+29 conservative) gained 423,000, and Georgia (+25 conservative) gained 393,074.
These numbers do not include foreign immigration or population growth from natural births. So even though California lost 1.9 million Americans over the past ten years, it’s population still grew by more than 3 million.
Why are Americans fleeing Blue states for Red states? The report concludes:
The data also reveal the motives that drive individuals and businesses to leave California. One of these, of course, is work. States with low unemployment rates, such as Texas, are drawing people from California, whose rate is above the national average. Taxation also appears to be a factor, especially as it contributes to the business climate and, in turn, jobs. Most of the destination states favored by Californians have lower taxes. States that have gained the most at California’s expense are rated as having better business climates. The data suggest that many cost drivers—taxes, regulations, the high price of housing and commercial real estate, costly electricity, union power, and high labor costs—are prompting businesses to locate outside California, thus helping to drive the exodus.
Population change, along with the migration patterns that shape it, are important indicators of fiscal and political health. Migration choices reveal an important truth: some states understand how to get richer, while others seem to have lost the touch. California is a state in the latter group, but it can be put back on track. All it takes is the political will.