January 1, 2006


The Nation's Capital Struggles to Lure Residents to the City (RACHEL L. SWARNS, 1/01/06, NY Times)

Talk to city planners here in the nation's capital and they paint a glittering picture of urban renewal, with gleaming condominiums soaring from once-vacant lots and new theaters, cinemas and shops blossoming in a downtown that, in past years, was sometimes desolate.

And they envision people - thousands of people - flocking to a revitalized city better known these days for its downtown development and declining crime rate than for its years of urban blight. The hope for a population boom has been so great that Mayor Anthony A. Williams has often predicted that the city will add 100,000 residents by 2010.

This month, the Census Bureau doused those dreams with some sobering estimates. From 2000 to 2005, census officials said, the city's population fell by 20,523, bringing the population to 550,521, the sharpest decline in that time period noted in the population survey of the nation's states, the capital and Puerto Rico.

The demographic shift redwards is one important reason for the permanent Republican majority.

Population shift has political implications (Knoxville News Sentinel, 01/01/2006)

The Census Bureau's mid-decade population estimate shows definitively that the American political center of gravity has shifted to the South and West. Those states are now as politically dominant as the Northeast and Midwest were in 1940.

That trend will accelerate when the 435 House seats are reapportioned after the full decennial census in 2010. Texas and Florida are expected to gain three seats each. Nevada, Arizona and Utah are likely to gain a seat.

New York and Ohio are likely to lose two each, and Iowa, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts will also lose.

The exception to growth in the South was Louisiana, which even before Katrina was on track to lose a seat. This latest census estimate was conducted before the mass migration out of New Orleans so the state may yet lose more clout.

The South did indeed rise again; 36 percent of the nation's population lives there, putting it well ahead of the other regions -- the West with 23 percent, the Midwest with 22 percent and the Northeast with 18 percent.

The three states that lost population between 2000 and 2004 were Rhode Island, New York and Massachusetts.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 1, 2006 9:56 AM

Just about every night, the "big story" of the nightly news here features police tape and chalk circles. Much of our nightly running box-score was just g.s.c.'s (grungy street-critters) doing each other, but there were enough innocent victims such as children, merchants and plain old bystanders in the body-coount to make a reasonable person feel threatened.

And then there are the schools.

Yippee! Let's all move to the big city!

Posted by: Lou Gots at January 1, 2006 12:03 PM

Why would anyone want to move to a company town if you don't work for the company? That goes for steel towns in Pennsylvania to mining towns in West Virginia and Montana as much as it does in Washington City.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at January 1, 2006 2:39 PM

Lou, are you sure it's not CSI you're seeing every night? There seems to be one for every city in the country.

Posted by: erp at January 1, 2006 3:16 PM

erp: No, I'm afraid not. We set some sort of 20- 0r 30-year record for homocides this year--a couple short of 400.

Some poor guy got blown away late Saturday night and the big story on New Year's Day was--surprise--police tape and chalk circles.

Posted by: Lou Gots at January 2, 2006 12:01 AM

DC was going to add 100,000 population? And they accused Marion Barry of smoking crack.

Posted by: Bob Hawkins at January 2, 2006 12:07 AM

Blue state are our Europe? Ok, OJ, I suppose you would say that it is the immoral lifestyle choices of Northeasterners that caused business to move South and leave ghost towns in their wake?

Posted by: Grog at January 2, 2006 4:05 AM

Two factors that caused many businesses to move southward are that the populations of the Nor'east and Midwest are moving southward themselves, and that those who remained behind priced themselves out of their jobs.
I don't know if it was immoral of them to do so, but it was certainly foolish.

The good news: the cost of living in the Southeast, especially real estate, can be very low.
If anyone wants to sell their vastly overpriced home in New Jersey or Massachusetts, and move to Augusta, GA, or Cocoa Beach, FL, (or anywhere on the Space Coast), you'll probably never have to work again.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at January 2, 2006 5:57 AM

A friend of mine moved from Boston to Cincinnati to go to law school. He sold the house in Boston, used the proceeds to buy one in Cincinnati (cash at closing, no mortgage), and with what was left over, bought a duplex as an investment.

Posted by: Mike Morley at January 2, 2006 8:55 AM

A follow up. The noontime news has informed us that our body count, which had closed late on the 31st last, recommenced early on the first of January.

Yellow police tape, and chalk circles--many, many chalk circles.

Posted by: Lou Gots at January 2, 2006 1:33 PM


"Blue state are our Europe?"

As Jonah Goldberg noted in May, that the "ideas, assumptions and prejudices held by the statistically typical Democratic voter, according to [a recent] Pew study, are quite simply, European".

"Ok, OJ, I suppose you would say that it is the immoral lifestyle choices of Northeasterners that caused business to move South and leave ghost towns in their wake?"

It's not just in the Northeast--witness Nissan's announcement that they're decamping from Los Angeles to Nashville.

Posted by: Ed Driscoll at January 2, 2006 8:12 PM

Michael: It has more to do with costs than anything else. Just like manufacturing moved to China, businesses left the highly taxed, highly regulated, highly competitive regions of the northeast. I don't think the business were responing to a demographic shifts that they themselves were not a part of causing.

Ed: Yep, its old news that American plutocrats have lumped Europeans and progressive-minded blue-staters into one crowded category of whiners who resist their maintenance of the industrial/military machine and neverending quest for profits. I just don't see the value in such demonizing stereotypes.
"Nissan Motor Co. announced Thursday it is moving its North American headquarters and nearly 1,300 jobs from California to the Nashville area to take advantage of the lower cost of doing business in the Southeast." - was that your point?

Posted by: Grog at January 3, 2006 1:00 AM


If you're looking for employees with a Protestant work ethic you don't go to Blue States.

Posted by: oj at January 3, 2006 3:31 AM

Former D.C. Mayor and present city councilman Marion, "The bitch set me up," Barry was just robbed at gunpoint inside his D.C. Apartment.

Quick, quick, sell your SUV and move to the big city.

Posted by: Lou Gots at January 3, 2006 12:23 PM


Note how Grog treats "high costs" as some sort of natural disaster, rather than as the result of the policies of the state governments.

Of course, "the masses" are supposed to support that kind of trade off, yet whenever it shows up people flee for places with a higher degree of robber-baronism.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at January 3, 2006 2:37 PM

I just don't see the value in such demonizing stereotypes.

Wow. Talk about a lack of self-knowledge.

Posted by: David Cohen at January 4, 2006 6:27 PM