November 3, 2009


Numbers Don't Support Migration Exodus to "Cool Cities" (Joel Kotkin 11/03/2009, New Geography)

Net migration, both before and after the Great Recession, according to analysis by the Praxis Strategy Group, has continued to be strongest to the predominately red states of the South and Intermountain West.

This seems true even for those seeking high-end jobs. Between 2006 and 2008, the metropolitan areas that enjoyed the fastest percentage shift toward educated and professional workers and industries included nominally "unhip" places like Indianapolis, Charlotte, N.C., Memphis, Tenn., Salt Lake City, Jacksonville, Fla., Tampa, Fla., and Kansas City, Mo.

The overall migration numbers are even more revealing. As was the case for much of the past decade, the biggest gainers continue to include cities such as San Antonio, Dallas and Houston. Rather than being oases for migrants, some oft-cited magnets such as New York, Boston, Los Angeles and Chicago have all suffered considerable loss of population to other regions over the past year.

Much the same pattern emerges when you look at longer-term state demographic patterns. A recent survey by the Empire Center for New York State Policy found that the biggest net losers in terms of per capita outmigration between 2000 and 2008 were, with the exception of Louisiana, all blue state bastions. New York residents lead in terms of rate of exodus, closely followed by the District of Columbia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and California.

An even greater shock to the sensibilities of the insular, Manhattan-centric media, the report found that most of the movement from the Empire State was not from the much-dissed suburbia, but from that hip and cool paragon, New York City. This can not be ascribed as a loss of the unwanted: According to the report, those leaving the city had 13% higher incomes than those coming in.

How can this be, when everyone who's smart and hip is headed to the Big Apple? This question was addressed in a report by the center-left, New York-based Center for an Urban Future. True, considerable numbers of young, educated people come to New York, but it turns out that many of them leave for the suburbs or other states as they reach their peak earning years.

Indeed, it's astonishing given the many clear improvements in New York that more residents left the five boroughs for other locales in 2006, the peak of the last boom, than in 1993, when the city was in demonstrably worse shape.

No one moves to Japan.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 3, 2009 7:03 AM
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