Kevin Price
In heavily taxed states, people vote with their feet
By Kevin Price
January 20, 2010

Major news sources like to monitor migration trends among states. The Census Bureau has been watching these trends also and what you find "between the lines," is really quite interesting.

The fastest growing states for population are (in order) Wyoming, Utah, Texas, Colorado, Alaska, Arizona, Washington, North Carolina, Georgia, and South Carolina.

There are several unique characteristics about these population shifts:

  • They are often huge. Texas gained over 500,000 in one year. This is largely attributable to the huge number of businesses that have relocated to the state.

  • All of these states lean Republican or are very Republican. Republican strategists' lips salivate when they think of these population shifts to their state. This means more Congressional seats moving to their states and away (as you will see later) from Democrat states. However, they may be surprised by the long term results, as I will explain later.

  • They tend to be in the West or (even more so) the South. This has been a trend that has persisted for decades and continues to be the case. Politically, the implications of this are significant. All of our Presidents since John F. Kennedy have been from Texas, California, Georgia, and Arkansas (with the exception of our sitting President and Gerald Ford.

What about states that have seen a decline in population? They are, starting with the biggest loser, Michigan, Maine, Rhode Island, Ohio, Vermont, New Hampshire, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, and Mississippi.

  • They are in overwhelmingly liberal states. With the exception of Mississippi, these states are all "true blue." This, again, makes conservatives excited and liberals concerned, but the long term implications could prove different.

  • With the exception of Mississippi, all of these are in the East Coast and Midwest, which have also suffered when it comes to political prestige and power.

What are the lessons learned?

I believe that the political and economic environment of many of these states have become so hostile to entrepreneurship and economic growth, people are voting with their feet in a quest to find better jobs and opportunities. Michigan has taken a pounding for decades (my family was among the "Michiganders" who flew South to flee the rust belt in the 1970s) and continues to face economic pressures due to unions that international competitors never have to encounter. New York and Connecticut are noted for their constant regulatory pressures they apply on business, forcing many to have little choice but to leave. The list goes on; people are leaving these states on the quest for economic prosperity.

I believe Republicans, who appear to be the long term winners in these shifts, should be cautious in their enthusiasm. I remember when I worked as an aide for US Senator Gordon Humphrey of New Hampshire. That state had become extremely Republican by the 1980s and was enjoying growth as people fled the disastrous political and economic situation in Massachusetts just to the South. Eventually New Hampshire became increasingly liberal as people moved who knew there were things wrong with their home state — taxes, crime, etc. — but didn't realize that the people they were voting for were the source of their problems. So once they moved to a new promise land, they brought the same terrible policies with them. Today, New Hampshire is now a major population loser as the migrants from Massachusetts wonder what happened to the Granite State. It is a vicious cycle.

The future looks bright for conservative friendly states on paper, but this will only be the case if new voters support the very policies that have made these states so attractive in the first place.

© Kevin Price


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

Click to enlarge

Kevin Price

Kevin Price is Publisher and Editor in Chief of

His background is eclectic and includes years of experience in both business and public policy, as well as two decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He was an aide to U.S. Senator Gordon Humphrey (R-NH) and later went on to work in policy areas with some of the nation's leading think tanks including the National Center for Public Policy Research and was part of the Heritage Foundation's Annual Guide to Public Policy Experts... (more)


Receive future articles by Kevin Price: Click here

More by this author


Stephen Stone
The most egregious lies Evan McMullin and the media have told about Sen. Mike Lee

Siena Hoefling
Protect the Children: Update with VIDEO

Stephen Stone
Flashback: Dems' fake claim that Trump and Utah congressional hopeful Burgess Owens want 'renewed nuclear testing' blows up when examined

Cliff Kincaid
Gaetz is right about McCarthy's failure to act like a real conservative

Peter Lemiska
If you don’t believe the border is secure, would you believe Republicans caused the chaos?

Cliff Kincaid
Making Russia great again

Pete Riehm
Is Joe Biden being slowly thrown overboard?

Curtis Dahlgren
The real Tom Jefferson

Tom DeWeese
Fighting back at the local level

Cherie Zaslawsky
The Malone controversy: Part one

Steve A. Stone
What does the 'common sense' man want?

Rev. Mark H. Creech
Revelation Chapter 17: Babylon revealed – A warning for today

Linda Kimball
Psalm 50: 21-22: Holy God to the depraved: NOW do you see the stupidity, depravity, and evil in your hearts?

Peter Lemiska
The real threat to our Democracy

Jerry Newcombe
And lead us not into temptation
  More columns


Click for full cartoon
More cartoons


Matt C. Abbott
Chris Adamo
Russ J. Alan
Bonnie Alba
Chuck Baldwin
Kevin J. Banet
J. Matt Barber
Fr. Tom Bartolomeo
. . .
[See more]

Sister sites