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The South Is Now the Nation’s Economic Engine

The 2023 (July) state and US population estimates have just been published by the Census Bureau. The national population increased by 1.6 million, 1.1 million (about 70%) of which was net international migration. Natural population growth (births minus deaths) continues to decline, to 500,000 in 2023. This is more than half below the 1,100,000 annual average during the 2010s.

We need more babies people! Get going.

But the continuing mega story of the reshaping of America is the stampede of people out of the northeast and now even out of the far west to the southern states. It’s a reverse migration back TO the South from the first half of the 20th century when Americans moved out of the deep South – especially blacks. In just the past year, the South gained 706,000, while the Northeast lost 323,000, the West lost 297,000 and the Midwest lost 86,000.

Broadening the analysis to total domestic migration since the 2020 Census – a period that covers approximately the pandemic and post-pandemic period – the rankings show California and New York losing a combined net of over two million people to domestic migration in three years. It is clear that the northern and midwestern state COVID lockdowns unleashed a stampede of families out of those states to places like Florida, Texas, and North Carolina that quickly reopened. And three years later they haven’t stopped coming.

Do policies like taxes and forced union rules matter? The top thirteen states gaining the most people are all red or purple states that have low taxes and are right-to-work states. Ten of the eleven states with the biggest losses are blue states with high taxes and forced union rules.

Unleash Prosperity Hotline


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