Census: Americans fleeing New York state, packing up for Texas

New York was the biggest loser of American citizens from 2012 to 2013, according to Census Bureau data released on Thursday. The state had 104,470 more people moving to other states than moving in, more than offsetting its net gain of 101,778 from international migration. Texas gained the most, picking up 113,528 more residents than the number who moved elsewhere.

Population changes influence political power, most directly through congressional reapportionment and the number of votes cast for president. (See “Florida Reaches Peak Political Power” for charts on the waxing and waning of the 10 biggest states.) The data can also come in handy when praising or disparaging state policies, on the theory that people vote with their feet. It is a conservative talking point, for example, that states with no income tax have higher population growth (something of a chicken-or-egg situation, since high-population-growth states like Florida can reap more revenue from sales taxes and levies on real-estate transactions).


It’s also tempting to overlook the distorting effects of state boundaries. For example, Massachusetts was the only state north of Delaware and east of Minnesota to match the national average in population growth last year. But was this because of state politics and policy or because it was almost uniquely shaped to take advantage of a population boom in major cities like Boston? (Unlike Illinois, New York, and Pennsylvania, it does not have a big, still-declining Rust Belt area; and unlike Connecticut and New Jersey, it isn’t dominated by mid-sized industrial cities.)

Still, we’re likely to hear more about local laws as a cause of population and economic growth, as state legislatures widen the differences between red and blue states. (See “Lawmaking Goes Locovore in 2014.”)

Here are some of the findings from the new Census data:

•As mentioned above, New York suffered the most from in domestic migration, though its net loss of 104,470 was not as bad as last year’s 114,871. It was followed by Illinois (a net loss of 67,313), California (-49,259), New Jersey (-45,035), and Pennsylvania (-30,718). In California and New Jersey, international immigration more than made up for the loss of native-born Americans.

Texas gained the most from domestic migration (113,528, down from 142,650 the previous year). It was followed by Florida (91,484), North Carolina (37,240), Colorado (36,284), and South Carolina (29,324). Colorado is the only one of the five that Barack Obama carried by substantial margins in both 2008 and 2012, underscoring its importance to a Democratic Party that wants to win some states where people are moving to.

Maine and West Virginia were the only states to lose population last year, and they were the only states where deaths outnumbered births. Vermont was just 894 births away from achieving the same distinction.

•There were twice as many births as deaths in four states: Alaska, California, Texas, and Utah, where the ratio was biggest (50,840 births and 14,875 deaths).

•Twelve states gained more from international immigration than they lost from domestic migration: Arkansas, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, and New Jersey. The surprise on this list is Georgia, which lost 6,347 residents to other states last year after gaining 19,442 the previous year — perhaps because of lingering unemployment. One policy question for 2014 is whether states that depend on immigration for population growth will steer away from punitive measures toward undocumented residents.

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J Cosgrove
4 years 12 months ago
This in not about people migration but about business migration. My wife and I were sitting on the airtrans last week at San Francisco airport after turning in our rental car. The guy next to us on the train asked us where we were going and we said back to New York. He said he just came from New York and had taken a 5:55 flight that morning. He then said he would be traveling to Austin Texas next week and to Phoenix the week after. We asked him what he did and he said he was a venture capitalist. He then said that he worked with people in Silicon Valley setting up a offices in Austin. He said several companies were moving a large number of people to Texas including google as well as some start-ups. This is an anecdote and one conversation hardly makes a trend but it was interesting.
Beth Cioffoletti
4 years 11 months ago
Austin is probably the only place in Texas I would consider moving to. Maybe El Paso.
Rick Madison
4 years 11 months ago
In my opinion one should buy a new house in such city where standard of living is average. If you need any help in buying a new house visit this site.http://www.kevinbradleyrealtor.com/
Marie Rehbein
4 years 11 months ago
I think you are right. People move to places where there is work. Almost no one leaves behind friends and family to live in a new place for imagined improvements in their way of living, except sometimes at retirement.
Joseph J Dunn
4 years 12 months ago
I have had similar conversations with business people in Pennsylvania, and one of my friends moved to Austin last year from PA and moved his company home office there. He cited not just taxes, which were important, but the overall business-friendly environment, and a labor force that better matched his needs in technology business. At some point anecdotal evidence accumulates, and becomes statistically significant.
Stanley Kopacz
4 years 12 months ago
I have an anecdote, too. Around ten years ago, I visited a Texas supplier, a mid-sized technology company. Going into their fabrication area, I nearly fainted from the strong chemical odor. Mexican or mexican-american men were grinding away at plastic bodies, releasing the noxious chemicals into the air. I can't remember whether they were wearing respirators or just dust masks that would stop particles but not vapors. Anyway, the work should have been done under fume hoods. If this is what is meant by business friendly, I am not impressed. If business friendly means fertilizer plants blowing up due to lack of oversight and inspection, I am not impressed. All those people who are moving to Texas will probably be moving back after climate change starts to really kick in. Everyone needs water.
Joseph J Dunn
4 years 12 months ago
If business friendly means fertilizer plants blowing up due to lack of oversight and inspection, I am not impressed either. Did you find the conditions at the chemical site prevalent in Texas ten years ago? With regard to the subject of Sullivan's article, I can only report that my friend moving to Texas promotes the common good there, and Pennsylvania is poorer from losing him. By the way, in his first business he patented several technologies that today help pharmaceutical manufacturers meet high purity standards in their plants while using far less water than previous processes required, and the equipment is now widely used in that industry.
Stanley Kopacz
4 years 12 months ago
As I said, I was adding an anecdote. To be fair, I'll add a positive one. I took a course in monolithic dome construction in Italy, TX from Monolithic Constructors, Inc. They are a family business enthusiastically promoting an innovative building technology they developed. They are hard working and successful while not being greedy, seemingly informed by Christian values. If every business were run like them, there'd be no need for government regulation. Unfortunately, in these days, that is not nearly the case. I am very suspicious of that term, "business friendly". The loss of your friend's business to PA is unfortunate as I live in PA. PA is very business friendly to fracking, allowing the frackers to override local ordinances against it.
Jim McCrea
4 years 12 months ago
Desperation is a terrible condition. As someone who spent almost 1 year of my life in Texas, I can think of almost ANYPLACE else to which I would rather move.


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