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Monday, August 18, 2014

More Americans Are Flocking To The South

According to a recent census study by The New York Times, only 45 percent of Florida's population, was born in the American South. Pictured is the city of Miami. (Emilio Labrador/Flickr)

According to a recent census study by The New York Times, only 45 percent of Florida’s population, was born in the American South. Pictured is the city of Miami. (Emilio Labrador/Flickr)

A new New York Times interpretation of census data looks at where Americans living in each state were born. It finds that states in the South, typically are home to many people who were born there, are for the first time seeing significant in-migration.

Several Midwestern states, including Wisconsin to Ohio, are leading the country in terms of having the highest portion of residents who were born there.

The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson to discuss these new migration trends.


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  • Kyle Barron

    It’s definitely not the South, but my wife and I moved from Eugene, Oregon to Akron, Ohio two years ago. Our motivation was family-based, but upon arriving we realized how much cheaper it was to live. Our food costs are down and the house we bought here would have been at least three times as expensive in Oregon; it’s so much more affordable to live out here that we were both able to go back and finish school with relative ease. We both miss the west coast (particularly Oregon) terribly, but overall I think it’s been a good move for us.

    • Jack Bohlen

      I’m retired, living on Social Security Retirement and living full-time in RV. I tried being full-timer in San Diego for a few years but the expense and difficulties in utilizing parking spaces forced me to purchase nice RV lot on Spring River near Hardy Arkansas. I have water and electric hook-ups with garden room and expenses are much less than CA.

  • Corinne Beth

    I moved from New York to New Orleans, predominantly because I wanted to get out of New York and because New Orleans offered a great job opportunity. I have to say, it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Life in New Orleans is absolutely lovely. People actually cherish leisure time and those who have been here for years have welcomed me into their lives. This never happened in New York. Amazing live music pours onto the streets and overflows from the dozens of great venues all over the city. So while a job opportunity and a need for change brought me here, life in this city has kept me here (even after I loss the job that brought me here).

    I would also like to comment on the Louisiana state-born statistics. It would be interesting to break that statistic down further because, over the past two years, I have seen a huge influx of out-of-staters (including myself) moving to New Orleans. I rarely ever meet someone who was born and raised here, or even born and raised in Louisiana. The New York Times has done several pieces about the migration to New Orleans, separate from the article quoted above. New Orleans is a world in and of itself, and I have been witnessing a transformation even in the short time that I have been lucky enough to live here.

    • Chris

      How is the heat?

      • Corinne Beth

        The heat is ridiculous. But that’s what Air Conditioning is for! I choose to think of the summer here just as winter was in the Northeast. You accept that you will not have many outdoor activities and hibernate for a couple of months.

        • Tracy S

          Lived in New Orleans for 25 years…it does have many unique and appealing qualities. But after Katrina flooded my home, I opted to start over in Denver. I don’t miss those brutal summers at all, or the high crime, and I don’t miss being a blue voter in one of the reddest states in the country!

    • Sabrina Avalos

      Welcome, Corrine Beth! From a NOLa Native – born, raised, still residing in the GNO area & always thankful for the nolalove from nice folks like you :) #UNOPROUD

  • Kristen Cates

    I moved from the suburbs of Baltimore, MD to San Antonio, TX. The main reason I moved is because my boyfriend lives here (he was a former military spouse). I waited until I could find a job and moved here in December 2012. I really like in down here in the Alamo City, especially in the winter time. My boyfriend told me how cheap it was to live here, but I was still shocked when I got here. You can still get a decent apartment for under $800/month. The house he bought (and we live in) has five bedrooms, a study, a loft, a theater room, and a decent yard. He only paid ~$280K for it. The same house would easily go for $500-600k or more in Maryland. I love my crabs, Ravens, and Orioles, but I’ll stick with TX, thank you.

  • Nakeli

    I moved from Hawaii to Arkansas get years ago. We lived in northeast AR and opportunity was hard to come by. We’ve now live in Northwest Arkansas which has much more opportunity.

  • Deirdre

    I moved to S. Texas for a short time then Florida for 28 years. Two years ago I moved back to upstate NY, where I grew up…..I can’t believe I ever left.

  • Kyle F

    I’ve actually moved across the country twice in one year: the first was from my home state of Minnesota to Florida for a work opportunity back in September 2013, and then, when that work opportunity turned out to not live up to what was promised, from Florida to Illinois just last month (July 2014) for an even better work opportunity. So far, I’m enjoying living in central Illinois much more than south Florida, which had a cost of living much higher than what I was being paid.

  • CF

    We moved from our beloved Delaware to Texas, for an employment opportunity for my spouse (at a better rate than unemployed, but still far less than what we made prior to recession). Required me to find a new job, also at a much lower rate. Adjustment are made, life goes on (even without family nearby). Hoping we can change the state to purple.

    • Grumpy_98

      Great. Bring the politics of Delaware to Texas. That’s just brilliant! I hope that that doesn’t happen.

      • Private Citizen

        I hope it does.

        • Grumpy_98

          I was thinking about moving to Massachusetts (?) and help to straighten things out there but I’d miss my mountains too much.

          • susanblv

            …and all those executions…whoopee. And that corrupt governor with the memory deficit issues. Oh and, lest I forget, those let’s-change-history textbooks in the public schools. Sure, give it a go in Massachusetts…

          • Grumpy_98

            You can’t spot an attempt at humor? I don’t live in Texas so your insults are wasted on me. You ever been to Texas? You might want to visit before you bad mouth it.

            I actually live in the Sierras in the PRC. You know, the place where the train to nowhere is being built to save the planet and 400K acre feet of fresh water is dumped into the Delta to save a bait fish. Meanwhile, the field workers in the Central Valley don’t have work because the farms aren’t getting their allotments of water. Gotta love the stupid.

          • susanblv

            Wow, you really are grumpy, aren’t you…

          • Grumpy_98

            Nah. I’m just sick and tired of the way California is going and can’t wait to get out. Pretty soon it’ll be unfit for man or beast. Just makes me cranky and sad sometimes. I wouldn’t pick Texas anyway–too hot and humid in the summer. Dreaming of WY, UT, MT or ID.

          • susanblv

            I completely understand how you feel about C and am in total agreement. Maybe the Californians are too, b/c there is a movement on to divide C into 5 separate states. I lived there many years ago and glad I moved, although I do miss the natural beauty of the place. I don’t miss the earthquakes, having been through two BIG ones.

          • Grumpy_98

            The division won’t ever happen because the Fed Gov’t has to approve. Your right about the beauty and the quakes but you have to take the bad with the good. Take care.

          • susanblv

            You already sent me this. Please, one is enough.

          • Grumpy_98

            Don’t understand what you mean. Only replied once. System might be getting glitchy.

      • susanblv

        Somebody needs to.

  • Angélica

    I moved to San Antonio Texas from Carolina Puerto Rico. There’s more opportunity here and less violence. Better Universities and more work. Puerto Ricans are the second largest group of Hispanic people living in the United States behind Mexicans. There are more Puerto Ricans on the mainland than on the island.

  • Larry Harold

    My family moved from Sacramento, CA to Spring Hill, TN 10 years ago. Why – mostly housing. As a teacher I can teach anywhere, but during the housing boom it was difficult to find housing at a reasonable rate in California, so we decided to move. The choices were to complain about the conditions or move.

    10 years later, it was one of the best decisions we have made.

    • Adrienne

      We moved from Brentwood a couple years ago. Spring Hill is a beautiful area with great schools; I can see why you moved!

  • Elaine F.

    Hi – I moved from Ohio to North Carolina (rtp area) for graduate school in 2010. I stayed because the job opportunities are much better in NC than in Columbus, OH.

  • Kari A

    I moved from Boston to Raleigh late last year. We mainly moved to be near family that had relocated here. I lived in a 1000 square foot cape in Boston. We now live in big house with a big yard (which is great). I’m not sure it was totally worth it. The healthcare and education systems are definitely of a lesser quality. I have a child with a disability and another with a medical condition. We underestimated the additional cost for services that are free or of little cost in Massachusetts.

    Also, I miss having 2 great npr stations to choose from:)

  • Adrienne

    My husband and I are self-employed (only needing relatively easy access to an international airport, and fast internet, because we sell software and education online). A handful of years ago we decided to choose where to live, rather than stay in Nashville where my husband graduated college. My husband and I moved with our 3-month old a year and a half ago to eastern Denver, CO from Nashville, TN. We wanted to be in a state with less humidity, skiing, better public education, and in a more liberal area. 2 months ago we moved to Colorado Springs (from Denver); we don’t have the liberal area as much anymore, but we do have lower house prices with better public schools, and even more outdoor activities. We love it.

  • Taddpole

    I moved back to Michigan after 10 years of living all around the country. Alaska was great,people are friendly, most are from someplace else, the economy is good & the scenery is beautiful. I loved it there; but the winters are too long. Summers were nice.
    Almost the same comments for Arizona but the summers are too hot. I loved northern AZ but the desert is not my cup of tea. I need water & green. South Carolina was different. The people were very nice but most people I knew were born there. I just didn’t feel I fit in. Maybe it was just me, but the people were different than the other places I had lived. It’s also very humid. I loved going to the ocean & Charleston is great!
    Michigan I just love. I love the water & outdoors. Winters aren’t too bad;I wish the economy would get better.

  • Michele

    We just moved from Chicago to Colorado. We were looking for a better quality of life–more emphasis on healthy food, an active lifestyle, and better weather. This included a lower cost of living and easier access to the outdoors. My husband and I are both self-employed and the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act gave us the freedom to finally act upon our desire to move. We’ve wanted to leave for many years, but could not have done so without losing insurance for all of us but my youngest daughter. So far, we are very happy with the move.

  • Paul Rubinfeld

    Five years ago I moved from Larkspur, CA to Asheville, NC. Last month I moved back to Larkspur. The initial move was motivated by the allure of cheaper housing now that I am retired. I am a NYC native, but had lived in California for 37 years. I thought it would be refreshing to experience all 4 seasons. I found summer too hot and humid and winter to be too cold. However, that was not what prompted the return to Larkspur. Asheville was an interesting place to live, however, I never felt comfortable leaving the zip codes that surrounded my neighborhood. Asheville never felt like home and the strong right in state politics was a huge negative. The Republican take over of the state and the way in which they have gerrymandered districts will have long time effects.

  • Renwald Desailine

    We moved from the Pacific Northwest (Seattle) to New Jersey, We are off to Pennsylvania next year. Once I complete medical school, we are contemplating North Carolina as a destination. We are also considering Seattle again. The East Coast is ok for me but my wife cannot understand or get the East coast rudeness or the New Jersey mentality( i don;t have enough space to explain what I mean). The property taxes are INTERESTING! We cannot get anyone to explain to us why they are so high.

    The reply is that we have great schools as to why the taxes are tops in the country. That we don’t see transferring to the people that we talk to daily. The roads are atrocious from north Jersey to south. Imagine leaving Seattle and coming East. Needless to say that the state is politically unique. Blue state that elected a republican governor. He is not a staunch southerner, but for independents like us, he is a pain. Needless to say, I listened to the show today and the south is gaining more people and the west is losing people big time. We will probably venture back west. The jury is still out. By the way we would never live in Texas…never purple or blue.

  • Noelle

    I moved from New York to Virginia. I’m still trying to figure out what in the world I was thinking.

  • Pala

    In the broadcast the reporter said that the South is winning population while California is the loser. How so?

    According to latest census figures (April 2010 to July 2013) California’s population grew by more than 1 Million people to over 38 Mio! California’s population growth alone is more than people living in each of the States of North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Alaska, Delaware, Montana, Vermont, Rhode Island; and Washington DC.

    Did I misunderstand? Is it just bad reporting? I think some of California’s problems have to do that still too many people want and come to live here!

  • Erica

    I moved four years ago from Chicago to St. Petersburg, Florida. I had thought I could find a bigger and better place to live for cheaper and have a better quality of life. I work from home and I was blessed to move where I wanted to while still keeping my job. I will admit, this dream did not pan out. In fact, what I found was that while the cost of living seemed to be lower prior to moving, it actually turned out to be more. Come to find out if you want to live in a nice place here, you have to be willing to pay a lot for a nice home in a nice area with nice schools. I am in constant fear of losing my job, as the wages here do not equate the ability to live in a nice area. If I had to find a job if I lost my current one that pays the same, I would be in major trouble. There are NO jobs here that pay what I make now.

  • RNAgril

    I moved from New Mexico to Georgia for work. I miss New Mexico and can’t wait to find a job and move OUT of Georgia. I can’t stand the climate. The cost of living is more expensive, people are angry/overly aggressive drivers, and not as friendly/welcoming as the people were when I moved to New Mexico. Also, the cuisine is bland, uninteresting, or just so overloaded with salt and fat that finding a decent restaurant that is within our budget is a chore. We do have a few favorites that will be missed, but hardly a reason to remain here. I just wish New Mexico would have a better economy and jobs in my field so that I can raise a family there.

    • Debbie

      SO TRUE! I just moved to Santa Fe from North Carolina and I wake up very day and I can not believe how lucky I am to be here!

  • Kate R

    My husband and I moved from Boston to southeast Georgia last year because one full time university teaching position for him paid slightly better than four adjunct positions between the two of us. While I miss New England–particularly things I took for granted like sidewalks, good public libraries, having 2 NPR stations on my commute, and well-stocked stores, our standard of living in general has greatly improved in large part because of the lower cost of living. We are able to have a dog, live in an apartment that is larger than one room, and may actually become home owners someday–none of that would have been in the cards for us if we had stayed in Cambridge.

    • Debbie

      I did the same, took a university job in NC, but I feel like being out the Cambridge university environment has made me less competitive. It is harder to find good collaborators and my work is not quite as cutting edge.
      So, I wonder if the long run analysis will still be positive? A bigger house with smaller mortgage, but that comes with somewhat constrained career opportunities/growth.
      PS. if you have children, you may need to send them out of state to get a decent school.

  • countrycache

    I think that Mr. Thompson made an utterly astonishing claim at the beginning of yesterday’s show when he said:

    “Ah, you know how water collects in bogs and sort of sits there? Demographically that’s basically what was happening in the American South in the first half of the twentieth century. Families born in the South wouldn’t leave. They would just stay.”

    Pulitzer Prize winner Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration documents the out-migration of six million African Americans from the American South during the first half of the twentieth century. That’s hardly families “just staying” in the “bog” of the South. I think that Mr. Thompson owes his listeners an apology and a clear statement about the tidal wave of persons who left the American South during the first half of the 20th Century.

    The Great Migration had a profound impact on all American geographical regions: from the South itself to northern industrial cities and westward to the Pacific Ocean. Isabel Wilkerson, on page nine of The Warmth of Other Suns, writes: [The Great Migration] grew out of the unmet promises made after the Civil War and, through the sheer weight of it, helped push the country toward the civil rights revolutions of the 1960s.

    We forget this epic in American history at our peril.

  • silvestris

    Please, stay where you are. You always have a habit of trying to remake us in the image of where you originated. “Well, that’s not the way we do it where I came from”.

  • Debbie

    I moved from Cambridge, Massachusetts to Charlotte, North Carolina in the biggest mistake of my life. The rampant racism, low levels of education, pervasive right wing reactionaries and total absence of environmental/ecological awareness are a constant irritant, but the religiousness and intolerance of agnostic or atheist perspectives is just stunning. The xenophobia, the ubiquitous Confederate Flags and let’s not forget the “war on coal”; these sound like stereotypes, but they ARE a reality.
    I grew up in Massachusetts and Maine, I had never experienced crime in New England, even living in the city I hardly locked my car or house. No one I knew had ever been robbed or mugged. I lock everything in North Carolina and my house and car have been broken into 4 times in 5 years, the entire contents of a secured storage unit was stolen and my wallet has been stolen from my office twice (the 2nd time from a locked desk drawer). Everyone I know has had similar experiences and shrugs it off as normal, it is just business as usual.
    I am happy to pay higher home prices, I would joke “take my tax money please”, but taxes are NOT lower here. As soon as my husband gets a job anywhere in New England we are out of here.
    For the life of me, I can not understand why we fought a civil war to keep this place.

  • Dickgirth

    To all liberals. Please stay where you are

  • Private Citizen

    I moved from Florida to the West Coast. I was born and raised in Florida. I will NEVER go back. Florida is very expensive, fast paced, sprawled out, hot, and humid. There are not very many well paying jobs. Public transportation is horrible if it exists.

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