Skip to comments.Moving West is no longer the norm
Posted on 08/06/2003 2:16:45 PM PDT by OESY
Moving West is no longer the norm Wed Aug 6, 6:09 AM ET
By Haya El Nasser, USA TODAY
The exodus of millions of people from California and New York in the late 1990s may signal the end of the nation's traditional settlement patterns from East to West.
A series of reports released by the Census Bureau today shows that most of the people who moved out of New York are going to suburbs in New Jersey and Connecticut or to retirement havens and fast-growing job centers in the Southeast. Most of the people leaving California are going to other Western states such as Nevada, Arizona, Oregon, Washington and Colorado.
California and New York have been anchors in the East-to-West migration for more than a century, with New York dispatching people and California receiving them. But the pattern that has emerged in the past several years is East to East and West to West. The Census numbers, which tracked movement from 1995 through 2000, confirm the extent of the pattern.
"What it shows is that the country is finally filling out," says Robert Lang, an urban expert at Virginia Tech's Metropolitan Institute.
California and New York continue to gain population. But the growth is from births and an influx of immigrants.
The people leaving the two states are altering the economic, cultural and political dynamics of the regions they now call home. Many of the people leaving California, for example, are conservative white voters who have helped transform politics in the Rocky Mountain West from a competitive two-party environment to one that is heavily Republican.
Although New York has lost more people than it has gained from other states for three decades, California's losses are more recent. In the last five years of the 1990s, more people moved out of California than moved in. That is the first time that has happened since 1940, when the Census first began tracking migration. The numbers do not include those who moved from other countries.
About 2.2 million people left California in the late 1990s, when the state was reeling from a series of tumultuous events, including earthquakes, race riots, economic downturns, a wave of foreign immigration and skyrocketing housing prices. Fewer than 1.5 million moved in from other parts of the nation. Nevada was the biggest beneficiary, receiving about 200,000 people from California. Only 60,000 went the other way.
New York, home to many older industrial centers, lost 1.6 million people to other states, compared with about 725,000 who moved in. Most of the people who left New York moved to suburbs in neighboring states and sprawling cities in the Southeast where the job market was booming. The state's aging population has been moving south for decades.
The Census reports also reflect the nation's growing aging population and a desire to escape congestion:
"Part of the movement to the suburbs is moving farther out," says William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution.
What it shows is that California is not as attractive as it used to be.
You win the "Understatement of the Day" award.
So the educated, motivated honky moves out, the uneducated, driven-by-starvation illegal moves in...
HAH! For most NewYorkers I knew growing up, myself included, California was the LAST place anyone would want to move to. Even today there is an undercurrent of animosity betwix the two. Witness, for example, the whole East Coast - West Coast rap music feuds.
I have lived in two other states besides New York and in both my feathers still get ruffled when I see local ordinances influenced by what I (rightly or wrongly) perceive as being driven by Californians and their "we know whats best for you...its our way, silly, even if you've been doing fine for years without us" attitude. Grrrr!