This is a national trend, as US Census Bureau data released in December showed that restrictive states such as California, Illinois, New York, and Massachusetts lost population between July 2020 and July 2021, while states with less-restrictive virus policies like Texas, Arizona, and Florida gained population during that time. Writing about these population trends for FEE, economist Peter Jacobsen explained: “Lockdowns, documentation mandates, school closings, and other COVID regulations are likely just too cumbersome for some to tolerate.”
Fight or flight is a tough choice for families, but at least it’s a choice that Americans can enjoy thanks to federalism and the ability to vote with our feet. We can choose to live in a different city or state, and select different state and local governance, due to the decentralization of power envisioned by our Founding Fathers.
As more people move to states they see as offering greater freedom and opportunity, there is some concern about political change in their new states. Could newcomers bring with them policies and perspectives that could threaten the very freedom they are seeking? FEE’s Fresh Start States project helps to prevent this through outreach and information promoting the principles of personal and economic freedom to those settling in new areas.
The big worry is, of course, that people will flee those restrictive states for free ones, and then immediately start voting for the kinds of pols and policies that wrecked their old states. That’s supposedly what FEE’s Fresh Start States project is supposed to help with.
This isn’t a simple problem, though. Our own former state of Colorado changed a lot in the thirty years I lived there, from a mostly-red state to a blue one tinged with purple, most of which change was driven by the growth of the Denver-Boulder Axis and an influx of people from blue states, mostly California. But there’s a difference; the people coming to Colorado were not, but the most part, political or economic migrants, but people who came for Colorado’s scenery and recreational opportunities. The migrants Ms. McDonald describes are not those.
As you all know, Mrs. Animal and I recently made a major move. Alaska is rarely mentioned on the list of states seeing an influx, and there are a number of reasons for that, not least of which is our long, cold winters. But we moved to Alaska, not away from Colorado, although the direction Colorado has taken has made us doubly glad for the move.
Still, there’s an interesting trend here. As the two increasingly-polarized sides of our country continue to pull away from each other, what will happen? Could this be the beginning of a peaceful separation? I doubt that – come any separation, I suspect there won’t be anything peaceful about it.