One common interpretation of the 2010 Census figures was that U.S. migration patterns resembled a river flowing generally from Massachusetts to Arizona. The stats seem to cooperate with the story. Families flowed from expensive, blue, northeast and settled in the cheap, red Sun Belt. Texas and California -- the top state destinations -- added 7.5 million people in the last 10 years, more than the all the folks in Massachusetts and Vermont combined. Arizona and Nevada led the nation in percent growth, adding nearly a third of their year-2000 population in a decade.
What's behind the south-by-southwest current? Economist Ed Glaesar, writing for the New York Times, says, Sunshine and lax regulations. In the northeast, living is expensive, housing is expensive and regulations hurt building construction. In the Sun Belt, by comparison, living is cheap, houses are plentiful, land is plentiful, and regulations are lax...
Housing regulations, more than those that bind standard businesses, explain the Sun Belt's population growth. If New York and Massachusetts want to stop losing Congressional seats, then they must revisit the rules that make it so difficult to build. High prices show that the demand would be there if the supply is unleashed.
Whatever the reasons for this wave, it's important to remember that it has partially crashed, already. The migration south and west rode a housing bubble that grew largest in California, Florida, Arizona and Nevada -- all of which are in the top three in either most people added or most percentage.