Debating Migration: Why Are People Moving to Texas?

And why away from SoCal?

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A lot of attention in the blogosphere today is being directed at an interactive map devised by Forbes. The map shows migration to and from different counties and cities, black lines showing people moving into an area, red lines representing people on the way out. Among other findings, huge flows to Texas and Seattle and away from areas of Southern California and Detroit have bloggers intrigued. Here are some of the comments and efforts to explain.

  • 'Jobs and No State Income Taxes'  That's what's attracting people to Texas, argues A.S. at The Economist's Free Exchange blog. "High earning New Yorkers and Californians can take home between 9% and 11% more of their income by moving to Texas. Every trip down I speak to at least one bitter New Yorker/Californian fed up with high taxes and cost of living."

  • That's Not Quite True  All taxes factored in, observes economist Brad DeLong, "Texans pay 26.0% of their income in taxes--while  ... Californians pay 28.5% of their income in taxes. Roughly half of that difference comes from the fact that our federal tax system is somewhat progressive," i.e. people in California are, presumably, in a different category for federal purposes, which means that taxes in Texas just aren't that much lower, all things considered. He also points out that, though The Economist's A.S. is complaining about expense on the coasts, "costs of living in New York and (coastal, metropolitan) California are high because there isn't much space and because they are very nice places to be."
  • What's With East Coasters and Orange County?  Mother Jones's Kevin Drum looks at migration to and from his home county in California. "What's interesting," he writes, "is that the outward migration is all over the map, but the inward migration is almost exclusively from the East Coast and bits of the upper midwest. I'm not sure why."
  • What's With Southern California in General?  Outside the Beltway's James Joyner looks at Los Angeles County, which is also experiencing an exodus. It turns out, though, that "the outward flow is much more scattered than the inward flow ... in 2008 at least, most of the people moving to LA were doing so from the Boston-New York-Washington corridor whereas most leaving LA were staying either on the West Coast or somewhere else in the Sun Belt." He's fascinated by this, and wonders whether "the graphic is just overwhelmed by population clusters."

  • 'For Those of You Who Blame  High California Taxes for the Exodus,' asks Barry Ritholtz at The Big Picture, "how do you explain Miami?" Florida has no income tax, but he includes the graphic for Miami, which shows tons of red lines from people vacating the city.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.