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Monday, December 10, 2012

Despite Its Backward Ways, The South Continues To Draw More Newcomers Than Any Other Region

Trends in Southern migration

Americans have elected a black president for a second time, and voters in the South have proven staunchly opposed to the idea. With Florida being the only state in the Deep South to go for Barack Obama in 2012, it would seem our region is out of step with the rest of the country.

But guess which region is attracting more newcomers than any other. If you guessed the South, you are right on target. And if you are confused by that seeming incongruity, you are not alone.

According to a new report from Facing South and the Institute for Southern Studies, the South is the leading destination for those who move between states. Is the South's adherence to a hard-nosed form of conservative politics a turn off for many Americans? Maybe so, but it doesn't keep people from moving here. From the Facing South report:

Not as many people are moving between states as they were in earlier decades, but those who do move are choosing to move to the South. 
In fact, according to new Census Bureau data released this week, the Southern region of the United States is the only one to show a net gain in migration over the last five years, growing at the expense of states in the Northeast, Midwest and even the West. 
The data comes from the American Community Survey, a sampling of 3 million households conducted by the Census Bureau in the years between the decennial census. The latest figures, which reflect trends over the five-year period between 2007 and 2011, show the South as the leading destination for those who have moved between states during that time.

What about specifics? The data shows the South with a net migration gain of 181,378 from the Northeast, 128,516 from the Midwest, and 80,756 from the West. That the South is attracting more newcomers than even the West might be the biggest take-home point from the survey. Reports Facing South:

The Census Bureau data has its limitations. Its definition of the South includes such places as Washington, D.C., which demographer William Frey of the Brookings Institution notes is one of the metro areas that has started seeing on uptick in newcomers moving to the area (but which few others would include as a "Southern" area). Because it's only a sample, there's also a decent margin of error. 
But the overall trendlines show what many Southerners already know: Lots of newcomers, from all over the country, are calling the South home. This, combined with the fact that many Southern states have a high number of what demographers call "sticky" residents -- people who are born in the state that stay in the state -- means that the South will continue to grow, both in size and political clout.

It stands to reason that quite a few newcomers to the South are moderates or even (gasp!) liberals. And that leaves us with this heavy-duty question: Will the South change the newcomers, or will the newcomers change the South?

We will have to stay tuned for the next 25 years or so to find out.

(Graphic: Facing South and the Institute of Southern Studies)

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

I can already hear Southerners saying, "If you don't like it here, get the hell out!"

Raymond said...

We could use a few more libruls here in da South.

Sharon said...

Important story. Thanks for reporting on this.

TLR said...

"Will the South change the newcomers, or will the newcomers change the South?"

You cut to the chase with this one, LS. Will be interesting to watch this play out.

Anonymous said...

How much of this growth is in the relatively progressive states, like Florida, Georgia and North Carolina? Take them out of the picture, and I bet the rest of the South is more or less stagnant.

Anonymous said...

Seems I've read that Alabama is the slowest growing Southern state, even though we have the Repugs in control of all statewide offices. Is my memory correct on this one?

legalschnauzer said...

Anon at 9:08--

I believe you are correct, and I think this dates back at least to the glorious Riley years.

We have one of the lowest overall tax burdens in the country, so we can't fund the kind of infrastructure that would support major growth. A lot of our kids already go to school in trailers.

Spasmoda said...

Excellent point, @9:07.

I would go a step further and add this: If you subtract the metro areas of Atlanta, Miami, Tampa Bay, and Charlotte, much of the growth probably disappears.

I find it hard to believe that people are flocking to states like South Carolina, Mississippi, and Alabama.

legalschnauzer said...

Spas:

You seem to be saying that newcomers aren't flocking to Southern "states" at all, but rather to certain metro areas that happen to be in the South.

Would be interesting to see if research backs that up. Bet you are onto something.

Anonymous said...

Where are Southerners going to move when they want to get away from all of the libs and other newbies?

legalschnauzer said...

Anon at 9:19--

Love your comment.

Possible answer: Costa Rica?

Anonymous said...

Northern, Eastern, Western, Southern and then we have America.

Migration has been a reality due to people being harvested.

Always happens when the people of earth have been harvested, or are being harvested.

Until We The People reclaim our right to money manufacturing on COMPUTERS [do not like the new insert of links] here in the "aughts," then there is no idea: higher civilized.

All of America can be the same as what China is now experiencing, growth and prosperity. China came here and stole lots of properties, the nationals were paid via our very own "Treasury" DIGITS to invest in the "Housing Bubble."

HOW people of earth, whether or not attached to a specific dirt, do we find communication and cooperation as though of the same "family," humans?

Robby Scott Hill said...

The only way we're going to get the backwardness out of the Southern People is to breed it out of them. I'm not saying you have to get married to a conservative. Just have children with as many of them as possible, but no more than three kids per conservative woman. Use your Earned Income Credit to save for the children's college or trade school education & make sure they join a union.

legalschnauzer said...

Rob, you just gave me an LOL.

Libs breeding with conservative women in the South. Now that's an idea whose time has come!

David in S. Alabama said...

In the early 1980s a sociology prof at Auburn wrote an article for a national magazine entitled, "Will the South Rise Again Or Will It Just Roll Over?"

Anonymous said...

That's been happening for a long time! Southern women marrying northern soldiers. It's broken up many families.

Anonymous said...

The color of his skin is not why people in the south oppose Obama. It's because he is a sh---- leader! Just if not more sh---- as both Bush thugs and Clinton! The race card is wrong and exactly why the elite chose him. The catalyst for the end game and race war to begin the end. LS, I enjoy your stories but please don't aid in that. It's going to be bad enough when it happens.

Stick to demonizing those who deserve it and use your voice to educate those that don't get it. Once the south really gets it look out pos's like Reynolds, Crowson and the rest of them. The law they disrespect and ignore to destroy people, probably won't be much help to them either.