The population on the move | Editorial

The pandemic has changed America in many ways, and one of the major changes is the migration from the states that have most locked down their economies and schools to those that have kept them wide open.

This is the news underreported in the Census Bureau’s state population and internal migration estimates for the past week from July 1, 2020 to July 1, 2021. The data used for this year’s Congressional redistribution was based on the place where people claimed to live on April 1, 2020. But what a difference 15 months of confinements carried out.

Illinois’ population declined by a further 141,039 between spring 2020 and last summer, as 151,512 people online left the state for other states. California lost 300,387 amid a net emigration of 429,283 residents. The biggest loser – you already know – was New York, whose population declined by 365,336 due to an exodus of 406,257.

On the other hand, Texas added 382,436 new residents, including 211,289 from other states. Florida gained 242,941 residents while 263,958 people from other states flocked. Florida’s population growth would have been greater without the high number of Covid deaths, which is the result of its older population. Ditto for Arizona, whose population has increased by 124,814 inhabitants.

The migration from high-tax states to low-tax states, especially those in the Sun Belt, has been going on for more than a decade. But the trend accelerated during the pandemic, as Democratic states tended to impose the most stringent school lockdowns and closures while those ruled by Republicans allowed most businesses and schools to remain open after the end of the year. spring 2020.

California’s net outflows jumped 75% between July 1, 2020 and July 1, 2021 compared to the same period of 2018 to 2019. Emigration from New York has doubled. In contrast, the influx from Texas increased by 40% and that from Florida by more than half. The flight from Illinois also picked up.

For the first time since 2011, Connecticut saw a net increase in migration from other states. This is likely due to the fact that many New York office workers have relocated as Manhattan employers have shifted to remote work. But Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont also pushed for schools to stay open last winter, and he imposed fewer pandemic restrictions than former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The Covid Rational Ground data monitoring team calculated that the 25 states with the most in-person learning in the 2020-2021 school year gained 822,064 people on the net from other states. It is impossible to precisely quantify the cause-and-effect impact of school closings and closures on population migration. But the correlation is clear from the data.

There is also the impact of the tax hike. Although Washington state (which did not have income tax) before the pandemic attracted people from other states, it had a small net outflow last year. Gov. Jay Inslee’s severe lockdowns and school closures are likely the culprits. But the state is not helping by imposing a 7% capital gains tax in excess of $ 250,000 that goes into effect Jan. 1. Remote working has made top earners more mobile, and raising their taxes is fiscally self-destructive.

Mr. Cuomo is the king of self-destruction. In the spring, he signed a law increasing the income tax of individuals earning more than $ 1 million even as tax revenues increased. The state and region’s highest combined rate climbed to 14.8%, from 12.7% for income of more than $ 25 million. Good luck to Eric Adams, the mayor-elect of New York, who is forced to advocate with high incomes to return from Florida.

Many GOP-led states, including Tennessee, Idaho and Arkansas, have cut taxes during the pandemic. More than a dozen like Georgia, Missouri, and West Virginia have also expanded the choice of schools, as have a few Democrat-ruled like Kansas and Pennsylvania.

The pandemic, hopefully, is a once in a lifetime event. It has caused enormous social and economic upheaval, as well as population displacements that will not be repeated every year. Yet it has also accentuated the distinction between Republican lawmakers who strive to protect individual freedom, even in times of crisis, and Democrats who impose more government control.

Differences in policies and political values ​​will not diminish with the virus, and census data clearly shows which side wins the competition for talent and taxpayers.


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