According to Bruce Walker at enterstageright.com, states that have adopted right-to-work laws are growing more quickly than states without these laws. Nine of the ten states that have grown the most quickly have right-to-work laws. They include: Nevada (35.1 percent), Arizona (24.6 percent), Utah (23.8 percent), Idaho (21.1 percent), Texas (20.6 percent), North Carolina (18.5 percent), Georgia (18.3 percent), Florida (17.6 percent) and South Carolina (15.3 percent). Only Colorado, with 16.9 percent growth, does not have right-to-work laws.
As for taxes, it is obvious that states with lower tax burdens for families and individuals would grow more quickly than states with higher taxes. According to The Tax Foundation, the national average of state and local taxes is $4,283. Here are the tax stats for the states growing the most quickly: Nevada ($3,245), Arizona ($3,244), Utah ($3,446), Idaho ($3,670), Texas ($3,580), North Carolina ($3,663), Georgia ($3,735), Florida ($3,441) and South Carolina ($3,127). Again, only Colorado ($4,359), one of the states growing most quickly, had state and local taxes higher than the national average. The states with the lowest growth had state and local taxes above the national average: Rhode Island ($4,533), New York ($6,419), Massachusetts ($5,377), Pennsylvania ($4,463), Illinois ($4,346). Among these, only economically depressed Michigan ($3,694) had taxes below the national average. And that is why those states are losing population.
Also, states with a more congenial small-business climate grew more quickly than states without it. The best of those states were Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Texas, Florida, Colorado, Michigan and South Carolina. The states with the least congenial small-business climates were Rhode Island, Louisiana, Ohio, New York, West Virginia, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania.
In other words, lower state and local taxes, right-to-work laws, and congenial small business climates seem to be the main factors determining migration patterns in the United States. However, religion also seems to be a determining factor in where people choose to move. Walker cites the Pew Foundation as the source of this interesting data. According to Pew Research, on average, 56 percent of Americans say that religion is very important in their lives. A higher percentage of citizens in seven of the top ten most quickly growing states say that religion is very important in their lives: Utah (66 percent), Idaho (58 percent), Texas (67 percent), North Carolina (69 percent), Georgia (68 percent), Florida (57 percent), and South Carolina (70 percent).
States below the average were Nevada (50 percent), Arizona (51 percent) and Colorado (44 percent). Citizens in eight of the ten most slowly growing states rank the importance of religion below the national average: Michigan (54 percent), Rhode Island (44 percent), Ohio (55 percent), New York (46 percent), Vermont (40 percent), Massachusetts (40 percent), Pennsylvania (54 percent), and Illinois (53 percent). Not surprisingly, of the most slowly growing states, two ranked religion higher than most states: West Virginia (60 percent) and Louisiana (70 percent).
Considering how Americans voted in the November elections, it turns out that in every state except Rhode Island conservatives outnumber liberals. According to Gallup, cited by Walker, the advantage conservatives have over liberals varies among the 50 states. In seven of the ten most quickly growing states, that conservative edge is greater than in most states: Nevada (+22 percent), Utah (+36 percent), Idaho (+33 percent), Texas (+25 percent), North Carolina (+27 percent), South Carolina (+30 percent), Georgia (+27 percent), Arizona (+17 percent), Florida (+20 percent). Again, Colorado (+10 percent) was the exception, less conservative than most states. In eight out of the ten most slowly growing states, the people were less conservative than in most states: Michigan (+18 percent), Rhode Island (-2 percent), Ohio (+21 percent), New York (+4 percent), Vermont (+4 percent), Massachusetts (+2 percent), Pennsylvania (+20 percent) and Illinois (+13 percent). Both Louisiana (+31 percent) and West Virginia (+26 percent) were more conservative than the rest of America.
It should be noted that California is no longer the most quickly growing state, nor is it among the slowest. It is somewhere in the middle with Wisconsin, Iowa, Kansas, and other such states. But what these statistics show is that Americans are definitely moving away from states with higher taxes and moving to those with lower tax burdens for individuals and families and with more congenial business climates.
As for U.S. population growth, according to the Census, it grew from 281 million in 2000 to 308 million in 2010. Of that increase of 27 million, 51 percent are Hispanic. From 2000 to 2009 the Hispanic population grew 37 percent. What that means for American culture can already be seen by the growing number of signs in Spanish in supermarkets, language options on public phone lines, instruction manuals for cellphones in Spanish, etc. Although many Hispanics vote Democrat, they are basically conservative in their family values and religion. The huge mega-churches in Texas are filled with large numbers of Hispanic-Americans. And many Hispanic-Americans are in our armed forces. They will obviously become a strong cultural, social, and political force in the future.
Census data also indicates that the housing sector remains depressed. Home prices continue to fall, and the Census Department reports that vacant homes totaled 18.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2010, meaning 11 percent of all housing units are vacant year-round, according to CNBC. Home ownership dropped to 66.5 percent in the fourth quarter from 66.9 percent in the third quarter, the lowest level since 1998. In other words, the policy of providing mortgages for the poor has, in the end, had the opposite effect. Thus, many of the poor, initially exhilarated to own a home, have lost it because of being unable to pay the mortgage.
According to CNBC real estate columnist Diana Olick, “Homeownership is falling at an alarming pace, despite the fact that home prices have fallen, affordability is much improved, and inventories of new and existing homes are still running quite high.”
Much of the problem is that the nation is still recovering emotionally from the housing crash of the past four years, she says. “Younger Americans have seen what home ownership has done to their friends and families, and many want no part of it. Credit has become very nearly elitist.”
Economist Nouriel Roubini says housing is in the midst of a double-dip recession. “Demand is falling, and supply is increasing because there is a shadow inventory of millions of not yet foreclosed homes. Therefore, prices are going to fall even further,” he predicts.
So, while President Obama claims that the recession is over, the facts belie his rosy view of the economy. However, at least the Census of 2010 has provided conservatives some good news, despite growing inflation, a stagnant high jobless rate, and the recession in the housing market.