A.S. at The Economist explains that people move to Texas because the taxes are low:
IN THE ten years I’ve lived in New York I forgot how to drive. Lately I’ve been spending lots of time in Austin, Texas. Enough so that I’ve had to start driving again. When you go many years without driving, it becomes terrifying. So to refresh my skills I took lessons with a wonderfully patient and brave woman who has taught driving in Austin for nearly thirty years. I expected to be one of her few adult students, but no. My instructor claimed in the past few years the number of adult students increased exponentially, not quite rivalling the number of teenagers. Most are tech workers who come from all over the world, drawn by the vigorous labour market. Adult driving students struck me as a rather interesting economic indicator. It doesn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know. Migration statistics reveal that people are moving in droves to Texas. Why? Jobs and no state income taxes. 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.Yglesias responds:
Well . . . maybe. Texas certainly is growing rapidly, and it does have a relatively healthy labor market. But even though a lot of people are moving to Texas, it seems to me that California’s population is also growing at an impressive clip:So successful citizens are moving to low tax states while less well off immigrants head to high welfare states. Is anyone surprised?
I suspect A.S. is being somewhat misled by this fascinating interactive tool which charts domestic migration only and thus gives the impression that certain places are experiencing massive net population flight when in fact they’re just attracting a lot of immigrants.
I'm all for open immigration, but I'd much rather live with a red state's economy. As should anyone who's interested in a healthy labor market with low taxes and welfare. Among people who feel the same, the Economist's point stands.
Alas, the problems with Texas are certainly not economic—rather, they are called Texans.