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Red States Leap Ahead

Texas has been cleaning up in state rankings of job growth and business-friendliness, but it isn’t alone. In an excellent new piece in the Wall Street Journal, Joel Kotkin profiles the four “red growth corridors” of the South and West that are quickly outpacing the rest of the country in job creation, economic growth, and population. These corridors are more business friendly, cheaper to live in, and are emerging as centers of energy production, agriculture, and manufacturing. As a result, they are fast becoming, in Kotkin’s words, an “American Ruhr“:

Since 2000, the Intermountain West’s population has grown by 20%, the Third Coast’s by 14%, the long-depopulating Great Plains by over 14%, and the Southeast by 13%. Population in the rest of the U.S. has grown barely 7%. Last year, the largest net recipients of domestic migrants were Texas and Florida, which between them gained 150,000. The biggest losers? New York, New Jersey, Illinois and California.

As a result, the corridors are home to most of America’s fastest-growing big cities, including Charlotte, Raleigh, Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Salt Lake City, Oklahoma City and Denver. Critically for the economic and political future, the growth corridor seems particularly appealing to young families with children.

Cities such as Raleigh, Charlotte, Austin, Dallas and Houston enjoy among the country’s fastest growth rates in the under-15 population. That demographic is on the wane in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco. Immigrants, too, flock to once-unfamiliar places like Nashville, Charlotte and Oklahoma City. Houston and Dallas already have more new immigrants per capita than Boston, Philadelphia, Seattle and Chicago.

Read the whole thing. If this trend continues and blue states are left behind in terms of growth, will their voters will take another look at how well their model is serving them and rebalance their priorities? Change is hard, but there comes a time when the status quo can no longer be maintained.

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