Policies coming out of Washington are driven by two competing governing philosophies and political parties, liberal/Democratic and conservative/Republican. As the power of the White House and Congress shifts back and forth between the two parties, these two forms of governing shift with them. As a result, it more difficult to gauge which one is superior. One of the best ways to make this comparison is by comparing individual states. Many states have been governed by Democrats or Republicans for decades. This allows for these two competing philosophies to run unhindered and gives a much clearer picture as to which one benefits its citizens the most.
There are many different metrics to look at when trying to make a well-informed decision on the superiority of one over the other. State taxes, regulatory environment, economic freedom and migratory patterns are several ways to do this. People and businesses move for many reasons, but many move to another state that allows its citizens more freedoms, freedom from over burdensome taxation, over burdensome regulation and economic freedom.
Migration patterns of citizens from blue states to red states prove to be a great way to see which governing philosophy citizens and businesses are choosing to reside in. When looking at migration data, it is important to look at net migration, inflows and outflows.
This migration data was compiled by the IRS using tax returns from each year. The returns column is the number of tax returns. Individual returns include dependent children and married couples typically file a joint return, therefore, returns are not an accurate reflection of population shifts. Population shifts are more accurately reflected in the exemptions column. The AGI, or Adjusted Gross Income, column is the income reported on the tax return.
Let’s take a look at population shifts of the blue states from January 1, 1993 through December 31, 2009.
State Net # Returns Net # Exemptions AGI
- California -758,938 -2,361,380 -$51,096,272,000
- Connecticut -128,769 -193,487 -$8,718,233,000
- Hawaii -31,309 -117,759 -$941,311,000
- Illinois -412,843 -907,523 -$35,422,197,000
- Iowa -70,546 -61,849 -$4,234,323,000
- Maryland -34,809 -100,500 -$9,145,736,000
- Massachusetts -173,596 -382,833 -$13,388,000,000
- Michigan -341,523 -525,137 -$19,467,918,000
- Minnesota -27,649 -9,801 -$5,069,389,000
- New Jersey -309,739 -538,768 -$24,584,897,000
- New York -1,020,894 -2,300,356 -$79,476,288,000
- Ohio -31 2,980 -457,339 -$22,301,429,000
- Pennsylvania -205,847 -177,524 -$10,714,795,000
- Rhode Island -36,460 -69,408 -$2,028,850,000
- Vermont -6,102 +537 +$940,654,000
- Wisconsin -51,149 +17,810 -$2,756,250,000
Now let’s take a look at population shifts of the red states from January 1, 1993 through December 31, 2009.
State Net # Returns Net # Exemptions AGI
- Alabama 34,524 125,248 $2,401,758,000
- Arizona 462,493 875,792 $31,646,526,000
- Arkansas 47,415 131,876 $3,204,097,000
- Florida 870,449 1,666,818 $105,217,875,000
- Georgia 397,256 819,337 $16,109,729,000
- Idaho 56,994 151,379 $4,524,857,000
- Kentucky 42,753 118,389 $869,790,000
- Missouri 31,546 115,551 $1,937,043,000
- Montana 15,956 47,258 $2,731,003,000
- Nevada 292,835 555,382 $20,708,285,000
- North Carolina 440,809 872,546 $28,020,768,000
- Oklahoma 8,910 55,633 $1,255,115,000
- South Carolina 173,186 364,114 $15,655,912,000
- Tennessee 198,908 431,783 $10,841,120,000
- Texas 458,978 1,082,194 $26,166,688,000
- Utah 19,337 29,515 $1,647,629,000
- Virginia 117,946 197,294 $1,660,623,000
- West Virginia 5,547 32,407 $117,268,000
- Wyoming 909 12,607 $1,740,531,000
RED STATES 3,676,751 7,685,123 $276,456,617,000
BLUE STATES -3,923,153 -8,185,317 -$288,405,234,000
The data clearly shows that people are flocking to red states and fleeing the overreaching arm of the governments of blue states. If the data was mixed, it would be difficult to claim that conservative governing was preferred and superior to liberal governing. Instead of mixed data, the difference between red states and blue states are polar opposites. Unfortunately for those who espouse growing our federal government in both size and scope, millions of citizens have spoken by walking away from the states who espouse the same failed policies.
This is merely one data point to look at; we’ll take a look at the policies driving this mass migration of people later. We ARE a Red Nation Rising and the destruction of liberal policies is wreaking havoc on citizens of the states who remain inside those bastions of ignorance.
A couple notes about the states above:
1. Iowa voted for Republican presidential candidates in all but five elections from the Civil War until 1988. From 1988 through 2012, Iowa voted for the Democratic Presidential candidate in six of the seven elections.
2. West Virginia was a solidly blue state, but swung Republican in 2000. Since 200 WV has voted for the Republican candidate in all four elections and Republicans have continued to gain state level offices. From 1993-2000 West Virginia was losing steam just like the blue states, but things turned around as soon as the state turned red, so the data for WV above runs from 2000-2009.
3. Florida has only voted for the Democratic presidential candidate four times in the last 40 years, Obama twice, Clinton in 1992 and Carter in 1976. Florida’s legislature consists of a Republican governor and a Republican Speaker of the House. Republicans hold 28 of 40 seats in their Senate and 74 of 120 seats in their House.