Sunday, October 19, 2014

Wisconsinites moving West, and not always to warmth

Jud Lounsbury at Uppity Wisconsin observed an interesting number in the recently released figures from the U.S. Census Bureau on net migration. If you click on the report, you will see where people that move from one state to the other goes to, and what the trends are over the last several years. As Lounsbury points out, a sizable amount of Wisconsinites moved across the St. Croix River to Minnesota last year, home of a 4.1% unemployment rate and more progressive politics.
According to the latest U.S. Census state-to-state migration report, 9,352 more people moved out of Wisconsin than moved into Wisconsin and a large share of those leaving-- 1,972 to be exact-- are going to our next door neighbor, Minnesota.

Most people in Wisconsin would hate to suffer the embarassment of becoming a Gopher and this bucks a national trend of people moving from colder to warmer states. In other words, people in Wisconsin are so hard-up that they're willing to move to Minnesota!
In fact, Wisconsin and Minnesota trade people quite a bit, with Wisconsin losing more people to the Land of 10,000 Lakes more than any other state, including our neighbors to the south in Illinois. As these stats will show, Wisconsin loses people to the three less-populated Midwestern states, while gaining from the higher-population states (which makes some sense- there's more people that could potentially move in the bigger states than the smaller ones).

Wisconsin vs. neighboring states
Minnesota- 15,722 IN, 17,649 OUT (-1,927)
Iowa- 4,172 IN, 5,219 OUT (-1,047)
Indiana- 1,515 IN, 2,490 OUT (-975)
Michigan- 5,920 IN, 5,297 OUT (+693)
Ohio- 3,331 IN, 2,390 OUT (+941)
Illinois- 25,364 IN, 15,844 OUT (+9,520)

Of course, the Midwest has been losing in net migration for several years. Some of it due to struggles in the post-industrial economy, but also many of the losses have been to places with warmer climates (think retirees). One state in particular is losing more than others (Illinois), in levels far beyond what you would expect from the most populous state in the Midwest. Also interesting is that Minnesota's relatively high net migration is largely due to movement to the oil boom states of the Dakotas, which is something the other Midwestern states have generally not had.

Net migration for Midwest
Iowa- 77,470 OUT, 75,650 IN (-1,820)
Indiana- 135,472 OUT, 133,508 IN (-1,964)
Wisconsin – 110,198 OUT, 100,846 IN (-9,352)
Minnesota- 119,221 OUT, 104,825 IN (-14,396) (-8,096 to Dakotas)
Ohio- 201,515 OUT, 185,749 IN (-15,766)
Michigan- 166,996 OUT, 144,091 IN (-22,905)
Illinois- 304,644 OUT, 223,605 IN (-81,039)

Lastly, here's a look at other popular destinations for Wisconsinities to move to, or for people to come from when they move to Wisconsin. Not surprisingly, most are warm, with one notable exception.

Top 5 other states for Wisconsin-related migration
Florida- 4,423 IN, 7,321 OUT (-2,898)
Texas- 3,799 IN, 6,646 OUT (-2,647)
Arizona- 3,749 IN, 5,694 OUT (-1,945)
California- 5,149 IN, 4,704 OUT (+445)
Washington- 1,616 IN, 4,190 OUT (-2,574)

Climate may explain the first 4 on that list, but it does not explain why Minnesota and Washington should be gaining thousands of Wisconsinites, which leads back to Lounsbury's theory about higher quality of life and a stronger economy being reasons for certain states to attract talent from Wisconsin. And it's also worth mentioning that both states have higher minimum wages than Wisconsin, and were ahead of us in instituting progressive policies such as strong public transit and marriage equality.

Maybe we should look into bringing that mentality back to Wisconsin, and elect the governor that'll promote those items, instead of playing "divide and conquer" and denigrating the progressive policies and high quality of life that attracts talent. Makes sense, doesn't it?

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