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The census and conservatism

By Bruce Walker
web posted January 10, 2011

The Census showed that states which tend to vote Republican also tended to gain House seats and that the states which tend to vote Democrat also tended to lose House seats.  Some people have viewed climate as the principal factor in migration within America.  "Climate" is a good term to use when describing the movement of people within our nation, but it is less the weather "climate" than other varieties of climate which seem to govern the flow of population.

The Census shows that those states which have adopted Right to Work have grown faster than union shop states.  Nine of the ten fastest growing states have Right to Work:  Nevada (35.1%), Arizona (24.6%), Utah (23.8%), Idaho (21.1%), Texas (20.6%), North Carolina (18.5%), Georgia (18.3%), Florida (17.6%) and South Carolina (15.3%) – only Colorado, with 16.9% growth, does not.  Nine of the ten slowest growing states do not have Right to Work:  Michigan (-.6%), Rhode Island (.5%), Ohio (1.6%), New York (2.1%), West Virginia (2.5%), Vermont (2.8%), Massachusetts (3.1%), Pennsylvania (3.4%), and Illinois (3.3%) – only Louisiana, which suffered dislocations from Katrina, at 1.4% growth was also a Right to Work State.

According to tax data from The Tax Foundation, nine of the top ten fastest growing states had a state and local tax burden in 2008 below the national average of $4,283:  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) – only Colorado ($4,359), among the ten fastest growing states,  had a state and local tax burden above the national average.  Seven of the ten slowest growing states had state and local tax burdens above the national average:  Rhode Island ($4,533), Ohio ($4,049), New York ($6,419),  Vermont ($4,410), Massachusetts ($5,377), Pennsylvania ($4,463), and Illinois ($4,346) -  West Virginia ($3,000), Michigan ($3,694) and Louisiana ($3,286)
 
Seven of the ten fastest growing states had a better than average "Small Business Tax Climate," with "1" being the best climate for small business:   Nevada (4), Utah (9), Idaho (14), Texas (13), Florida (5), Colorado (15) and South Carolina (24) – Arizona (34), North Carolina (41), and Georgia (25) were below average.  Among the ten slowest growing states, eight had a "Small Business Tax Climate" below average:  Rhode Island (41), Louisiana (36), Ohio (46), New York (50), West Virginia (37), Vermont (38), Massachusetts (32) and Pennsylvania (26) – Michigan (17) and Illinois (23) were above average.

Right to Work, tax burden for individuals, and small business tax climate all seem to affect population growth, but there are other factors as well.   Pew finds that, on average, 56% of Americans say that religion is very important in their lives.  A higher percentage of citizens in seven of the top ten fastest growing states say that religion is very important in their lives:  Utah (66%), Idaho (58%), Texas (67%), North Carolina (69%), Georgia (68%), Florida (57%), and South Carolina (70%) – Nevada (50%), Arizona (51%) and Colorado (44%) were below that average.  Citizens in eight of the ten slowest growing states rank the importance of religion below the national average:  Michigan (54%), Rhode Island (44%), Ohio (55%), New York (46%), Vermont (40%), Massachusetts (40%), Pennsylvania (54%), and Illinois (53%) – West Virginians (60%) and Louisianans (70%) ranked religion higher than most Americans.

The terms "conservative" and "liberal" sum up this cluster of policies and beliefs.  Gallup states that conservatives outnumber liberals in every state except Rhode Island, in which liberals have a tiny two point edge over conservatives.  The advantage conservatives have over liberals varies a great deal among the fifty states though.  In seven of the ten fastest growing states, that conservative advantage is greater than in most states:  Nevada (+22%), Utah (+36%), Idaho (+33%), Texas (+25%), North Carolina (+27%), South Carolina (+30%) and Georgia (27%) – Arizona (+17%), Florida (+20%) and Colorado (+10%) were relatively less conservative than most states.  In eight out of the ten slowest growing states, the people were relatively less conservative than in most states:  Michigan (+18%), Rhode Island (-2%), Ohio (+21%), New York (+4%), Vermont (+4%), Massachusetts (+2%), Pennsylvania (+20%) and Illinois (+13%) – Louisiana (+31%) and West Virginia (+26%) were relatively more conservative than the rest of America.

The difference in economic, religious and ideological conditions in the fastest growing states and the slowest growing states is stark and clear:  Americans are voting with their feet to escape big labor, tax burdens on individuals and businesses, and irreligion.  More than just climate is involved.  People are leaving states and regions which tax them too much and which have political and social values too far to the Left.  Remove the Louisiana population losses from Hurricane Katrina – Louisiana is the conservative "odd man out" in many of these comparisons - and the picture would be even clearer.  But the picture is pretty clear anyway.  The census shows a vast exodus from Leftism. ESR

Bruce Walker is the author of a new book Poor Lenin's Almanac: Perverse Leftists Proverbs for Modern Life.

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