images-1.jpg

The South Has Risen Again

Over at Forbes, a fascinating piece by the demographer and social scientist Joel Kotkin–with a hat tip to our own Ben Domenech for linking to the piece in “The Transom” earlier this week.

Kotkin’s no conservative.  But he’s honest about the data–honest, so to speak, about the evidence of his own eyes.  ”The common media view of the South,” Kotkin writes, “may be as a regression region, full of overweight, prejudiced, exploited, and undereducated numbskulls.”  But the region has already become the most populous in the nation–and it’s still growing.  Viz:

The South still attracts the most domestic migrants of any U.S. region. Last year, it boasted six of the top eight states in terms of net domestic migration — Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee, South Carolina and Georgia. Texas and Florida alone gained 250,000 net migrants. The top four losers were deep blue New York, Illinois, New Jersey and California….

In the 1950s, the South, the Northeast and the Midwest each had about the same number of people. Today the region is almost as populous as the Northeast and the Midwest combined.

Perhaps more importantly, these states [in the South] are nurturing families, in contrast to the Great Lakes states, the Northeast and California. Texas, for example, has increased its under 10 population by over 17% over the past decade; all the former confederate states, outside of Katrina-ravaged Mississippi and Louisiana, gained between 5% and 10%. On the flip side, under 10 populations declined in Illinois, Michigan, New York and California. Houston, Austin, Dallas, Charlotte, Atlanta and Raleigh also saw their child populations rise by at least twice the 10% rate of the rest country over the past decade while New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston and Chicago areas experienced declines.

God, guns, families, patriotism–and low taxes.  Obama may succeed in turning the Northeast and the West Coast into Belgium-like welfare states, but the South looks as though it has no intention of playing along, and–here we come to the really critical point–may even help save the rest of us:

Over time, numbers like these [that show a growing southern population] will have consequences politically, as well as culturally and economically. In the next half century, more Americans will be brought up Southern; the drawls may be softer, and social values hopefully less constricted, but the cultural imprint and regional loyalties are likely to persist. Rather than fade way, expect Southern influence instead to grow over time. 

I differ from Kotkin in one particular, of course–I hope the South retains its social values just as they are.  (I suppose I’d better note that I’m writing here of social, rather than racial, values, but even so.  Kotkin scarcely touches on race here, yet, as Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina demonstrates, in matters of race the South has come a long, long way.)  In expecting the influence of the South to rise and rise, however, I’m with Kotkin. 

  1. Paladin

    The problem is all the people fleeing the deep blue states can’t bring themselves to vote for anyone but a Democrat and insist on trying to bring to the South the failed policies of the states they left behind. 

  2. Vince Guerra

    Up here in Alaska we say, “Outbreed Liberalism.” (Don’t say it to loud though. We don’t want to alert them to our master plan.) We’re also adopting like crazy. 

  3. Matthew Gilley

    This is no surprise to those of us who are busy dismantling the Rust Belt one U-Haul at a time. If nothing else, we will do the world a favor by sparing it further media obsessions with the weeds-swaying-in-the-wind political habits of mush-minded Ohioans (Scott Reusser, hear us roar!).

  4. Will Collier

    If I may quote the late, great Lewis Grizzard, “I say, come on down.  Eat our food. Breathe our air. Marry our women. The only thing we ask is that you don’t tell us how you used to do things in Cleveland.”

  5. ctlaw

    Peter,

    Just consider your beloved upstate NY. Practically, the only working people left are government and university employees and the minimal service industries to cater to them.

    Outside of metro-NYC and Albany, that massive geographical area probably has only a couple of million people, tops. The problem is that state taxes and regulations are set as high as can be without driving out the semi-captive NYC industries (financial, advertising, tourism, entertainment). That drives all other industry out of the state.

    CT is much the same. The tax/regulation threshold is set to just barely keep Stamford competitive with White Plains for NYC overflow. This helped devastate the small manufacturing base of the state.

  6. ctlaw

    And the response is open borders.

    Vince Guerra: Up here in Alaska we say, “Outbreed Liberalism.” (Don’t say it to loud though. We don’t want to alert them to our master plan.) We’re also adopting like crazy.  · 1 hour ago

  7. D.C. McAllister
    C
    Blame The Innocent: Virginia (north of the Rappahannock River) and Florida (south of I-4) have left the fold.

    North Carolina stands on the edge of the knife. Yes we swept the state election with Republican victories, but it was hard fought. And the influx of immigrants not just from South America, but Asia, India, and Europe bring a dynamic that leans Democrat. We love the cultural “melting pot” but it seems that so few who come to North Carolina share our values of limited government and free markets. It’s also a state where ACORN (whatever their moniker is now, I’m not sure) is active and they are very angry about McCrory winning the gubernatorial race. Americans for Prosperity is strong too, though. We can’t rest and think North Carolina is safe. We really do need to be ever-vigilant.

  8. Benjamin Glaser
    EstoniaKat: According to the map, West Virginia is considered part of the South. Why is that? I thought the reason West Virginia existed is it broke off from seceding Virginia. An honest question – I’m curious. · 6 hours ago

    As a native West Virginian I can assure you of some things:

    1) West Virginia sent almost as many troops South as they did North. (Including all of my relatives that served in the war.) 

    2) The counties that now make up West Virginia did not vote to leave Virginia by a majority, but thanks to the voting of Union troops it was made to look like it. In fact a large portion of the southern and eastern part of the new state was still in Confederate hands (not by occupation, but by choice) on June 20, 1863.

    3) West Virginia (minus the northern panhandle, which is just an extension of Western Pennsylvania) is culturally in every way Southern.

  9. Mothership_Greg

    Can someone explain the words

    social values hopefully less constricted

    ???

    Do any of y’all southerners feel like your values are constricted? Sounds like a personal problem to me.  Or maybe just careless writing.

  10. Blame The Innocent

    Is the infection cencentrated in any particular locations (Research Triangle) or spread across the state?

    Denise McAllister

    Blame The Innocent: Virginia (north of the Rappahannock River) and Florida (south of I-4) have left the fold.

    North Carolina stands on the edge of the knife. Yes we swept the state election with Republican victories, but it was hard fought. And the influx of immigrants not just from South America, but Asia, India, and Europe bring a dynamic that leans Democrat. We love the cultural “melting pot” but it seems that so few who come to North Carolina share our values of limited government and free markets. It’s also a state where ACORN (whatever their moniker is now, I’m not sure) is active and they are very angry about McCrory winning the gubernatorial race. Americans for Prosperity is strong too, though. We can’t rest and think North Carolina is safe. We really do need to be ever-vigilant. · 1 hour ago

  11. Britanicus
    Paladin: The problem is all the people fleeing the deep blue states can’t bring themselves to vote for anyone but a Democrat and insist on trying to bring to the South the failed policies of the states they left behind.  · 4 hours ago

    New Hampshire is in a similar boat. The state would be solid red if it wasn’t for the immigrants from Boston. They see the better conditions that reasonable government begets, so they move from crazy MA to nice NH. However, they fail to leave their politics at the border and are slowly turning NH blue.

  12. Spin

    Over the weekend, my wife and I actually had a serious conversation about moving to Texas.  I can’t say as I am prepared for the upheaval that means, but we are seriously considering it.  I’m so tired of being surrounded by liberals.  And what they do to the business climate, even on a grassroots level…

  13. jetstream

    The Texas Sphere of Influence …

  14. Benjamin Glaser

    Move to southern Mississippi. I love it down here. 

  15. Blame The Innocent

    It sounds like this was WV’s version of reconstruction.  Maybe that explains their love affair with the Democratic Party.

    Benjamin Glaser

    EstoniaKat: According to the map, West Virginia is considered part of the South. Why is that? I thought the reason West Virginia existed is it broke off from seceding Virginia. An honest question – I’m curious. · 6 hours ago

    As a native West Virginian I can assure you of some things:

    1) West Virginia sent almost as many troops South as they did North. (Including all of my relatives that served in the war.) 

    2) The counties that now make up West Virginia did not vote to leave Virginia by a majority, but thanks to the voting of Union troops it was made to look like it. In fact a large portion of the southern and eastern part of the new state was still in Confederate hands (not by occupation, but by choice) on June 20, 1863.

    3) West Virginia (minus the northern panhandle, which is just an extension of Western Pennsylvania) is culturally in every way Southern. · 1 hour ago

  16. D.C. McAllister
    C
    Blame The Innocent: Is the infection cencentrated in any particular locations (Research Triangle) or spread across the state?

    Definitely Research Triangle, but all through the Piedmont, Charlotte in particular. The mountains are mixed with Asheville being a hotbed of liberalism. Eastern Carolina is still conservative, but even there things are shifting. You’d be surprised how many military people are for Obama. I cringe whenever I see “Veterans For Obama” when I drive to the coast.

  17. D.C. McAllister
    C
    Spin: Over the weekend, my wife and I actually had a serious conversation about moving to Texas.  I can’t say as I am prepared for the upheaval that means, but we are seriously considering it.  I’m so tired of being surrounded by liberals.  And what they do to the business climate, even on a grassroots level… · 33 minutes ago

    Maybe we should all move to Canada :)

  18. Brian Clendinen
    Blame The Innocent: Virginia (north of the Rappahannock River) and Florida (south of I-4) have left the fold.

    Edited 8 hours ago

    That is actually not true at all. The Panhandle of Florida down to the Central Florida/Greater Tampa area (ignoring the Eastern Coast Counties) is very southern. Also from what I can tell Western, Central and Southern Virginia are very much still southern.

  19. Merina Smith

    Joel Kotkin is one of the most interesting writers out there.  He pays attention to a lot of things that others, right and left, don’t.  There’s not much data out there about some social issues yet, but it would not surprise me to see him come around on those in 10-20 years time, when there is more evidence.  He’s seems like an honest guy who analyzes the data and goes where it leads him. 

  20. BrentB67

    I agree with others that Oklahoma has southern values, but I don’t know the demographic changes there.