More people are moving to the South and the West in the U.S., and that 3.1 percent North Dakota uptick is… OH GOD A TRAIN JUST BLEW UP

Some new census data is out on the topic of where Americans move to. This stuff is always interesting, and this one is no exception. Most Americans are moving to the South and the West, generically speaking. From Real Clear Politics:

The biggest population gains from 2012 to 2013 came in Texas (387,000 people), California (333,000), Florida (232,000), North Carolina (100,000), and Colorado (79,000).

The flip side is that the Northeast corridor and New England — where a large percentage of America’s wealth is located — has been pretty much stagnant over the last couple of years. Meanwhile, Texas has gained the most new residents every year since 2006. None of this is super surprising: Texas has a good track record on creating jobs, and the Milken Best Performing Cities List from a couple of weeks ago underscored the same notion: the best stuff, weather-and-job-and-quality wise, seems to be towards the west.

Overall, U.S. population growth is the slowest since 1937 — pre-WW2! — which is thought to be because of Baby Boomers retiring and staying in the same place / lowered immigration as compared to the past decade.

There are obviously political repercussions to the shifting of states. Some believe the 2020 electoral map could look like this:


The top four states for population are CA, TX, NY, and FL — although it’s believed FL will overtake NY soon and may overtake Texas within the next 20 years.

Now, I wanted to write about this thing in North Dakota anyway, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to do an entire post about it — but this gives me a chance to loosely tie ’em together. ND’s growth rate was excellent (3.1 percent, which is about four times what the overall U.S. rate was). That’s because they have oil, and with oil comes jobs (look at Texas’ streak of winning the population growth banner). But with oil also comes safety concerns, or else …

The Bakken Boom (that’s a good read) could be around for a while, and Williston (ND), where it’s basically HQ’ed, has gone from 12K residents to 25K residents in a matter of years — and could hit 60K residents within three more years. Hopefully they don’t let another train explosion happen, because now people are fleeing towns out there. (By the way, this entire situation was horrible and I hope no one is hurt or has long-term medical damage, but is it wrong of me that the first thing I kept thinking of was the “Dead Freight” episode of Breaking Bad?)

There’s also a possibility that the North Dakota growth rate could suddenly end up as massive desertion, too.

This past year, one of my best friends moved from NYC — > Phoenix (west and south!) and another of my best friends moved from SF — > DC (east and mostly south!). Two couples I know moved within the Northeast (one NYC — > Albany and one NYC — > Providence). Those bucked trends! In the next 12 months, I’ll likely move west and south or east and south myself. There are a couple of trend lines in my own life, I ‘spose, but looking at the bigger picture is always interesting.

Ted Bauer