The red states may have lost the presidential election, but they are winning new residents, largely at the expense of their politically successful blue counterparts. For all the talk of how the Great Recession has driven people -- particularly the “footloose young” -- toward dense urban centers, Census data reveal that Americans are still drawn to the same sprawling Sun Belt regions as before.
An analysis of domestic migration for the nation’s 51 largest metropolitan statistical areas by demographer Wendell Cox shows that the 10 metropolises with the largest net gains from 2000 through 2009 are in the Sun Belt, led by Phoenix, and followed by Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif.; Atlanta; Dallas-Ft. Worth; and Las Vegas.
Migration has slowed from a high of nearly 2 million annually in 2006 to less than 800,000 last year, but the most recent numbers show that the Sun Belt states, though chastened by the recession, are far from dead, as often alleged. This part of America, widely consigned to what the Bolshevik firebrand Leon Trotsky called the “dustbin of history” by Eastern pundits, somehow manages to continue to draw Americans seeking opportunities, in particular from the large coastal metropolitan regions.