Jan 5, 2010

Mighty Texas Reigns Supreme in New Population Estimates

Every year around Christmas, the Census Bureau releases new population estimates for each state. Given the recession, it's not a surprise that percentage growth, at 0.86 percent, was the lowest this decade. Immigration is down sharply, and some indicators suggest that illegal immigrants, in particular, are returning to their countries of origin.

Florida's growth was well below the national average, as it was in the previous year, in contrast to its torrid growth over most of the last century.  California grew at only a little more than the national average, entirely because of immigrant inflow and high immigrant birth rates. More Americans are leaving California and Florida than moving in.

Perennial fast growers Nevada, Arizona, California and Florida have all fallen off.  The new fastest growers are demographically tiny Wyoming, followed by Utah at No. 2 with the nation's highest birth rates and largest families.
No. 3 in percentage population growth in 2008-09 was the mighty Texas, which is astonishing given the percentage growth is based on a large enough base to make it the second most populous state in the US.  The Texas population grew by almost half a million and accounted for 18 percent of the nation's total population growth.

There may be lessons for public policy here. Texas over the decades has had low taxes, no state income tax, low public spending and regulations that encourage job growth. It didn't have much of a housing bubble or a housing price bust.

Tight limits on tort lawsuits which were put in place by then conservative Governor George Bush, have been continued by conservative Governor Rick Perry, resulting in an influx of both corporate headquarters and medical doctors.  Perhaps those purporting to lead the country in the right direction, vis a vis health care reform should take heed.

Reapportionment following the 2010 Census will produce four new seats in the US House of Representatives for Texas. California and its tax and spend policies, and liberal regulations, will not gain seats for the first time since 1850.  Come to Texas, it’s great here.

From an original article By Michael Barone of RealClear Politics