Flight to Florida: Can the Sunshine State Survive?

In 2011, the publication 24/7 Wall St. compiled the following list of the ten states doing the "most" and the "least" to "spread the wealth."  A migration study compiled from 2016 to 2017 by the U.S. Census provides some thought-provoking data on these 20 states:

Table 1: 2017 Relocation Data on States that Differ in Spreading the Wealth

States doing the most in 2011

Migration per 1000

States doing the least in 2011

Migration per 1000

Alaska

-13.4

Alabama

0.8

California

-3.5

Arizona

9.1

Connecticut

-6.2

Arkansas

1.6

Hawaii

-6.2

Florida

7.8

Massachusetts

-3.4

Idaho

14.6

Minnesota

1.4

Indiana

-0.1

New Jersey

-6.4

Oklahoma

-2.7

New York

-9.6

South Carolina

9.9

Pennsylvania

-2

Tennessee

6.1

Rhode Island

-3.6

Texas

2.8

average

-5.6

average

5.0

If social spending improves the overall quality of life, why are so many Americans relocating away from the states on the left?

Based on data gathered by the Sacramento Bee from 2005 to 2015, California "exports its poor to Texas and other states while wealthier people move in."  This pattern is not limited to California.  According to the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, nearly 9,000 working-age adults with only high school diplomas moved out of New York in 2007 while 10,000 with college degrees moved in.  The NCHEMS documented a similar relocation pattern in Rhode Island where non-college graduates moved out while people with graduate and professional degrees moved in.  Why are adults who are presumed to benefit the most from income redistribution leaving these states?

Employment data compiled in 2015 by 24/7 Wall St. provides a clue:

Table 2: 2015 Unemployment by Race in States that Differ in Spreading the Wealth*

States doing the most in 2011

White unem.

Black unem.

Latino unem.

States doing the least in 2011

White unem.

Black unem.

Latino unem.

California

6.0%

11.0%

7.6%

Alabama

4.3%

10.6%

6.5%

Connecticut

4.5%

13.2%

11.3%

Arizona

5.7%

9.1%

8.3%

Massachusetts

4.4%

10.6%

11.0%

Arkansas

4.3%

10.3%

6.7%

Minnesota

2.9%

14.1%

3.8%

Florida

4.6%

9.0%

5.8%

New Jersey

5.2%

10.0%

7.6%

Indiana

4.5%

7.0%

5.6%

New York

4.5%

8.2%

6.7%

Oklahoma

3.8%

8.8%

4.8%

Pennsylvania

4.5%

10.5%

7.7%

South Carolina

4.1%

10.7%

6.2%

Rhode Island

5.2%

12.2%

9.1%

Tennessee

5.1%

7.5%

4.0%

average

4.7%

11.2%

8.1%

Texas

4.1%

7.5%

4.9%

 

average

4.5%

8.9%

5.8%

* To provide more realistic data on minority communities, the table excludes data from states where blacks make up less than 5% of the state population.

Based on a one-tailed T-test, overall black and Latino unemployment is significantly higher in states on the left column (p = 0.01).  There is no significant difference for white unemployment between the states in the left and right columns (p = 0.30).

According to the Department of Labor, these minorities rely much more on blue-collar jobs than whites, and even though the employment numbers for New York seem respectable, Forbes listed this state as one of the laggards for growth in high-paying blue-collar jobs in 2014.

Blue-collar jobs are more vulnerable to outsourcing, and data compiled by Forbes show why adults without college degrees are likely to struggle to find high-paying jobs in states on the left:

Table 3: 2017 Forbes Business Regulatory Environment Ranking on States that Differ in Spreading the Wealth

States doing the most in 2011

Regulatory Environment

States doing the least in 2011

Regulatory Environment

Alaska

29

Alabama

17

California

47

Arizona

25

Connecticut

42

Arkansas

23

Hawaii

46

Florida

5

Massachusetts

35

Idaho

15

Minnesota

22

Indiana

1

New Jersey

45

Oklahoma

14

New York

27

South Carolina

6

Pennsylvania

36

Tennessee

8

Rhode Island

48

Texas

21

average

37.7

average

13.5

Note that half the states on the left rank among the "10 worst" for regulations, while nearly half of the states on the right are among the "10 best."

Progressives believe that you can diminish poverty by growing the government.  Maybe they have a point: when you undermine free enterprise, you eliminate a large number of blue-collar jobs.  When working-class adults relocate to other states in search of jobs, the demographic profile of the state becomes more "gentrified."  Data compiled in 2015 by the U.S. Census show that the states on the left do have significantly more college graduates:

Table 4: 2015 Percent Adults with College Degrees in States that Differ in Spreading the Wealth

States doing the most in 2011

Adults with College Degrees

States doing the least in 2011

Adults with College Degrees

Alaska

28%

Alabama

24%

California

31%

Arizona

28%

Connecticut

38%

Arkansas

21%

Hawaii

31%

Florida

27%

Massachusetts

41%

Idaho

26%

Minnesota

34%

Indiana

24%

New Jersey

37%

Oklahoma

24%

New York

34%

South Carolina

26%

Pennsylvania

29%

Tennessee

25%

Rhode Island

32%

Texas

28%

average

34%

average

25%

Does having more college graduates result in the election of people with "better expertise" to run the government?  The late William F. Buckley said, "I would rather entrust the government of the United States to the first 400 people listed in the Boston telephone directory than to the faculty of Harvard University."  Data gathered by the Mercatus Center concurs with Buckley's premise that colleges do not teach wisdom:

Table 5: 2018 Mercatus Center Rankings on States that Differ in Spreading the Wealth

States doing the most in 2011

Fiscal Rankings

States doing the least in 2011

Fiscal Rankings

Alaska

11

Alabama

14

California

42

Arizona

27

Connecticut

49

Arkansas

25

Hawaii

38

Florida

4

Massachusetts

47

Idaho

7

Minnesota

24

Indiana

21

New Jersey

48

Oklahoma

5

New York

41

South Carolina

20

Pennsylvania

35

Tennessee

3

Rhode Island

40

Texas

22

average

38

average

15

The Mercatus fiscal rankings use five components of "state solvency" to estimate the ability of each state to pay its bills.  Note that the three states with the highest percentage of college graduates (Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Jersey) are the worst in fiscal solvency.

What does all this have to do with Florida?  According to NCHEMS, Florida and Texas were the top two destinations for adults without college degrees in 2007.  Some of them may have moved out of states on the left.  It is to their credit that they relocated in search of employment instead of handouts, but how many of them voted for the policies that made the states they fled so unbearable?  How many of them will continue voting this way in Florida?  This could determine whether or not Florida joins the states on the left column after November.

Self-righteous liberals who lecture conservatives with biblical verses such as "love your neighbor as yourself" overlook the Bible's role in teaching wisdom, and anyone who has raised children knows that love in the absence of wisdom has devastating consequences.  Good intentions pave the road to Hell, in part because people who take pride in their good intentions feel morally superior.  This is why the Florida gubernatorial candidate, Andrew Gillum, shamelessly plays the race card against his opponent and deflects questions on financing his health care plan by blaming Republicans.  And why not?  When your intentions are "noble" and the merits of your ideas are "self-evident," you are liberated from conventional rules of discourse and honesty.

Gillum may win because voting against wealth redistribution requires moral restraint, especially from people who are down on their luck.  Those who fled states on the left should remember how the Hebrews in the Book of Exodus undervalued their newly won freedom and expressed a longing for the Egyptian "security" every time they faced a new difficulty.  Jews celebrate the Exodus with unleavened bread to remember how their ancestors sacrificed their comfort to strike out on their own.

From Caracas to Athens, people who trade economic freedom to muscle in on other people's wealth always end up losing both.  Blue-collar workers have the most to lose regardless of whether or not they vote to grow the government. College graduates who are unaffected by these policies have a moral obligation to stop relying on feel-good talking points about "spreading the wealth" and study the cold hard facts.  If you are not bothered by the yawning gap between white and minority unemployment in progressive states, then any concern you express over the imaginary "racism" of the Republican candidate Ron DeSantis is nothing more than virtue-signaling.

Editor's note: This article's tables have been updated to improve their formatting.

In 2011, the publication 24/7 Wall St. compiled the following list of the ten states doing the "most" and the "least" to "spread the wealth."  A migration study compiled from 2016 to 2017 by the U.S. Census provides some thought-provoking data on these 20 states:

Table 1: 2017 Relocation Data on States that Differ in Spreading the Wealth

States doing the most in 2011

Migration per 1000

States doing the least in 2011

Migration per 1000

Alaska

-13.4

Alabama

0.8

California

-3.5

Arizona

9.1

Connecticut

-6.2

Arkansas

1.6

Hawaii

-6.2

Florida

7.8

Massachusetts

-3.4

Idaho

14.6

Minnesota

1.4

Indiana

-0.1

New Jersey

-6.4

Oklahoma

-2.7

New York

-9.6

South Carolina

9.9

Pennsylvania

-2

Tennessee

6.1

Rhode Island

-3.6

Texas

2.8

average

-5.6

average

5.0

If social spending improves the overall quality of life, why are so many Americans relocating away from the states on the left?

Based on data gathered by the Sacramento Bee from 2005 to 2015, California "exports its poor to Texas and other states while wealthier people move in."  This pattern is not limited to California.  According to the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, nearly 9,000 working-age adults with only high school diplomas moved out of New York in 2007 while 10,000 with college degrees moved in.  The NCHEMS documented a similar relocation pattern in Rhode Island where non-college graduates moved out while people with graduate and professional degrees moved in.  Why are adults who are presumed to benefit the most from income redistribution leaving these states?

Employment data compiled in 2015 by 24/7 Wall St. provides a clue:

Table 2: 2015 Unemployment by Race in States that Differ in Spreading the Wealth*

States doing the most in 2011

White unem.

Black unem.

Latino unem.

States doing the least in 2011

White unem.

Black unem.

Latino unem.

California

6.0%

11.0%

7.6%

Alabama

4.3%

10.6%

6.5%

Connecticut

4.5%

13.2%

11.3%

Arizona

5.7%

9.1%

8.3%

Massachusetts

4.4%

10.6%

11.0%

Arkansas

4.3%

10.3%

6.7%

Minnesota

2.9%

14.1%

3.8%

Florida

4.6%

9.0%

5.8%

New Jersey

5.2%

10.0%

7.6%

Indiana

4.5%

7.0%

5.6%

New York

4.5%

8.2%

6.7%

Oklahoma

3.8%

8.8%

4.8%

Pennsylvania

4.5%

10.5%

7.7%

South Carolina

4.1%

10.7%

6.2%

Rhode Island

5.2%

12.2%

9.1%

Tennessee

5.1%

7.5%

4.0%

average

4.7%

11.2%

8.1%

Texas

4.1%

7.5%

4.9%

 

average

4.5%

8.9%

5.8%

* To provide more realistic data on minority communities, the table excludes data from states where blacks make up less than 5% of the state population.

Based on a one-tailed T-test, overall black and Latino unemployment is significantly higher in states on the left column (p = 0.01).  There is no significant difference for white unemployment between the states in the left and right columns (p = 0.30).

According to the Department of Labor, these minorities rely much more on blue-collar jobs than whites, and even though the employment numbers for New York seem respectable, Forbes listed this state as one of the laggards for growth in high-paying blue-collar jobs in 2014.

Blue-collar jobs are more vulnerable to outsourcing, and data compiled by Forbes show why adults without college degrees are likely to struggle to find high-paying jobs in states on the left:

Table 3: 2017 Forbes Business Regulatory Environment Ranking on States that Differ in Spreading the Wealth

States doing the most in 2011

Regulatory Environment

States doing the least in 2011

Regulatory Environment

Alaska

29

Alabama

17

California

47

Arizona

25

Connecticut

42

Arkansas

23

Hawaii

46

Florida

5

Massachusetts

35

Idaho

15

Minnesota

22

Indiana

1

New Jersey

45

Oklahoma

14

New York

27

South Carolina

6

Pennsylvania

36

Tennessee

8

Rhode Island

48

Texas

21

average

37.7

average

13.5

Note that half the states on the left rank among the "10 worst" for regulations, while nearly half of the states on the right are among the "10 best."

Progressives believe that you can diminish poverty by growing the government.  Maybe they have a point: when you undermine free enterprise, you eliminate a large number of blue-collar jobs.  When working-class adults relocate to other states in search of jobs, the demographic profile of the state becomes more "gentrified."  Data compiled in 2015 by the U.S. Census show that the states on the left do have significantly more college graduates:

Table 4: 2015 Percent Adults with College Degrees in States that Differ in Spreading the Wealth

States doing the most in 2011

Adults with College Degrees

States doing the least in 2011

Adults with College Degrees

Alaska

28%

Alabama

24%

California

31%

Arizona

28%

Connecticut

38%

Arkansas

21%

Hawaii

31%

Florida

27%

Massachusetts

41%

Idaho

26%

Minnesota

34%

Indiana

24%

New Jersey

37%

Oklahoma

24%

New York

34%

South Carolina

26%

Pennsylvania

29%

Tennessee

25%

Rhode Island

32%

Texas

28%

average

34%

average

25%

Does having more college graduates result in the election of people with "better expertise" to run the government?  The late William F. Buckley said, "I would rather entrust the government of the United States to the first 400 people listed in the Boston telephone directory than to the faculty of Harvard University."  Data gathered by the Mercatus Center concurs with Buckley's premise that colleges do not teach wisdom:

Table 5: 2018 Mercatus Center Rankings on States that Differ in Spreading the Wealth

States doing the most in 2011

Fiscal Rankings

States doing the least in 2011

Fiscal Rankings

Alaska

11

Alabama

14

California

42

Arizona

27

Connecticut

49

Arkansas

25

Hawaii

38

Florida

4

Massachusetts

47

Idaho

7

Minnesota

24

Indiana

21

New Jersey

48

Oklahoma

5

New York

41

South Carolina

20

Pennsylvania

35

Tennessee

3

Rhode Island

40

Texas

22

average

38

average

15

The Mercatus fiscal rankings use five components of "state solvency" to estimate the ability of each state to pay its bills.  Note that the three states with the highest percentage of college graduates (Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Jersey) are the worst in fiscal solvency.

What does all this have to do with Florida?  According to NCHEMS, Florida and Texas were the top two destinations for adults without college degrees in 2007.  Some of them may have moved out of states on the left.  It is to their credit that they relocated in search of employment instead of handouts, but how many of them voted for the policies that made the states they fled so unbearable?  How many of them will continue voting this way in Florida?  This could determine whether or not Florida joins the states on the left column after November.

Self-righteous liberals who lecture conservatives with biblical verses such as "love your neighbor as yourself" overlook the Bible's role in teaching wisdom, and anyone who has raised children knows that love in the absence of wisdom has devastating consequences.  Good intentions pave the road to Hell, in part because people who take pride in their good intentions feel morally superior.  This is why the Florida gubernatorial candidate, Andrew Gillum, shamelessly plays the race card against his opponent and deflects questions on financing his health care plan by blaming Republicans.  And why not?  When your intentions are "noble" and the merits of your ideas are "self-evident," you are liberated from conventional rules of discourse and honesty.

Gillum may win because voting against wealth redistribution requires moral restraint, especially from people who are down on their luck.  Those who fled states on the left should remember how the Hebrews in the Book of Exodus undervalued their newly won freedom and expressed a longing for the Egyptian "security" every time they faced a new difficulty.  Jews celebrate the Exodus with unleavened bread to remember how their ancestors sacrificed their comfort to strike out on their own.

From Caracas to Athens, people who trade economic freedom to muscle in on other people's wealth always end up losing both.  Blue-collar workers have the most to lose regardless of whether or not they vote to grow the government. College graduates who are unaffected by these policies have a moral obligation to stop relying on feel-good talking points about "spreading the wealth" and study the cold hard facts.  If you are not bothered by the yawning gap between white and minority unemployment in progressive states, then any concern you express over the imaginary "racism" of the Republican candidate Ron DeSantis is nothing more than virtue-signaling.

Editor's note: This article's tables have been updated to improve their formatting.