Latest Census Data Show Families Continue to Flee Forced-Unionism States

While the Great Recession of 2008-2009 undoubtedly changed many things about how Americans live, some longstanding trends seem in retrospect not to have changed at all.  One example is the ongoing net migration of vast numbers of people out of compulsory-unionism states and into Right to Work states, as documented by U.S. Census Bureau data released early last week.

According to the Census Bureau data, from April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014, a net total of nearly 1.6 million people moved into states where the Right to Work was protected for the entire period in question and remains protected today from somewhere else in the U.S.

The positive correlation between Right to Work and domestic migration is quite robust.  Of the seven states with the greatest absolute net in-migration since April 2010, six have longstanding Right to Work laws.  Meanwhile, eight of the nine states with the greatest absolute net out-migration (California, Connecticut, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania) over the past four years lack Right to Work laws. And the sole exception, Michigan, has a Right to Work law that took effect only last year.)  Excluding Michigan, 12 of the 13 states with the greatest absolute net out-migration are forced-unionism.

Dyed-in-the-wool Big Labor apologists such as University of Oregon “labor studies” professor Gordon Lafer sometimes try to dismiss the secular influx of Americans into Right to Work states by suggesting it consists mostly of retirees seeking places with good weather rather than job opportunities.  However, as Joseph Spector of USA Today acknowledged last week, retirees are not the key to the population growth even of Right to Work Florida, despite the Sunshine State’s undeniable popularity among the elderly:

Perhaps contrary to popular belief, sun-seeking seniors do not appear to be driving Florida’s growth.

“Florida is kind of an icon of the 21st century in terms of the shifting population and the growing role Latin America is playing in transforming the country,” said James Johnson, a business professor at the University of North Carolina. “I think it’s going to be for the 21st century what California or New York was for the 20th century.”

(See the link below for the rest of Spector’s account.)

The fact is, a disproportionately large share of the net migration into Florida and into Right to Work states as a group consists of working families with children aged 17 and under, as other Census Bureau data show.  From 2003 to 2013, the aggregate “17 and under” population of the 22 states that had Right to Work laws on the books for the whole decade grew by 7.1%.  Meanwhile, the youth population of the 26 states that are still forced-unionism today fell by 3.0%.  (Since the Indiana and Michigan Right to Work laws were adopted in 2012, they are excluded.)

From July 1, 2013 to  July 1, 2014, according to Census Bureau data separately released last week, the number of children in the 24 Right to Work states increased by 116,000, even as it fell by 121,000 in the 26 forced-unionism states.

The most reasonable conclusion to draw from the data is that, on the whole, breadwinners and their spouses at all income levels find that they can provide better for their families in Right to Work states than in forced-unionism states, once regional differences in the cost of living are considered.  This is where the data have been pointing for decades, and the trend is unlikely to change at any time in the foreseeable future.

As Sunshine State Gov. Rick Scott correctly observed early last week, Right to Work Florida is attracting residents from other states largely because it’s a great place to work and raise a family. But U.S. Census Bureau data show that Right to Work states as a group, and not just Florida, are benefiting from an ongoing influx of families with children living at home. Image: Tampa Bay Times

Census: Florida eases ahead of New York in population