Population Declining in States with Relatively High Dependence on GovernmentPosted: January 19, 2014
The nation’s economy may be growing again, but Americans — and potential Americans — are not acting like it. There’s a parallel here with poll results showing that majorities still believe we are in a recession that the National Bureau of Economic Research says ended in June 2009, nearly five years ago.
Sluggish population growth is matched by sluggish geographic mobility. The Census Bureau reports that only 4.8 million Americans moved across state lines in 2012 — about half the percentage that did so in the boom years of the 1990s.
Americans were similarly immobile, indeed even more so, in the 1930s (the Okies fleeing the dust bowl for California were a picturesque but demographically minor exception).
Numbers can seem cold and impersonal, but beneath these numbers is a picture of a pessimistic, risk-averse people.
But not uniformly and not everywhere. Population growth has been accelerating in states that depend heavily on the private sector and declining in states with relatively high dependence on government.
This reflects the wearing off of the effects of the big jump in government spending triggered by the 2009 stimulus package and a heartening, though limited, resurgence of the private sector as government spending has slowed…