Home News The Reversal of the Gold Rush

The Reversal of the Gold Rush

by Tricia Whitlock

A few days ago The New York Times published an article about how “the Southeast has replaced California as the place where many people now go to find the American dream.”

Here’s a few choice quotes:

  • Since 1990, the share of residents of Georgia, Tennessee and the Carolinas who were born in California has roughly doubled, according to a New York Times analysis of census data.
  • The main reason is a version of what economists call arbitrage: Growing numbers of people have realized that many of life’s biggest costs — including housing, energy and taxes — are lower in the South.
  • The absence of good train and bus options across much of the South is a flip side of its lower taxes. Many areas lack the money to expand or repair mass transit.
  • Atlanta, Nashville and the Greenville area of South Carolina still have their original advantages – lower cost of living and slower pace of life – but have also become more cosmopolitan. The options for good food, music and art, among other things, have blossomed.
  • The number of high-school students at Duke from California has roughly doubled since the early 1990s, and other Southern colleges also attract more students from outside the region than in the past. A fair number of those students end up staying after graduation.

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