For decades, far more people have been moving out of states where employees may legally be fired for refusal to pay dues or fees to an unwanted union and into Right to Work states than vice versa. During the Great Recession of 2008-2009, a number of apologists for monopolistic unionism suggested that this cataclysmic event would at last bring to a halt the out-migration of millions of people, especially people in their prime working years and their families, from Big Labor strongholds.
Unfortunately for union officials and their allies, U.S. Census Bureau data published this morning (December 30) strongly indicate that Americans are continuing to vote with their feet against forced union dues. (The release itself is linked below.)
New and revised Census estimates show that, from July 1, 2012 to July 1, 2013, the total population of states with Right to Work laws on the books grew by 1.o0%, nearly double the aggregate 0.53% growth for forced-unionism states. Not one of the 10 bottom-ranking states for percentage population growth (Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and West Virginia) protects employees’ Right to Work. But 11 of the 13 states with the greatest percentage population growth are Right to Work states. (Since Michigan switched from forced-unionism to Right to Work in March 2013, it is excluded from this analysis.)
Today’s Census release only offered data on the total population estimates for each state since 2010. It won’t be until next month that estimates for the various components of population growth and decline (births, deaths, international migration, domestic migration) will be published. Nevertheless, based on long experience, it is safe to assume domestic migration is the key reason for the population growth disparity between Right to Work and forced-unionism states.
From July 1, 2011 to July 1, 2012, for example, the 14 states with the biggest absolute population losses due to net domestic out-migration all lacked Right to Work laws as of 2011. In contrast, seven of the eight states with the greatest net in-migration, in absolute terms, were Right to Work states.