Late last week, a U.S. Census Bureau data release revealed a continuation of the massive exodus of employees, prospective employees, and their families from forced-unionism states. This is an exodus that the Census Bureau has documented ever since it began tracking state-to-state domestic migration during the 1990’s.
In the very latest year for which data are available, from July 1, 2012 through July 1, 2013, a net total of more than 344,000 Americans moved into one of the 23 Right to Work states from elsewhere in the U.S. (Since Michigan’s forced-dues ban, which made it the 24th Right to Work state, did not take effect until March 2013, it is excluded from this analysis.)
Not one of the seven states (New York, Illinois, California, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Connecticut) suffering the worst net out-migration, in absolute numbers, to other states has a Right to Work law on the books. Eleven of the 12 states with the greatest absolute net out-migration are forced unionism. In contrast, five of the six, and nine of the 12, top-ranking states for absolute net domestic in-migration have Right to Work laws.
As E.J. McMahon, president of the Albany, N.Y.-based Empire Center for Public Policy, suggested in a commentary for the New York Post on Friday (see the link below), the relative rate at which employment in a state expands over time is closely correlated with its net in-migration.
The fact that the availability of jobs that pay enough to support a family, when regional cost of living-differences are taken into account, is the key factor in net domestic migration trends is confirmed by age-segregated state population data published by the Census Bureau January 2.
The January 2 data release showed that, from July 2012 through July 2013, the number of forced-unionism state residents aged 17 and under fell from 38.92 million to 38.72 million, or roughly 200,000. Meanwhile, the number of Right to Work state residents in the same age bracket increased by 81,000.
Of the 17 states that suffered one-year “under 18″ population declines of more than 0.5%, 15 lack Right to Work laws. But five of the top six states for “under 18″ population growth are Right to Work states.
While sunny weather is certainly a benefit, it does not seem to be nearly as important a factor in net domestic migration as the availability of good-paying jobs. Last year, cold and snowy North Dakota, a Right to Work state, gained nearly 17,000 residents through net domestic migration. Meanwhile, sunny California and New Mexico, both forced-unionism states, lost a combined total of nearly 60,000 residents to net domestic out-migration.