On December 22, a U.S. Census Bureau data release(see the first link below for more information) revealed an acceleration 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 migration during the 1990’s.
In the latest year for which data are available, from July 1, 2014 through July 1, 2015, a net total of nearly 496,000 Americans moved into a Right to Work state from elsewhere in the U.S. (Since Wisconsin’s forced-union-dues ban, which made it the 25th Right to Work state, did not take effect until early last year, it is excluded from this analysis.)
By comparison, from April 1, 2010 through July 1, 2014, revised Census Bureau data show that a net average of slightly more than 400,000 Americans annually moved into one of the 22 states that had a Right to Work law for this entire period from another state. (Since Indiana’s and Michigan’s Right to Work laws did not take effect until 2012 and 2013, respectively, they as well as Wisconsin are excluded here.)
Among the 47 states with no change in their public policies regarding forced union dues from April 1, 2010 through July 1, 2015, all of the eight states (California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania) suffering the worst net out-migration, in absolute numbers, lack Right to Work laws. Ten of the 11 states with the greatest absolute net out-migration are forced unionism.
In contrast, five of the six, and 10 of the 13, top-ranking states for absolute net domestic in-migration over this five year, three month period have Right to Work laws.
Last year, as Empire State reporter Veronica Volk noted in a December 23 news story (see the second link below), forced-unionism New York lost more residents to domestic migration than any other state. New York, which also lost far more residents due to moves within the U.S. than any other state over the entire period since April 1, 2010, has the highest share of employees subject to union monopoly bargaining of any state in the country, according to the unionstats.com web site.
Age-segregated population data separately released by the Census Bureau strongly indicate 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.
As this blog previously reported (see the third link below), from 2005 to 2015, the total number of forced-unionism state residents aged 17 and under fell by 4.0%, or 1.55 million. Meanwhile, the number of Right to Work state residents in the same age bracket rose by 7.1%, or 2.07 million. (Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin are again excluded here.)
The only plausible explanation for the these data is that young adults with children, as well as those who expect to have children soon, are much more apt to move into Right to Work states and out of forced-unionism states than vice versa. Unfortunately, demographers have up to now devoted very little effort to ascertaining why this is so.
But it is reasonable to guess the most important factor is that Right to Work states offer employees of all educational backgrounds jobs that enable them to provide living standards for their families, when cost of living variations are considered.