Some analysts suggest that long-term demographic trends favor Democrats over Republicans, and this may well be true, especially if Republicans continue to alienate Hispanic voters. However, the trends of the decade now limping to a close, as reflected in U.S. Census results that will determine how representation in the U.S. House is allocated, seem to favor Republicans rather decisively. They also suggest that Americans prefer states with relatively lower taxes and levels of regulation and are willing to migrate to live in such states.
House seats are reallocated every 10 years, mostly by state legislatures. Republicans picked up some 680 seats in state legislatures Nov. 2, meaning they will be in a position to control the boundaries of about 194 House districts (one analyst says 204), more than double the number they controlled last cycle.
The reapportionment announced Tuesday will shuffle about 12 seats among 18 states.
Warm-weather states including Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Texas will pick up seats. Ohio and New York each are slated to lose two House seats, while Iowa, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Pennsylvania each will lose one.
That means that six states that went for John McCain in 2008 will pick up electoral votes and House seats, while six states that went for Barack Obama will lose electoral votes and House seats. That tracks a long-term trend that sees Americans moving to warm-weather states.
It isn't just the weather but the political climate that seems to attract migration. This is the first decade since California, now a high-tax state, became a state in 1850 that it has failed to increase its numbers in the U.S. House. By contrast Texas, with relatively low taxes and a friendly business climate, grew by 21 percent from 2000-10. Seven of the nine states that do not levy an income tax grew faster than the national average, while the other two — South Dakota and New Hampshire — were the fastest-growing states in their regions.
The Census results also show immigration, which had been robust through most of the decade, declining since the housing bubble burst.
Population growth can be a mixed blessing, of course, and some will say California is better off not adding much population. But losing businesses and jobs is hardly helpful. These census results suggest that Americans prefer to live where they are lightly taxed and regulated, and will move to get those conditions. Sacramento should pay attention.