Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Michael Barone on US population shifts

Michael Barone has an insightful piece in the WSJ dealing with what he terms an American realignment. It's definitely worth a read if you have the time. Much of what he deals with is common material for those who read the blogroll listed off to the side under "Insight". A few excerpts:
Start with the Coastal Megalopolises: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Chicago (on the coast of Lake Michigan), Miami, Washington and Boston.
Here is a pattern you don't find in other big cities: Americans moving out and immigrants moving in, in very large numbers, with low overall population growth. Los Angeles, defined by the Census Bureau as Los Angeles and Orange Counties, had a domestic outflow of 6% of 2000 population in six years--balanced by an immigrant inflow of 6%. The numbers are the same for these eight metro areas as a whole. ...

The result is that these Coastal Megalopolises are increasingly a two-tiered society, with large affluent populations happily contemplating (at least until recently) their rapidly rising housing values, and a large, mostly immigrant working class working at low wages and struggling to move up the economic ladder. The economic divide in New York and Los Angeles is starting to look like the economic divide in Mexico City and São Paulo.
I've dabbled in the same sea. In US cities with more than 500,000 residents, housing affordability and the proportion of foreign-born residents inversely correlate at a very strong .80. What I called the emergence of feudal societies, Barone more relevantly describes as "two-tiered".

"Two-tiered", as in John Edwards' "Two Americas". Another theme running throughout Barone's piece (and that Steve Sailer has written articles about) is how the inequities that Democratic politicians habitually claim to be worried about serve them quite well. Although economic disparity is the most conspicuous, it extends to other areas like educational attainment (looking only at the percentage of a state's population that has at least a high school diploma or equivalent but not a bachelor's degree or beyond correlates with Bush's share of the 2004 vote at a statistically significant .69) and population density. The cramped, expensive, bipolar big cities--where inequalities of all kinds are so prominently displayed--are Democratic strongholds:
Democratic politicians like to decry what they describe as a widening economic gap in the nation. But the part of the nation where it is widening most visibly is their home turf, the place where they win their biggest margins (these metro areas voted 61% for John Kerry) and where, in exquisitely decorated Park Avenue apartments and Beverly Hills mansions with immigrant servants passing the hors d'oeuvres, they raise most of their money.
As disgusted as I am with the GOP, especially its leadership at the national level, my vote tends to be between the Republican and the Reform or Libertarian Party candidates. What is politically beneficial to the Democratic Party has a deleterious effect on the quality of life for the nation as a whole. Bemusingly, that which is terribly destructive to the Republican Party and the country apparently comprises the bulk of the Bush Administration's playbook.

Barone uses 2006 Census estimates and compares them with the findings of the 2000 Census. The 2010 numbers will be even more informative.

1 comment:

JSBolton said...

Class-polarizing trends which tend to eliminate the middle-class from an area, are best for the politics of envy and status competition.
The left counts on this, as there are no rational arguments for moving towards despotic rule.
Someone with plenty of money and horrdes of foreign peones to look pityingly down on, may still wish to turn money into power,
and for that, he needs to represent a voiceless, conveniently illiterate or low-literate passive mob of dependents.