NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Census: Fast Growth in States with No Income Tax

December 29, 2010

Census Bureau director Robert Groves announced last week the first results of the 2010 census and the reapportionment of House seats (and therefore electoral votes) among the states, reports Michael Barone, a resident fellow with the American Enterprise Institute.

It's hard to get a grasp the numbers, but Barone shares a few observations on what they mean.

First, the great engine of growth in America is not the Northeast Megalopolis, which was growing faster than average in the mid-20th century, or California, which grew lustily in the succeeding half-century -- it is low-tax, business-friendly Texas.

  • As a result, the 2010 reapportionment gives Texas four additional House seats.
  • In contrast, California gets no new House seats, for the first time since it was admitted to the Union in 1850.

This leads to a second point, which is that growth tends to be stronger where taxes are lower.

  • Seven of the nine states that do not levy an income tax grew faster than the national average.
  • The other two, South Dakota and New Hampshire, had the fastest growth in their regions, the Midwest and New England.
  • Altogether, 35 percent of the nation's total population growth occurred in these nine nontaxing states, which accounted for just 19 percent of total population at the beginning of the decade.

The net effect of the reapportionment was to add six House seats and electoral votes to the states John McCain carried in 2008 and to subtract six House seats and electoral votes from the states Barack Obama carried that year.  Similarly, the states carried by George W. Bush in 2004 gained six seats and the states carried by John Kerry lost six.

That's not an enormous change.  But it's part of a long-term trend that has reshaped the nation's politics.  The bottom line: You need a lot more than the Northeast and the industrial Midwest to get elected president these days, says Barone.

Source: Michael Barone, "Census: Fast Growth in States with No Income Tax," Washington Examiner, December 21, 2010.


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