NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

City-By-City, Politics is Becoming More Polarized

March 24, 2003

Researchers are noting a new migration pattern. They say more and more people are moving to places that are already home to lifestyles or attitudes similar to their own. Many people say they are moving to a city that "feels right," not necessarily the one with jobs that pay the most. For example:

  • The black population of the Atlanta metropolitan region increased by 460,000 in the 1990s, nearly double the number of any other metro area.
  • Demographers point out, that Austin, Texas, attracts liberal-minded software developers, while conservatively-inclined tech geeks head for Dallas.

Today's fastest growing metropolitan areas have expanded by becoming magnets for talent, fueling the development of places such as Austin, Atlanta and Raleigh-Durham, N.C., in the South; Minneapolis and Chicago in the Midwest; Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle in the West; and New York, Boston and Washington in the East.

Conversely, "low-tech" cities such as Springfield, Mass.; Youngstown, Ohio; Syracuse, N.Y.; Cleveland, Buffalo and Pittsburgh, have lost significant numbers of people ages 20-34.

More than one-third of cities lost members of this age group in the 1990s, experts report, while cities like Austin, Denver, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Dallas and Atlanta witnessed population explosions often far in excess of 50 percent composed entirely of this age group.

Source: Bill Bishop and Richard Florida, "O, Give Me a Home Where the Like-Minded Roam," Washington Post, March 23, 2003.


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