When we think of the typical migrant to the Southeast states, especially the Carolinas, the tendency is to envision a shivering Yankee fed up with New England winters and eager for essentially one year-round wardrobe.
Well, think again. It turns out that the majority of those moving to the Carolinas do so from right next door.
According to a recent study published by the University of North Carolina Population Center, four of the top five states contributing new residents to the Tarheel State are from other Southeast states: Virginia, Florida, South Carolina and Georgia, in that order. Only New York State (#4) gets in the way of a clean sweep for the southern locations. In a further slam at conventional wisdom, the state of California (#6) contributed more migrants to North Carolina than did Pennsylvania (#7), New Jersey (#9) and the other northeast states. (Connecticut was #14 and Massachusetts #16.)
Until a few years ago, Northerners moving south had the luxury of low housing prices, as well as an overall lower cost of living than they were used to – in some cases much lower. But the heavy influx into the Southeastern states is starting to put pressure on prices, and it is only a matter of time before the increases in population start to put stress on the provision of services at the state and local levels. And that can only mean an increase in taxes, as well as some of the other realities of life in the urban and suburban North, such as traffic, pollution and the other issues we associate with dense population.
Those of us in our retirement years still have a decade or two to enjoy the comparably low costs of living in the South. But our children and their children may live a different reality in their own retirement years.
Thanks, as always, to our faithful data hound, Keith Spivey, for sending us the UNC study.