Thursday, September 25, 2008

New Census Data On Mobility--How Does It Affect Politics???

Earlier this week the Census Bureau released new data on mobility in the U.S. The data shows us the percentage of each state's population born in that state. Thus, Louisiana ranks first with 82% of its population native born. The state with the highest non-native population, not surprisingly perhaps, is Nevada with just 29% of its population born in state.

I find this type of data interesting because it raises questions about how the politics of a state might or might not change over time. One would assume that states with higher numbers of residents born out of state would have politics (voting behavior, partisan identification, etc.) more subject to flux, whereas states without much internal population change would have more stable and enduring politics. I'd note, with just a cursory examination of the rankings, that some of those states with a higher out of state born population are very much competitive this year--Nevada, Florida, Colorado, and New Hampshire.

However, one would also note that a stable population can also produce a competitive electorate. Looking at the top of the rankings, one sees Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Iowa, and Wisconsin ranked 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 7th (tie) respectively.

There's a lot to think and hypothesize about here.

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