People are moving between states now more than ever.
Factors impacting this include rising costs of living, the flexibility of working from home for companies that allow it, and restrictive policies from those that don’t, along with proximity to family, according to North American Moving Services (NAMS).
But who is moving to Alabama, and from where?
Even prior to COVID-19, people have been moving out of blue states in massive numbers. According to Forbes, the five states with the most residents leaving from 2010 to 2019 were blue states: California, New York, New Jersey, Michigan and Illinois. Together, those five states lost a combined 4 million residents. According to a report by North American Moving Services (NAMS), this trend continued into 2020 and 2021, with Illinois, California, New Jersey, Michigan and New York topping the list.
The states with the greatest influx of residents were all Republican-led states, including Florida, Idaho, South Carolina, Tennessee and North Carolina.
Fear has loomed among some conservatives in red states who are alarmed at the possibility of losing their majority to new influxes of liberals.
Now that more people don’t have to go to the office every day, many are choosing to move out of large cities like Los Angeles, which ranked as the least affordable city for homebuyers in 2021. In fact, California, as a whole, was one of the least affordable states in the country, and along with New York and New Jersey, it has some of the highest local and state tax combinations.
According to the World Population Review, Alabama has the third-lowest cost of living in the country after Kansas and Mississippi. Alabama has the second-lowest housing cost, and utilities and groceries cost close to the national average.
This might make Alabama a prime spot for those looking to relocate from more expensive areas like California and New York; this state has consistently had a higher percentage of people move in than out since 2018.
Though more recent data about where Alabama’s new residents are coming from is not available, the U.S. Census Bureau data estimated that 3,690 residents moved to Alabama from California in 2019. Some 1,996 people moved from New York State. Both exceeded the number of Alabamians who moved to those states that year.
Margins between Democrat and Republican voters are shrinking in some rapidly growing areas.
Over the last decade, Huntsville’s population has grown by over 80%, reaching a population of approximately 222,000 in 2021. During the three presidential elections in that period (2012, 2016 and 2020), the margin between votes for Democrats and Republicans decreased, with Republicans still maintaining the majority in 2020.
This is not necessarily the trend everywhere.
Baldwin County is Alabama’s fastest-growing county. It has grown by approximately 32.59% since 2010, but Republican presidential candidates have performed increasingly well there since 2012.
Jennifer Montrose, the national director of Alabama for the National Federation Republican Assembly, said people moving in from blue states could pose a problem for Alabama, but she hasn’t seen it.
“I have faith in people,” Montrose said.
Montrose said she thinks people are moving out of blue states because they’re seeking a better life. She said more and more people are no longer buying the narrative pushed by liberal mainstream media; she is more concerned about Republicans not showing up to the polls.
“I think voter apathy is real, and it exists, especially voter apathy for Republicans,” Montrose said.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more people moved to Alabama from Florida than any other state in 2019. Some 14.8% of Alabama’s new residents from other states came from Florida, followed by 14.4% from Georgia and 9.5% from Tennessee. All three states are Republican-dominated.
Texas sent more people than any other state not bordering Alabama, constituting 8% of new Alabama residents from other states.
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