Monday, June 16, 2008

Why are people getting the hell out of Pennsylvania?

Despite his personal likability, Gov. Ed Rendell appears to be driving people out of Pennsylvania.

Higher taxes, deeper debt and out-of-control state spending are Rendell's legacy after five years in the governor's mansion.

Nathan A. Benefield of The Commonwealth Foundation recently posted a commentary under the headline "Movin' Out" showing that Pennsylvania is losing many of its young people, who are fleeing the state because of the high cost of living and the lack of opportunity.

From Benefield:
During the 1990s, Pennsylvania lost over 250,000 net residents to interstate migration — the 5th highest state total, according to the U.S. Census. That trend has continued in recent years, at a slower pace, as Pennsylvania lost another 28,000 net residents to other states from 2000-2006. For the past several years, United Van Lines has classified Pennsylvania as a high "outbound" state, meaning more moves out of the state than into it. In 2007, 57% of shipments were moves out of Pennsylvania.

As of 2006, over 75% of Pennsylvania residents were born in the commonwealth — the 3rd highest percentage among states, trailing only Michigan and Louisiana (big population losers of late). Certainly, some Pennsylvanians think their state is the best place to live. But it is clear that Pennsylvania is not an attractive place to move to from most other states.
What happens when younger people move away?

You end up with "an aging population, stagnant economic growth, a loss of Congressional seats, and a growing tax burden on remaining residents," Benefield argues.

Read his full column at The Commonwealth Foundation's Web site.

There's also more info on migration patterns at POLICY BLOG.

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