Demographics

Why So Many Americans Are Saying Goodbye to Cities

Derek Thompson: “Net domestic migration to New York City metro area (which includes the five boroughs plus slivers of New Jersey and Pennsylvania) is down by a whopping 900,000 people since 2010. That means that, since 2010, almost a million more people have left New York for somewhere else in America than have moved to New York from another U.S. metro—more than any other metro in the country. This is the ‘fleeing’ that the Post finds so ‘alarming.’ But the New York metro has also netted about 850,000 international migrants since 2010. That number is also tops among all metros—more than Miami, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, combined.”

“…that’s the story of New York City, today. It is an extremely popular first-stop for immigrants. It is also a popular destination for young, upwardly mobile Millennials who have graduated from top colleges and don’t yet have families with children. But since it’s expensive, chaotic, and mostly lawn-free, it’s not a great place for middle class families who dream of an affordable house, car, and yard.”

“In this regard, New York is a microcosm of the American city. Population growth in big cities has now shrunk for five consecutive years, according to Jed Kolko, an economist and writer. While well-educated Millennials without children have concentrated in a handful of expensive liberal cities, the rest of the country is slowly fanning out to the sunny suburbs.”

Consumer Confidence Is Soaring Among Americans—Especially Richer Americans

Quartz: “US consumer confidence is at at a 16-year high, surpassing the levels reached before the 2008 financial crisis and rivaling the heady days of the dot-com boom. But not everybody is feeling equally buoyant.”

While people in all income groups have grown more optimistic since 2009, only higher-income consumers have surpassed the confidence levels registered before the financial crisis. Last month, confidence among Americans with a household income above $50,000 surged ahead of pre-financial crisis highs. Households that make less than that have yet to recover all that lost ground.”

Want to See How America Is Changing? Property Taxes Hold the Answer

Andrea Riquier: “Americans paid nearly $300 billion in property taxes in 2016 – but as with everything in real estate, it’s all about location. Yet property taxes don’t just tell a story about local and regional housing markets – they also show how the country is changing.”

“Americans are fleeing areas with higher property taxes, making housing markets and local finances more stagnant in those areas. And even an influx of younger people into the urban areas that anchor those areas, like the Northeast and Midwest, isn’t enough to offset the exodus to low-tax areas like the Southeast and West.”

Half of Americans Are Responsible for Only 3 Percent of Health Care Costs

Washington Post: “Here’s a simple reason crafting health policy is so devilishly hard: Most Americans are pretty healthy and a few are really sick.”

“The top 1 percent of health-care spenders use more resources, collectively, than the bottom 75 percent, according to a new study based on national surveys. Slice the data a different way, and the bottom half of spenders all together rack up only about 3 percent of overall health care spending — a pattern that hasn’t budged for decades. This creates a fundamental inequality in the country’s health spending that is the crux of the challenge policymakers face: They need a system that works for people who are ill, but is attractive to those who are healthy and spend little on health care.”

Break Up the Liberal City

Ross Douthat: “So has the heyday of these meritocratic agglomerations actually made America greater? I think not. In the age of the liberal city — dating, one might argue, to the urban recovery of the 1990s — economic growth has been slack, political dysfunction worse, and technological progress slow outside the online sector. Liberalism has become more smug and out-of-touch; conservatism more anti-intellectual and buffoonish. The hive-mind genius supposedly generated by concentrating all the best and the brightest has given us great apps and some fun TV shows to binge-watch, but the 2000s and 2010s haven’t exactly been the Florentine Renaissance.”

“Thus this week’s installment in my series of implausible, perhaps even ridiculous proposals: We should treat liberal cities the way liberals treat corporate monopolies — not as growth-enhancing assets, but as trusts that concentrate wealth and power and conspire against the public good. And instead of trying to make them a little more egalitarian with looser zoning rules and more affordable housing, we should make like Teddy Roosevelt and try to break them up.”

President Trump Won Big in These Places. Now He Wants to Eliminate 3 Agencies Dedicated to Helping Them.

Washington Post: “In rural Appalachia, people are so poor that there is a federal program dedicated to lifting them out of poverty. Through the Appalachian Regional Commission, the government pitches in on projects that these rural communities badly need but can’t quite afford — everything from fixing roads, to building computer labs, to training workers, to opening health clinics.”

“President Trump, who won rousing victories in these same parts of rural America, would eliminate that funding.”

“In his budget outline for 2018 unveiled Thursday, none of the rural development agencies — the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Delta Regional Authority, the Northern Border Regional Commission — would receive any money. In effect, it would eliminate these programs, which are completely subsidized by the federal government.”

Americans Tilt Toward Protecting Environment, Alternative Fuels

Gallup: “Given a choice, the majority of Americans think protecting the environment should take precedence over developing more energy supplies, even at the risk of limiting the amount of traditional supplies the U.S. produces. An even larger majority would prioritize developing alternative energy sources such as wind and solar power over the production of oil, gas and coal. Although these have been Americans’ preferences for some time, support in the past two years has been at record highs.”

If You’re a Poor Person in America, Trump’s Budget Is Not for You

“If you’re a poor person in America, President Trump’s budget proposal is not for you,” Steven Mufson and Tracy Jan write for The Washington Post.

“Trump has unveiled a budget that would slash or abolish programs that have provided low-income Americans with help on virtually all fronts, including affordable housing, banking, weatherizing homes, job training, paying home heating oil bills, and obtaining legal counsel in civil matters.”

“During the presidential campaign last year, Trump vowed that the solution to poverty was giving poor people incentives to work. But most of the proposed cuts in his budget target programs designed to help the working poor, as well as those who are jobless, cope.”

These Maps Show What Americans Think About Climate Change

Grist: “These maps show what Americans think about climate change. Darker oranges show where most people acknowledge the existence of climate change, and lighter yellows color where more people still aren’t convinced.”

“What’s surprising is that the divide isn’t all that extreme. Although there’s some visible difference between the coasts and the middle of the country, some 70 percent of survey respondents across the map acknowledge that global warming is, in fact, happening.”

You can find all the results here.

Why Left-Wing Economics Is Not the Answer to Right-Wing Populism

Zack Beauchamp: “The problem is that a lot of data suggests that countries with more robust welfare states tend to have stronger far-right movements. Providing white voters with higher levels of economic security does not tamp down their anxieties about race and immigration — or, more precisely, it doesn’t do it powerfully enough. For some, it frees them to worry less about what it’s in their wallet and more about who may be moving into their neighborhoods or competing with them for jobs.”

“The upshot is that a significant shift to the left on economic policy issues might fail to attract white Trump supporters, even in the working class. It could even plausibly hurt the Democrats politically by reminding whites just how little they want their dollars to go to ‘those people.’ One can only imagine what Trump would tweet.”

“In this context, tacking to the left on economics won’t give Democrats a silver bullet to use against the racial resentment powering Trump’s success. It could actually wind up giving Trump an even bigger gun.”

The GOP’s Obamacare Replacement Is a Disaster for Some of Its Most Loyal Voters

Jeff Guo: “Grant County, Nebraska is one of the most pro-Trump places in America. In this rural community of about 700, the President won over 93 percent of the vote in the last election. But Grant County is also a place that has benefited hugely from the Affordable Care Act. In 2016, the law provided more than a quarter of its residents with tax credits to help them purchase health insurance.”

“Now, under the Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, many Grant County residents would suffer steep cuts to the tax credits they’ve come to rely on. It’s a nationwide pattern: Some of the harshest consequences of the GOP’s health bill would fall on rural Republican strongholds — precisely the voters who helped elect Trump.”

“Among the counties where Trump won his biggest victories, nearly all would face deep cuts in tax credits under the Republican plan to replace Obamacare. And, in the parts of the country that would lose the most in tax credits, a majority of voters were Trump supporters.”