Who'd Want to Live There??
January 28, 2009 7:35 PM   Subscribe

Texas is sticky; Wyoming is not. Arizona is a magnet, but New York, surprisingly, isn’t. Nevada is both a magnet but not sticky. A Pew Center report examines “Who Moves? Who Stays Put? Where's Home?” (previous Pew Center reports on who’s in jail, and who can identify Dick Cheney, among others.)
posted by cogneuro (39 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Ain't no reason to leave this here beautiful Texas. Ain't no reason to mess with her, neither.
posted by xmutex at 7:35 PM on January 28, 2009 [2 favorites]

37% have never left their hometown...

I left my hometown specifically to get away from people like that.
posted by R. Mutt at 7:47 PM on January 28, 2009 [10 favorites]

Ain't no reason to mess with her, neither.

Is that some kind of threat?
posted by Horace Rumpole at 8:04 PM on January 28, 2009 [1 favorite]

Texas is cheaper than most of the rest of the country.
People are friendly.
The economy is good.
It's friggin' gigantic, so if you don't like Lubbock (who does?) you can always move to San Antonio, or Corpus, or Austin, or Houston, or ...

also bears out my belief than no one would live in New York unless they didn't know any better.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:10 PM on January 28, 2009 [1 favorite]

(shrug) Couldn't wait to get the fuck out of Texas. Twice. No desire to go back.
posted by CommonSense at 8:13 PM on January 28, 2009 [1 favorite]

Well, Texas wouldn't be so darned sticky if it weren't so darned hot now, would it?
posted by ooga_booga at 8:22 PM on January 28, 2009

I liked living in Austin, except for the part where it was in Texas. I can't believe I spent 8 years of my life in that state. Bleh. Of course, I also can't believe that I'm in Tennessee right now, so clearly I'm not right in the head.
posted by DiscourseMarker at 8:23 PM on January 28, 2009

I thought this was going to be about geological phenomena.
posted by longsleeves at 8:24 PM on January 28, 2009

Your favorite place sucks.
posted by Curry at 8:42 PM on January 28, 2009 [2 favorites]

As someone who moved (best as I can recall) from Maryland to Florida to Germany to (somewhere else in) Germany to Florida to Arizona to Germany to (somewhere else in) Germany to Florida to (somewhere else in) Florida (all before 18) to Virginia to North Carolina to Texas to New York, I just can't wrap my head around what it must be like to live your whole life in the same metro area.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:50 PM on January 28, 2009 [1 favorite]

I can't believe you don't like Tennessee either, so yes you must be crazy (FTFY..in my head).

I never got much of a chance to travel outside of Austin during the year I spent there, so I can't say much about Texas as a whole. I can say that shitty college kids get real old real fast.
posted by Roman Graves at 8:56 PM on January 28, 2009

I'm split between my feelings about Texas, they produced G Dubya but I love King of the Hill.
posted by BrnP84 at 9:12 PM on January 28, 2009

I notice that people who, like myself, have lived in three states but not four are the smallest percentage across any demographic. Makes me want to avoid living in a fourth state, a little bit.

Also, I find it weird that Indiana has a higher "magnate" rating than Illinois does. Chicago kicks the shit out of anything Indiana has to offer, honestly, and down-state they are pretty much the same…
posted by paisley henosis at 9:24 PM on January 28, 2009

My blood was too thick for TN
posted by edgeways at 9:42 PM on January 28, 2009

I'm on my fourth state. Will move again in 5 years or so, probably, when I'm looking to get into a PhD program. The idea of living in the same town for my entire life frankly scares the bejesus out of me. A city I could understand. But when I lived in a small town, a good number of the people were like that. Personally, I feel that we'd be a better nation if we moved a little more, as we'd see just how like us the rest of the country is.
posted by Hactar at 9:50 PM on January 28, 2009

I'm on my fourteenth state of living and working in, but I finally found the one that fits me. If the local economy allows, I shall stay put. If not, I can work at my profession anywhere, and will always be able to eat.
posted by scottymac at 10:20 PM on January 28, 2009

Fifth state here in AZ. Keep thinking it'd be great to move somewhere I can actually grow a decent garden and the summers don't feel like Hell's kitchen. But the winters here are sooo nice. I think it's really the main reason people like to stay: they've had it up to here with snowstorms and slushy boots and numb fingers elsewhere.
posted by darkstar at 10:26 PM on January 28, 2009

NYC might be a magnet, but New York as a whole? Probably not that many people moving to Lime Lake.

Myself, as much as I liked the town I grew up in, I'm happy to be in the 15% of movers.
posted by madajb at 11:03 PM on January 28, 2009

This is neat. I wouldn't mind spending a stint in the States, working, to see how different it is from Canada and whatnot. I had really planned on making up a random list of big cities I'd heard of and doing cursory research on said cities to narrow it down into a couple main job search targets, but now I'm kind of intrigued by this notion of picking my relocation area based on how many people are attracted to it and how many people stay for the longterm. I, completely unscientifically, think a place with a relatively high "turnover rate" might actually suit my personality better.

But either way, neat PDF.
posted by Phire at 1:07 AM on January 29, 2009

Home is where the friends are, and the longer you stay somewhere, the more friends you have. The longer I stay here in Louisiana, the more I know about my community and the things that happen in it. Sure, it's missing some things, but it's also got some things I haven't found anywhere else, either.
Staying put has made me more accepting, I think.

Also, I wonder if the decline in movement shown on the Pew graph reflects the modern ubiquity of Starbuck's, Barnes & Noble, etc.
posted by atchafalaya at 3:46 AM on January 29, 2009

I couldn't find a definition of "lived" for the purposes of this survey. How long do you have to stay someplace to have lived there? A year? A few months? Do you have to be self-sufficient there or if you're staying with people you know does it count? Because my answer would be astonishingly different depending on those criteria.
posted by Skorgu at 4:58 AM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

I'm surprised that Maine doesn't have a higher outflow of people, but then there's that massive influx of yuppies escaping the eastern megalopolis.

In my hometown in downeast Maine, all the kids who were smart enough and had the means got the hell out of there and didn't look back. It's a great place to live if you're independently wealthy and you want to do yoga, go kayaking, and have a world music show on WERU, but the working class has been getting systematically marginalized and, well, screwed.

The only year-long jobs in town are at places like Rite Aid and Hannaford, and the kids who can't get out of town are stuck working there. There is nothing for young people to do besides drink, especially in the wintertime, and all the girls who grew up on my road had babies by the time they were 19.
I would love to go back if it wasn't so grim there. The people running the show don't really care about building community, they care about fleecing the tourists for as much as they can during the summertime- but at least they've got lots of young, desperate labor to scrub their toilets.
posted by dunkadunc at 5:41 AM on January 29, 2009

Texas is fucking enormous. If you're going to slag on it, but you only knew one place, you should just slag on just that place, instead of the entire state. Sure there are shitty places in Texas, but there are so many places of breathtaking beauty here. I've met so many friendly people here from the smallest imaginable towns to the biggest cities.

If you live somewhere that you hate, then by all means, move and be happy. But don't assume that no rational person could possibly be content to live there.
posted by popechunk at 6:26 AM on January 29, 2009 [6 favorites]

What popechunk said. It is beyond ignorant to suggest that the entire state of Texas sucks because you did not enjoy your experience in the state, especially when you do not even attempt to set forth any basis for the complaint. Moreover, given the study linked which shows that Texas has the largest amount of individuals moving to it and the highest net immigration, it seems a bit callow to suggest that it is an undesirable place to live on the whole.
posted by dios at 6:35 AM on January 29, 2009

In my 8 years in Texas I lived in Odessa for 3, Austin for 5. But I have been to Amarillo, Lubbock, Marfa/Ft. Davis, Dallas and Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, Wichita Falls, Galveston, and the Rio Grande Valley (Harlingen/Brownsville). Now, that's not quite the whole state, but it's a big chunk. Some areas I thought were pretty (Austin & central TX generally) and some areas not (sorry, but west TX is empty, brown, and ugly).

What I really disliked more than anything was not so much the people (though the attitude that I sometimes encountered of "TX is the most specialest place ever" I found pretty annoying) but the state government. When my house in Austin was "re-districted" away from the person I had previously been voting for (Lloyd Doggett), even though I had not moved, that was the last straw.

posted by DiscourseMarker at 8:06 AM on January 29, 2009

West Texas is beautiful, in my opinion. Empty, maybe, but that's part of the beauty. You can see for miles and miles, and watching storms come rolling in is breathtaking, you can see them coming for hours before they hit. And there is nothing quite like a summer night in West Texas, or the sunsets that come before it. I'm sorry you couldn't see the beauty in that.

I think Texas is special, and forgive me if you find that annoying. I think it's a shame that more people don't have such an openly loving attitude towards the state they live in. And Texas, by virtue of its size, history, and diversity, makes it pretty unique. I mean, you lived in both the OD and Austin, which fall at opposite ends of the scale, so you should be pretty familiar.

But if the government sucks, you know what the solution is? Not bitching about it and moving out, but by taking action. What a novel concept, I know, but there it is. People are also so ready to write us off as the home state of Bush (even though he was born in Connecticut but whatever) and people forget that we were also the home state of Ann Richards. Even my district, despite being one of the most conservative in the state, manages to elect a Democrat representative regulary (Chet Edwards). Progress is slow, but it happens.
posted by internet!Hannah at 8:25 AM on January 29, 2009 [3 favorites]

I never thought I'd be one to say something nice about Texas (preferring the other giant states of California and New York), but I had a pretty rad time in Austin, much to my surprise. I don't think it is any more "unique" than say California, but it was different and fun.
posted by dame at 8:36 AM on January 29, 2009

In my hometown in downeast Maine, all the kids who were smart enough and had the means got the hell out of there and didn't look back. It's a great place to live if you're independently wealthy and you want to do yoga, go kayaking, and have a world music show on WERU, but the working class has been getting systematically marginalized and, well, screwed.

Hey, you could be describing my hometown in Southern Vermont! Just add "prison guard" to the list of year-round jobs and it's the same place!

I have one friend from Vermont who still lives there, and she moved from a very small town up to Burlington. Anyone who could went to college and got the hell out.

Oddly enough, my closest friends here in Boston are all from Vermont. I guess none of us migrated *too* far. I think that has more to do with "family ties" and less to do with "love of awful winters." The farthest south I've ever lived is Rhode Island. And yet, I don't really like snow all that much. If only we could re-locate New England closer to the equator, I'd be much happier.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 9:06 AM on January 29, 2009

Native Texan here, who went away and came back (hard to escape family ties, plus my husband is kind of stuck on the place). I like it fine, and it has things I did not find in NYC, or England when I lived abroad, but it's a nice state with a lot of problems. Serious pollution on the coast and elsewhere (such as burning toxic waste to make cement), an educational system that is ranked low nationwide, and a lot of what I'd call prideful stupidity--people who think there's something pure and noble about being ignorant and not asking questions. Oh yeah, and segregation, especially for black people, is still a problem, along with the attitudes that whites have towards them.

There are lots of quirky fun smart people too...but they are not in charge, and having a hard time getting changes made, and it shows.

My hope is, all the new immigrants will continue to dilute the redneckery and lead to positive changes. My husband's current employer came here from Detroit, and brought a lot of employees with it, a very diverse group. More of that, and this place might start to shape up a bit more.
posted by emjaybee at 9:18 AM on January 29, 2009

dunkadunc: Statistically, a lot of the kids who flee Maine to go to college end up coming back, eventually. Maine has a pretty high rate of returnees. They're just not going back to the little ex-mill towns, for the most part, because like you said, what's to do there?

Maine's crap economy is a double-edged sword, really. On the one hand, the economy sucks, so there's no work and everyone's poor. On the other hand, the economy sucks, so the state hasn't been completely trashed by sprawl and development yet. For a state that's not even two hours drive from the MA North Shore, that's something to be proud of.

Here's one Mainer hoping it stays poor and off-putting for as long as possible.
posted by rusty at 9:42 AM on January 29, 2009

grapefruitmoon: You're welcome to take MA, CT, and RI and put them closer to the equator (or the bottom of the ocean, or a volcano, or Mars). Just leave New England alone please. :-)
posted by rusty at 9:43 AM on January 29, 2009

rusty: Oh, I see someone's got their flannel long undies in a knot. Don't worry, you can keep your pine trees right where they are. New Hampshire and Maine can stick around and become part of Canada, I'm taking the rest of it to the tropics.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 10:02 AM on January 29, 2009

a lot of the kids who flee Maine to go to college end up coming back, eventually
Everyone smart from my area went to Portland, for what that's worth.

Here's one Mainer hoping it stays poor and off-putting for as long as possible.
For someone who likes being able to eat food, I have to say I really agree with you there. There's something to be said for having miles and miles of woods behind your house.

I still fantasize about the McMansion on Blueberry Hill having a rock from space land on it, and I wouldn't mind if the Mount Desert Island was temporarily submerged under a few hundred feet of water.
It would be rather purifying.
posted by dunkadunc at 10:04 AM on January 29, 2009

grapefruitmoon: Deal!

(And the long undies are either smartwool or polypropylene these days, but I'll grant your underlying premise)
posted by rusty at 1:50 PM on January 29, 2009

It says Texas is the stickiest state but definitely not magnet (see page 12). So Texans love Texas, but no one else does. No surprises here. I'd say the big surprise is that New York is the least magnet state.
posted by jeffburdges at 2:07 PM on January 29, 2009

I'd love to see the same analysis for Europe.
posted by jeffburdges at 2:10 PM on January 29, 2009

(shrug) Couldn't wait to get the fuck out of Texas. Twice. No desire to go back.

No irony there. None.

It appears that people who move to Texas, love or at least stay put in Texas. Migrations tend to work that way. Texas is, as people have noted, big - lots of places for those who made the Sun Belt migration to land. (Retirees and snowbirds who change declared tax residence, too, I'd guess.)

Which, ironically, unproves my point - people steaming back in the Sun Belt migration is part of how Atlanta became The Capital of Black America

On the regional migration flows for "South" - they care including Texas? Yes. So although the arrow looks like 787,000 from NYC to FLA, it's really generally distributed northeast to South. On a flow like that, I'd also wonder how much is southern folk going to NYC and DC for their careers, and then transferring back to a regional office when they've made partner or whatever.

Thanks for the link, cogneuro. Fun stuff.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 5:51 PM on January 29, 2009

I dunno, I've lived all over the world (London, Paris, Hanover, Amsterdam), and in various states...but I somehow always end up back in Texas. I think the Austin/New Orleans/Dallas triangle may be the landlocked version of the Bermuda Triangle...there's just no escaping it. You think you have...but then you realize that it's a pretty groovy place to be after all.

Sure, we've got oilmen, and trophy girls, and a whole cadre of ladies who believe that "the higher the hair, the closer to god". But we've also got outstanding ballet companies, and operas and symphonies. We've got rodeos and race cars. We've got deserts, and oceans and mountains and prairies. If you don't like the weather...just wait a minute. We've got world class universities, and ground breaking music.

So, despite the intolerance on some quarters, and the stupidity on others...the intelligencia is slowly but surely spreading. Why, just this week, the creationists were spanked and sent home without biscuits. Obama actually won in Dallas. Dallas! I mean, we knew he'd take Austin...but Dallas? Go team! The head of the Dallas Police is an openly gay female.

I periodically think about moving, just because I have a built in "been here 3 years, must be time to move" internal clock, but you can't beat the cost of living. Anywhere else in the country, my house would be easily half a million or more. Considering the size of our lot, and the lake and ducks and willows...probably a lot more. It'd be a couple of million in New York. When I was considering Boulder, I couldn't find a similar house under 750k. That's a ridiculous amount of money to spend on a house.

All in all, though I may bitch about the Baptists, and complain about the 110 degree summer afternoons, I like Texas just fine. (Disclaimer: If I got a job and visas for the family, I'd move back to Holland in a heartbeat. It's small, it's cramped, but it's where the mothership is.)
posted by dejah420 at 7:12 PM on January 29, 2009

Another native Texan who moved away and came home here. I grew up in Houston and lived there until my 30s, with the exception of a couple of teenaged years abroad. We followed a job to Jersey City, which is essentially outer metro NYC, but on the other side of the Hudson, and then another job to Princeton. We came home to a wedding in Austin--one of my husband's college roommates--over Labor Day a couple of years ago and as we were driving across the bridge on 360, I asked him "why don't we live here?" and when the answer was "no job", we decided to fix that. We were in Austin, where we'd always thought we'd want to be if we left Houston, before Christmas. A lot of our out of state friends don't get it, but this is home. I'll take the hot long summer and the Baptists to get away from the things I didn't like about NYC/New Jersey, of which there were plenty.

And for all that Texas-love from Texans may be grating to outsiders, this Texan found the high opinion a lot of New Yorkers have about their own city equally grating, and, frankly, unwarranted. New York has some unique things and some fantastic things, but they're not that much better than the unique things every other place in the country has to offer. At least there are Texans who could write Stupid Texas Song.
posted by immlass at 8:53 PM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

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