Census Data Shows Americans Moving To Right To Work States, Leaving Non-Right-To-Work States


In politics we spend a lot of time debating policy in the context of ideology and philosophy. We all have our ideas about what sort of policies will and will not work. But what is perhaps the most instructive measure of a given policy is how people react to that policy.

Given that, it’s illuminating to see the differences between right-to-work states which allow workers to choose whether or not they want to join a union and non-right-to-work states where workers aren’t afforded that choice. For instance, hiring in right-to-work states since 2009 has grown three time faster than non-right-to-work states.

Which might be why, according to US Census data, Americans are moving away from non-right-to-work states to right-to-work states:

The Census data show that last year a net total of nearly 364,000 people moved out of the 28 states that at that time did not protect private-sector employees from being forced to pay union dues as a condition of employment and into one of the 22 Right to Work states. (Since the beginning of this year, two more states, Indiana and Michigan, have enacted Right to Work laws.)

That is to say, in 2011 nearly 364,000 more people moved out of forced-unionism states as a group than moved into them. And the negative correlation between compulsory dues and domestic migration is very robust. None of the 10 states experiencing the greatest net out-migration of residents in absolute terms (Alaska, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, and Ohio) had a Right to Work law in 2011. But seven of the eight states with the greatest net domestic in-migration in absolute numbers were Right to Work states (Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia). The sole exception among the top eight was low-union-density, but non-Right to Work, Colorado.

This is called “voting with your feet.” The genius of Americans federalist republic is that it tends to let people move away from bad policy and toward better policy. When policy is allowed to be set by the states, that is. It’s rather more difficult to move away from bad policy when it’s set by the federal government.

Anyway, this instructive reaction to policy by the populace is no doubt why President Obama has ordered the IRS and the Census to stop keeping this sort of data.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • SigFan

    Couple right to work with the fact that many of these states have no state income tax or low income tax and/or sales tax and it really becomes obvious what’s happening. I think we ought to let CA and NY secede and become Liberal Land and tax themselves to death. The rest of us would be better off without them and would end up being just fine.

  • banjo kid

    Violence is no way to settle anything except a war , but that said when I viewed the video of this guy getting smacked by the union member, what I saw at first was the comedian knocked the guy down and he got up and started swinging , Bill O’reily did the right thing and showed the video in its entirety and I saw this twice and both times I see the guy falling and the fox guy as his arms came back to his side the union guy was on the ground. I think the comedienne thought he could push him around and caught him off guard and he fell .

  • sbark

    Problem is……watch the voteing pattern of those states—-These people may well walk with their feet……but they will once again vote for what forced them to leave the left wing state in the 1st place…….

    They want capitalism to support them…..but the mentality of free stuff is tuff is an addiction–cant shake it until you can admit its a problem.

  • WOOF

    Demographics is destiny.
    Those “people” are Democrats.
    How many voters would it take to turn
    Wyoming, North, South Dakota Blue ?

    • http://ndgoon.blogspot.com Goon

      It’s not going to happen.

      • 308T

        Don’t be so sure, the sheeple of this state voted in a phony like Heidi.

  • http://ndgoon.blogspot.com Goon

    The Union Blue States are broke and they’re looking to Obumble to bail them out again.

  • Snarkie

    Poor folks moving away from all the money and high prices. Your point?

    • http://sayanything.flywheelsites.com Rob

      Unions inflate labor prices to the detriment of the economy.

      Did you not understand that?

  • Rob

    Herp Derp. I’m Rob. I claim to be anti-government intervention, but one it comes to the state intervening to alter a private agreement between unions and employers, I selectively favor intervention. I’m an ideologically bankrupt political hack! Derp.

    • http://sayanything.flywheelsites.com Rob

      This doesn’t alter anything. It gives workers who don’t want to be part of the union the choice to opt out.

      That’s not intervention. Buy I know how you liberals see individuals making their own decisions as dangerous stuff

      • Rob

        Herp Derp. I’m Rob. I’m such a blind partisan hack that I’ve convinced myself the government isn’t intervening when it limits what two parties can agree to! I inexplicably think that one person should be able to block what two other parties have voluntarily agreed to and pretend as if they are forced into signing a contract when they are more than free to look for work elsewhere. Derp.

        I’m also still peddling the law that union membership can be mandated, despite it being a proven lie. http://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/373/734/