Tag Archives: moving

If We Pay Them, They Will Come

30 Apr

The 2020 US Census came out and showed how the American population is moving–to Texas, Montana, Colorado, and Oregon–so how does places that are losing people get them back? Simple–pay them!

In the same breath as hearing about the census results, the radio show I listen to mentioned this cool website called Make My Move. This is not an ad for this site, but I’m fascinated by this idea, especially because most of the towns listed are… not small. How do you convince new people to move to a place no one wants to go to?

This has been tried before. A lot of small towns in deep rural areas are offering free lots to anyone who wants to build on them. Although people are surveyed every year on the best places to live, and people talk about moving to… wherever your heart lies, they don’t do it. Why? Because once you get there, you need to be able to live. There is often no jobs in your field. So I might want to move to Lincoln, Kansas, but unless my job is remote (which it has been for a while), good luck paying for the new house when you don’t have a job.

That’s why this new website is so fascinating. These are not small towns. Places like Morgantown, WV–that’s the home of West Virginia University, it’s on the commuter rail to Washington, DC, it’s a beautiful place… yet they are offering $20,000 for people to move there, half in cash, half towards a house down payment. Benton Harbor, Michigan–a beautiful place–offers $15,000. Augusta, Maine–the capital of the state–same amount.

I would love to move to a lot of the places on this list. Montpelier, Vermont offers $13,000. Sure, come for the beauty, stay for the socialism, so maybe that makes a little more sense. Tulsa, Oklahoma though? A sizeable chunk of cash for people who want to move there. The smaller towns make more sense–Newton, Iowa; Bemidji, Minnesota–small college town and regional centers. But even Baltimore, Maryland offers $5,000!

The main obstacle to a lot of these offers is… hearing about the offer in the first place. The couple times in my life when I chose to live in a location, I never bothered checking to see if there were incentives, or… even having a job in hand before I moved. I had this crazy idea that I could afford to live as a substitute teacher in Portland, Maine about twenty years ago. I lived there for three months, during the winter, and absolutely loved it. Of course, I couldn’t afford it, and what I learned was that most poor folk lived in Lewistown for a couple years (much cheaper, 45 min commute) and worked in Portland. Moving to Cincinnati worked, but we had a good nest egg, and it didn’t take long to get some temp work to get us on our feet. But if I hadn’t gotten my good job after a year, we would have gone back to Illinois.

So… I’m not sure if these incentives work, but it might get people thinking about moving in the first place. Then thoughts might become the mover of our actions. But what do you think? Is this a good idea whose time has come? Or is this the last gasp of a failing city? Let me know in the comments below! Then move out to a new world with one of my books. However, if $1.99 is too steep for your moving budget, go ahead and download one of my stories for free. It’s worth the trip.

Voting with your Feet

12 Mar

There is one survey that is one hundred percent accurate and is a great indicator of how you’re doing–regardless if you’re a business, as a city, or a nation–how many people are trying to get in the door.

So I ran across this article about people leaving San Francisco, California and the SF Chronicle explained that they looked at postal data and found that most people just left the City, not the State. Since numbers can be manipulated to suit any agenda, it’s important to be examine what people are saying. The conservative argument is that people are leaving California for other states because of the flawed policies. The Chronicle is liberal publication, so they’re fighting against that spin.

The article makes very good points–regardless of policies, San Francisco has insanely high rents, because up until recently, people really wanted to be there. So a lot of people simply changed apartments in the City to get a cheaper one. But most important, they just left the City for the burbs in the Bay Area.

However, they are leaving, and in record numbers. 50,000 people last year out of the City proper–in 2019, the population was 874,961–so one out of 17 people left in last year ALONE. 100,000 out of the Bay Area–7.7 million–so a much less robust one out of 77, helped a little by the SF exodus. Why? The biggest reason is because it’s a real pain in the butt to change jobs. So unless your job is guaranteed remote, you CAN’T live anywhere you want. You have to be able to commute to work. Of course, that doesn’t include the problem of selling your house, packing, leaving your friends and family (which might also be your childcare), and pay a lot of money to shift to somewhere better.

My job IS remote and as much as I love it here, I can’t move to New Hampshire, because my wife’s school is here in Arizona. (We probably could leave, but honestly it’s not bad enough to leave. See: “pain in the butt.”) To take another example, we are seriously pissed off at our son’s school. They dragged their feet at reopening, resisting a governor’s executive order to open their doors, and it took yelling at five different state agencies to get them to finally budge. Even then, the principal was determined to point out as they’re slowly reopening, “the order is not mandatory!” BS it is.

When my son burst into tears (starting last August) when we told him he couldn’t go back, we wanted to leave it THEN. But our son LOVES that school. Loves it. We had an option that had a in-class education and he rejected it because he loves that school. Our daughter wants to go there next year. And that greatly reduces our ability to tell the principal to *$&% #$*# &$*@$.

So with all that baggage, imagine how upset you have to be at your living situation to leave town? Assuming that it’s optional–if you don’t have work or can’t afford being there. This happens to people all the time, but not in numbers that you can count to a negative output in the thousands. Yet… is the city and county of San Francisco about to clean up its homeless, tackle it’s massive crime problem, and it’s anti-business attitude? Not yet. Give it a few years and those who are left will finally vote in harsh measures and tough officials (see New York City in 1990), but since the City has been slowly collapsing for a decade, I’m not going to hold my breath. But I imagine it’ll affect redistricting next year, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s district in San Francisco itself… but that’ll just be a larger Democratic district. All the Republicans are moving to Idaho, Arizona, Texas, New Mexico… they’re not moving to Democratic strongholds like Oregon or Washington State.

Just to be clear–any time you get a one-party government it’s a disaster. Wyoming (Republican stronghold) is considered one of the most corrupt state in the US, although that’s listed because they have no mechanism against corruption. People are not dying to emigrate to China, they’re dying to leave. So when you can vote with your feet, people do. A business that treats you like crap when you enter the door if not a door I will return to.

Man, looking back, this post is a little more rambling than usual–my apologies. Where did I go wrong? What juicy example did I miss? Let me know in the comments below! And while you at it, if you like my writing style, check out my books. If the $1.99 is too high an obstacle for you, download my stories for free!

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