One-party rule in America’s liberal cities has forced an unintended exodus of millennials, the poor, and minorities to affordable abodes elsewhere.
The only room available in booming liberal cities requires a person to be wealthy.
“Millennials, who are supposedly returning to cities, are actually moving out from the most expensive rental markets faster than any other age group—nearly double the average rate,” Michael J. Coren wrote in Route Fifty.
Millennials are more likely to change jobs and they haven’t yet reached their peak earning years, so they’re more sensitive to higher costs of living and more willing to chase opportunity elsewhere. For high-cost coastal cities, their millennials are a greater flight risk unless they offer high-paying tech jobs like San Francisco does. Millennials in New York City have seen their incomes decline since 2000, though high-earning millennials are over-represented as well. Millennial inequality is widening.
Sometimes, the exodus means a relocation to the suburbs, but other times they leave the region entirely. The Midwest, South, and less expensive Northeastern cities stand to gain most, and not only with millennials. Portland, Oregon has lost 12 percent of its African-American population in four years, according to the Manhattan Institute. San Francisco and Los Angeles have been losing black residents since 2000.
“The evidence suggests that specific public policies in these cities are to blame. Primary among them are restrictive planning regulations, common along the West Coast, that make it hard to expand the supply of housing. In a market with rising demand and static supply, prices go up,” Aaron M. Renn wrote.
Blame NIMBYs. Neighborhoods averse to change help the residents already there, but potential residents lose, as does the vibrancy of a city. That makes the suburbs more affordable, if not more appealing.
Beyond economic shifts and rising rental prices, urban cities have seen rising costs from various efforts to make cities more “livable” or, ironically, affordable. Minimum wage increases, bike lanes, beautification efforts, zoning regulations, license requirements, and other amenities add up. Much like the accumulation of regulations over decades, the demand for greater services and tax revenues make a city costlier. Business taxes and fees become cumbersome and stifle would-be entrepreneurs. In an effort to do more for the poor, coastal cities compounded the costs and made their municipalities unaffordable.
Call it the interventionist’s dilemma.
That presents an opportunity for cities that aren’t so politically homogenous, or don’t have growth restrictions due to legal burdens or physical boundaries. When the Democratic machine is the only political vehicle in a city, people vote with their feet.