Are Americans increasingly fed up with winter? The great migration south and its impact

JoAnn Ryan

According to U.S. Census Bureau data, people living in the northern areas of the U.S. have been steadily relocating to the southern areas of the country for decades. This includes to such states as Florida, Texas and Nevada.
Winter in New YorkPhoto byAndre BenzonUnsplash

Most of us didn't need the CB data to tell us this though, as many of our family members, friends, neighbors and maybe even you yourself have made the trek south. I'm one myself, having made the move more than a decade ago now in 2012.

It's not too difficult to understand why either. As mentioned in this article in The Washington Post, Americans hate winter and "only about 1 in 10 of us call it our favorite season."

People do move for other reasons: lower cost of living, politics, etc., but not wanting to shovel snow, constantly wipe one's nose and slip and slide in the snow and ice is still likely the biggest motivator for people who choose to move south. It was for me.

Back a few years ago, this rather charming article was featured in The Atlantic: "Why So Many People Hate Winter", which pointed to research that suggests only two kinds of people actually tolerate winter well: indigenous Arctic groups and Men.

I don't fall into either category myself. How about you?

Women especially seem to dislike the cold as we age.

Mass migration straining some southern states

Florida has seen the worst of it lately. Even though it was the fastest growing state in 2022, the land of sunshine has been seeing sharp population growth for decades.

(Could this be partially to blame for the mass amounts of people who do not seem to know where or how to properly build their house in "The Sunshine State"? One has to wonder.)

Texas has had a double whammy effect going on for many years as they have sharp population inflow not only from domestic migration but, as has been well documented, from international migration as well.

The latter factor has had such a tremendous impact that, by some reports, the Hispanic population has either surpassed, or may be soon be surpassing white populations with regards to the numbers of residents (kinda depends on which stats a person trusts).

Nevada is a bit of an anomaly here. Even though they've been experiencing a burgeoning population for years from all over the country, especially to the Las Vegas and Reno areas, most new residents seem to be coming from California, Arizona, Texas and other southern states.

Weather can't be too much of a factor for these folks, so perhaps they are merely attracted to lower costs of living via such things as no state income tax, less crowds and just the fun and glitz that Vegas and Reno has to offer.

Other southern states high on the influx list include Arizona, South Carolina and Georgia.

Some southern states have lost population though

Not every southern state has seen such growth, some states like Louisiana and Mississippi have actually lost people.

While politicians seem to love pointing fingers at President Joe Biden for taking industry jobs away, this lacks any kind of sense as Louisiana lost population during the Trump years as well.

More sensical is to blame the devastation and destruction from multiple hurricanes for producing a stagnant and lackluster population of people.

It's all a different story in Mississippi. Young people especially are moving due to lack of diversity in many areas: people, education, politics, etc.

Can't really blame them there, especially if you're a young black person. I would get out, too, and go somewhere where I would have more equal opportunities, like Atlanta, GA.

Some cold states are seeing an influx of people, too

While a general shift southward has been the most significant story as far as U.S. migration goes, there are a great number of people who are heading to such states as Idaho, Montana, Delaware and Maine.

Not everyone seems to mind the cold, obviously, and it's pretty safe to assume that people are moving to these states to escape more crowded areas like New York City for wide open spaces and a cheaper cost of living.

Of course, high influxes of people tend to drive up the cost of living wherever they go.

What do you think about this shift? Have you yourself made a significant move in the last decade or so. If so, what was your reasoning behind it?

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