Look to the Old Confederacy, not the Coasts, for America's Economic Revival
Joel Kotkin summarizes a new report that he and his colleagues at the Manhattan Institute have published that points to the rising economic importance of four "growth corridors" in the United States: the Great Plains, the Intermountain West, the Third Coast (spanning the Gulf states from Texas to Florida), and the Southeastern industrial belt. "Historically," says Kotkin, "these regions were little more than resource colonies or low-wage labor sites for richer, more technically advanced areas. By promoting policies that encourage enterprise and spark economic growth, they're catching up."
"These regions have different histories and different trajectories into the future, but they share certain key drivers of economic growth: lower costs (particularly for housing); better business climates; and population growth. Some have benefited from the strong global market for commodities, particularly food, natural gas, and oil. Others are expanding because of a resurgence in manufacturing in the United States."
"To be sure, New York, Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Chicago will remain the country's leading metropolitan agglomerations for the foreseeable future," he acknowledges. "But an important urban story of the coming decades will be the emergence of interior metropolitan areas such as Houston, Dallas–Fort Worth, Tampa, Oklahoma City, and Omaha. On a smaller scale, fast-growing Lafayette (Louisiana), Baton Rouge, Midland (Texas), Sioux Falls (South Dakota), Fargo, and a host of other smaller cities will continue to expand. We may also witness the resurgence of New Orleans as a leading cultural and business center for the south and the Gulf Coast."
"The corridors' growing success is a testament to the resiliency and adaptability of the American economy," Kotkin concludes. "It also challenges the established coastal states and cities to reconsider their current high-tax, high-regulation climates if they would like to join the growth party."