Free market conservatives often point to the popularity of their ideas (as applied in the various states). Over many years people have moved from high tax, high regulation states, to lower tax, lower regulation states. This is largely a search for greater economic freedom.
But, during the Pandemic that has gripped the US and policymakers over the past year, economic freedom has also come to include things like: the ability to send your child to school in-person, businesses staying open, no mask requirements, and numerous other factors. These factors have particularly increased the importance of state governors who have driven COVID policies.
Here are the Census figures upon which the following analysis is based. New Mexico is the only Southwest state to have lost migrants during the period reported (July 2020 to July 2021). New Mexico has also had the strictest pandemic rules AND far less economic freedom than our neighbors.
Notably, while the three VERY BLUE states with large populations saw massive population losses (CA, NY, and IL), even North Carolina and Nevada which are considered “blue” and MD and MA which are considered “red” based on governors hardly fit those profiles based on actual governance.
The following chart shows WHY people are leaving when it comes to specific (non-COVID) policies. You can read the full policy analysis from Mark Perry at American Enterprise Institute here.