New Mexico’s Exodus: Cause or Effect?

Today’s Albuquerque Journal includes an article by Winthrop Quigley dealing with New Mexico’s population loss. This is an issue we’ve been covering for at least the last year (and here), so it is great to see the Journal covering it.

Unfortunately, as is so often the case with our friend Winthrop, he gets the story exactly wrong. It is not a loss of population (for some random metaphysical reason) that is going to harm New Mexico’s economy. Rather, it is New Mexico’s economy that is causing people to leave the state. Obviously, there are reasons other than jobs for which people move from one place to another as the article cites. One that was not cited, BTW was weather, which would seemingly play to our advantage.

And, of course, there may be hiccups and short-term migrations for one reason or another (Utah was a top-ten outbound state according to United Van Lines this year for some odd reason, but I don’t look for that to continue), but New Mexico has been an outbound state for two years in a row. That has the makings of a trend. And when you look at the states from which people are moving and compare them to the states to which people are moving, it is hard not to see the desire for better employment and more economic freedom as a driving force.

Freedom drove the Founders to move from Europe to the New World. Freedom drove settlers to the West. Freedom drove American blacks from the Old South to the North, and freedom has brought immigrants from all over the world to the United States. Is it really a surprise that freedom will cause people to move from one state to another?