Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Growing number of like-minded conservative Californians are migrating to rural Idaho

A demographic shift has led a large number of urban Californians to migrate to rural Idaho to trade in the big city life for the quiet countryside, Kirk Siegler reports for NPR. Much of the shift can be attributed to a growing sense of unease that began in the early 1990s. "That was around the time of the deadly earthquakes in California. There was a lot of racial tension after the Rodney King beating. Housing costs had already been soaring and the out-migration of Californians moving to nearby states such as Idaho really picked up."

Kootenai County, Idaho
(Wikipedia map)
Northern Idaho counties like Kootenai—which is 95 percent white, a minority race in California—have seen their population double, Siegler writes. "Even as late as 2015, the census shows that more than a quarter of all new residents moving to the state still came from California."

"The idea that like-minded people like to live together and in some cases are seeking one another out is being put in renewed focus in the wake of the divisive 2016 presidential election," Siegler writes. "This is regardless of whether it's in the more conservative rural areas or liberal cities. The rural vote in the Electoral College played a key role in the surprise election of Donald Trump. The Electoral College is weighted disproportionately to rural, now mostly red states like Idaho. So if you're a conservative and you move up to Idaho from California, your vote has nearly twice as much impact."

The phenomenon of Americans moving to like-minded areas is explored in the book The Big Sort, by Bill Bishop and Robert Cushing.

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