Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Average is Over (2) Texas

In Average is Over, Tyler Cowen suggests that poor people are already adjusting to permanent declining incomes. For example the population of Texas is growing rapidly, because it is a place that is cheap to live.

Why is Texas so popular? For a long time the state has had one of America’s highest murder rates and it has a high property crime rate. The weather is warm but it is not a calm warm-weather state, give the storms and tornadoes.... Texas is skimpy on welfare benefits and Medicaid coverage, and 27 percent of the state has no health insurance coverage. Texas has one of America’s poorest performing educational systems, at least as measured by high school graduation rates, which in Texas are below 70 percent. What Texas does have is cheap housing...

In other words, if you live in Texas, your locale will offer C-grade public services but you may have more cash in your pocket than if you lived somewhere else (242).
I am not familiar with Texas, but Cowen says it is good place to live, if you are poor. In the future most people will be getting poorer, so more places like Texas will be needed.
Many Americans will end up living in areas with cheaper housing and lower-quality public services, if only to give themselves more cash in their pocket. Some of those areas might be a bit ugly to the eyes, again as a trade-off for lower costs. As cross-county moving proceeds, and changes what we are, the United States as a whole will end up looking more like Texas.

This trend will shape our world whether or not you find that the cheaper cities suit you personally.

How far will it go? No one can say for sure, but the fiscal limitations of the American government, combined with wage polarization, will test that question (242)

1 comment:

August said...

There is more freedom in Texas too.
I suspect there are more jobs, especially in places like Houston- I started noticing a lot of young corporate types go there to start their careers.
Another big deal related to cheapness- air conditioning costs in the South versus heating costs in the North. Air conditioning is cheaper and you can even go without it and survive, but the northerners are stuck with those high heating bills.