Red state demographic gains reveal shifting political allegiances.

Republicans are Posing a Growing Threat in Blue States

Calm down, Democrats, Donald Trump will not, as some zealous Maga types fantasise, take New York this election. Nor will he win over New Jersey, although the race may be closer there. California, as we New York natives would say: fuggedaboutit.

But the Trump surge in deep blue places, epitomised by successful rallies in the Bronx and the Jersey shore, reveals a great deal about shifting political allegiances. In New York, which Trump lost by 23 points in 2020, the former president is now within nine points. In New Jersey, where he lost by 16, the margin is down to five. If Trump forces Biden and the Democrats to deploy forces to these places, he is very likely to win a second term.

Democrats have ample reason to “freak out” about their incoherent and doddering leader. But they would also be well-served to realise that voters do not like to live in a failed state. After all, the deep blue bastions now lag behind the red states in nearly every conceivable category. Over the past year, for example, job growth in New York and New Jersey has lagged far behind that seen in red Florida, Texas, and South Carolina. Income growth is roughly 40% higher in these states than in New York and New Jersey, as well as other blue state laggards California, Illinois, and Oregon.

Most revealing is that many residents of these blue states are already voting with their feet. In the past decade, five southern states — Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Georgia, and South Carolina, along with Arizona in the West — exceeded the growth of all of the other (44) states and DC, according to the census. This pattern has accelerated since 2020, with southern states gaining 1.7 million people, while the other three census regions (Northeast, Midwest, and West) all had net domestic migration losses. In 2023, southern states accounted for 87% of all US population growth.

New York, New Jersey, and California are all losing residents, often to these same states. Last year, New York, California and Illinois lost more people to out-migration than any other states. Demographer Wendell Cox notes that the largest percentage loss of residents occurred in big core cities such as New York, Chicago and San Francisco.

In contrast, populations grew in sprawling areas such as Phoenix, Dallas, and Orlando. But although New York City had the biggest losses, an outstanding eight out of every 10 New York towns have also witnessed population declines since 2020. Overall, 90% of US growth last year was outside of big cities, the electoral base of the Democrats.

This red state surge is likely to continue given that red states have significantly higher birth rates. Over time, notes demographer Lyman Stone, this may constitute a “conservative fertility advantage”.

Indeed, many from the groups who add most to the baby supply — minorities, millennials and immigrants — are also moving to red states. In the past, both African Americans and immigrants headed to the West Coast, the Northeast and Chicago, where they felt welcome and saw opportunity. Now they are migrating instead to Dallas, Miami and even small towns in the Midwest. Los Angeles’s foreign-born population even declined over the past decade. Similarly, before the pandemic, affluent young professionals were heading to less expensive and congested cities in search of homes in places they could afford.

Read the rest of this piece at UnHerd.

Joel Kotkin is the author of The Coming of Neo-Feudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class. He is the Roger Hobbs Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University and and directs the Center for Demographics and Policy there. Learn more at and follow him on Twitter @joelkotkin.

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr CC 2.0 License.