Sorry it’s been a while since I’ve written. Holidays, family time and the real gig sometimes get in the way.
Anyway, today I’m going to play a little bit of futurist. I stumbled onto an idea when I considered a question I had regarding one of my passions, University of Michigan college football. Michigan and its conference, the Big Ten, have taken a back seat to other college football powers over the last 30-40 years, after winning numerous national championships and bowls after World War II. I posed a question to my favorite Michigan football blog, MgoBlog, about what it would take to bring the Big Ten back to national dominance, and the blogger’s facetious answer was, “global warming”.
Then, in the midst of the heat wave that has gripped the Midwest and East Coast this past week, I read an article in the Atlantic Cities that identifies several American cities that wouldn’t be where they are today without the existence of air conditioning. The article notes that some Sun Belt metros, like Miami, are 20 times more populous now than they were 70 years ago.
That got me thinking.
I did a quick rundown of U.S. Census data in three separate counts — 1890, 1950 and 2010. I wanted to see something very simple — the percentage of population in Northeastern and Midwestern states for each census, relative to the nation’s total population. The three censuses were selected for specific reasons — 1890 because it was at the outset of rapid immigration to American industrial cities; 1950 because it was at the outset of post-WWII migration from the Rust Belt to the Sun Belt (and the spread of the general use of air conditioning); 2010 as the most recent census. I think most people who pay attention to such matters generally know about this, but this is noteworthy:
|Northeast/Midwest Share of US Population||63.2%||55.1%||39.6%|
Yes, the share of US population in the Northeast and Midwest is 50% less than what it was 120 years ago.