Russell Blair wrote an article for the Hartford Courant about the residents’ views about living in Connecticut that makes it clear that the high tax and Democrat-controlled state is poorly governed.
The Connecticut Economic Resource Center surveyed state residents and found that 47% of them said they plan to leave the state within the next five years! It also revealed that only 44% agreed that Connecticut was a good place to live and raise a family.
A Gallup poll in 2016 had found that 46% of Connecticut residents said they would like to leave the state given the opportunity. At that time, the state was tied with the high-tax state of New Jersey in that statistic as the state with the most residents desirous of exodus.
The U.S. Census Bureau believes the state lost 1,215 residents in the year following 1 July 2017. It was one of 9 states with a population loss in that one-year period. The other population losers were New York, Illinois, West Virginia, Louisiana, Hawaii, Mississippi, Alaska, and Wyoming. Puerto Rico was another loser. Note that this period was one of general excellent economic growth in the United States.
A state report from May 2017 says that Connecticut residents have been leaving the state in accelerating numbers since the Great Recession. A poll in October 2017 noted that the percentage of people with incomes above $150,000 a year considering a move to another state was much higher than the that from the population as a whole.
Connecticut has recovered only 80.8% of the jobs lost in the Great Recession, making it one of a very few states which has not recovered all of the jobs lost.
West Virginia and Wyoming lost many jobs thanks to the anti-coal policies of the Obama administration. The refusal to allow oil and gas developments on federally owned lands made it impossible for many new jobs in that industry to be developed in Wyoming and Alaska. The Obama policies suppressing the construction of pipelines hurt both West Virginia and Wyoming as potential oil and gas producers. Wyoming and Alaska are hurt by excessive federal land ownership. Anti-mining rulings by the federal government have prevented much mining activity in Alaska.
The status of freedom in the states is another big factor in economic growth of a state and in the general happiness of state residents. The Cato Institute Ranking of Freedom in the States ranks Connecticut #33, New York #50, Illinois #35, New Jersey #47, West Virginia #34, Louisiana #30, Mississippi #40, Wyoming #38, Alaska #15, and Hawaii #49. Only the Alaska rating suggests that a lack of freedom in the state and local governments in that state is not a factor in its loss of population.
Another factor that hurts a state in population retention and growth is the quality of K-12 education adjusted for student hetergeneity and expenditures adjusted for the cost of living, which people have not been able to look-up until recently, but they do sense it. A Cato Institute Policy Analysis of 13 November 2018 by Liebowitz and Kelly has provided such an analysis recently, though it is little known. In their ranking of the 50 states and DC, Connecticut ranks 38.
Consider the other recent population losers and their rankings in the Cato Institute K-12 education analysis: New York ranks 46, Illinois ranks 40, West Virginia is 51, Louisiana is 47, Hawaii is 11, Mississippi is 25, Alaska is 48, and Wyoming is 37. An expensive and poor job of educating children in a state will have a strong job suppression effect and make a state a poor place for a family to raise children. Of the states losing population, only Hawaii is doing a good job of educating children. Mississippi is very average, but it has a bad reputation as a result of irrational ratings with widespread use such as the U.S. News & World Report rating. When a state does a poor and inefficient job of educating children, it is likely to do a poor and inefficient job of all other aspects of governance.
The lesson for Connecticut and the other population losers is that poor governance has a very significant effect on people in pursuit of their happiness. High taxes, poor education for children, excessive and abusive business regulation, the general state of freedom, and high rates of violence and theft are very effective in creating an unhappy populace.
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