What region of the country is going to grow in influence and power?
Hint: It’s not in the states that dominated much of the attention in last year’s election.
Joel Kotkin, a presidential fellow in urban futures at Chapman University and a City Journal contributing editor, has authored a report published by the Manhattan Institute. It identifies four growth corridors in the United States. They are the Great Plains states, the “third coast” along the Gulf region, the Southeast manufacturing belt and the Intermountain West.
In other words, red states with business-friendly laws and policies. These areas don’t share a lot in common except low costs, strong business climates and population growth — mainly the kind that emphasizes families and children.
In fact, while the rest of the nation grew 7 percent since the turn of the century, the Intermountain West grew 20 percent, the “third coast” 14 percent, great plains more than 14 percent and the Southeast 13 percent. (Read the report by clicking here.)
In a related op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Kotkin noted that, “Raleigh, Austin, Denver and Salt Lake City have all become high-tech hubs.”
Of the Intermountain region, his report says, “Perhaps none of our corridors has better prospects than the Intermountain West region. It has the advantages of a well-educated and growing population, as well as enormous natural resources. …
“Over the past ten years, the Intermountain West has had the highest growth in jobs of any area—some 14.7 percent, more than three times the national average. … It has consistently showed the greatest growth of any region in terms of high-tech jobs.”
Kotkin sees the region’s growth prospects as remaining strong for several decades.
His conclusions are hardly startling for anyone who has watched demographic shifts and economic indicators. Utah and its metropolitan areas have been cited by a number of publications as good places to do business. What all of this means in terms of political changes and future influence is less clear.
As the report notes, “To be sure, New York, Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Chicago will remain the country’s leading metropolitan agglomerations for the foreseeable future. But an important urban story of the coming decades will be the emergence of interior metropolitan areas …”
That story will be interesting to watch as it unfolds.