For decades, much of the country’s economic power was centered in the Northeast. But that’s no longer the case.
The Southeast is now contributing more to U.S. GDP than its neighbor to the north, according to a new report from Bloomberg. More and more businesses are moving to states in the area, thus creating more jobs and pushing up home prices. It’s led to what Bloomberg has termed “the New New South.”
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“The South has always been reinventing itself,” the economic historian Gavin Wright told Bloomberg. “Every generation seems to have its ‘New South.’”
Since the pandemic began, the Southeast has simply exploded with opportunity: Florida, Texas, Georgia, Tennessee, and North and South Carolina are experiencing massive growth. In 2020 and 2021, the region experienced a boost of $100 billion in new income, while the Northeast lost about $60 billion, according to a Bloomberg analysis of IRS data. It’s also home to 10 of the 15 fastest-growing cities in the country, and more than two-thirds of all U.S. job growth since 2020 has happened there.
In total, 2.2 million people have moved to the Southeast in the past two years. (For reference, that’s about how many people live in Houston.) They—and the businesses that employ them—have been attracted by factors like the warmer weather, the cheaper housing, and the lower taxes.
“You could throw a dart anywhere at a map of the South and hit somewhere booming,” the economic consultant Mark Vitner told Bloomberg.
Of course, the influx of people brings changes to communities. In just one example, gentrification is raising home prices and pushing out longstanding residents. In Nocatee, Florida, the median sales price of a single-family home has gone up 62 percent in just three years, according to Redfin data cited by Bloomberg. And Maurice Washington of Charleston, South Carolina, said the rising prices have pushed out many Black citizens. When he joined the town’s city council in 1990, the population was 42 percent Black residents. Now it’s just 20 percent.
Still, the trend of people moving in from the Northeast or out West doesn’t show any signs of slowing down, meaning the Southeast will continue to experience these shifts—both the good and the bad.