April 21, 2009

Coastlines and Liberalism

On Saturday, my 92-year-old father and I went to a relative's wedding at a hotel named Shutters on the Beach at 1 Pico Blvd. in Santa Monica. It was about 95 degrees in the San Fernando Valley, but it was only 75 as we drove down Pico. The traffic kept getting worse and worse as I approached the beach, the coolest place in Southern California. We finally arrived, paid $14 to park, and had a very nice time.

Not surprisingly, land adjoining the beach in Santa Monica is so expensive that young couples can only afford to hold their wedding receptions there, not to a raise a family there. Indeed, Santa Monica as whole, with its exquisite weather, is unaffordable by all but the wealthiest young families. There just isn't a large supply of land when you start at 1 Pico Blvd., you can only drive in directions covering 180 degrees. The other 180 degrees are underneath the Pacific Ocean.

Also, as my theory of Affordable Family Formation would predict, Santa Monica is famously liberal -- e.g., the joke about it being the People's Republic of Santa Monica. Jane Fonda's ex-husband Tom Hayden represented the Santa Monica area in the state legislature for 18 years. Republican "family values" campaign themes don't go over big in Santa Monica. The people who raise kids in Santa Monica can afford to insulate them with private schools, tutors, and all the rest. They don't need politicians' help in making it a little easier to raise their kids.

Another famous example of the interrelationship between coastlines, density, and liberalism is found within the city of Chicago. In the city, population density increases exponentially as you approach the lakefront. In time-honored Chicago political jargon, the voters who live in that narrow strip of high-rises are known as "Lakefront Liberals."

I might add, however, that America's Gulf Coast is largely an exception to the pattern of liberalism increasing as you approach the coasts, which works well for the Pacific, the Great Lakes, and much of the Atlantic.

I think the difference is that the Gulf Coast doesn't have as many major urban areas set directly on the ocean, perhaps due to danger from hurricanes. For example, Galveston, a classic seafront city, was obliterated by a hurricane in 1900, killing 6,000. So, the population center of the Texas coastal region moved 45 miles inland (and 45 crucial feet above sea level) to Houston. So, Houston can expand 45 miles in any direction before its exurbs run into saltwater. Hence, Houston has low housing prices and conservative voters.

Also, before air conditioning, the climate was so deplorable for four months of the year along the Gulf Coast that it discouraged urbanization. (British government employees once got the same tropical hardship pay for manning the British consulate in Houston as they did for working in Lagos, Nigeria.)

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

55 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm not entirely convinced. When a city is located on a coast, the amount of land available for expansion is reduced by a factor which is typically close to 2. This isn't all that much! In order to occupy the same amount of land, a coastal city only needs to expand 1.4 times further than the inland city.

Is this really a big enough difference to explain what you think it explains?

Reg C├Žsar said...

Florida doesn't fit this model, except perhaps in the very southeast, which isn't exactly America anymore. Or Key West...

Orlando is the only major city built inland. Jacksonville and Ft Myers are fairly conservative, yet close to the sea. The many barrier islands may be more liberal, but they range from Santa Monica-expensive like Palm Beach, to cheap-enough-for-artists like Sanibel.

The artsy Gulf towns are (old) Sarasota and (new) Naples. The latter, while not outrageously rich, suffers from having no lower-middle or working class, and few children or minorities. Major papers have covered their severe shortage of supermarket checkout clerks. But Naples hardly differs geographically from nearby more-family-friendly towns.

Navy towns like Jacksonville, Norfolk and San Diego are (unsurprisingly) a lot squarer than other coastal towns. Hampton Roads is as convoluted as New York Harbor; every time you turn around, you get your feet wet in some river or channel. So why isn't Norfolk the Santa Monica of the East?

Ronduck said...

The downside to this is that the liberals cash out of their expensive houses, move to the rich part of a conservative area and end up driving out the conservatives who live there.

Anonymous said...

Steve's theory even fits with Detroit. One of the most liberal and wealthy suburbs of Detroit is Grosse Pointe, which lies on Lake St. Clair (very 2d like Hyde Park in Chicago, with crime ridden Detroit directly to the west)

Truth(er) said...

Coastlines make for beautiful places to live, not just barriers against expansion. People gravitate toward them, not away from them...so the stark contrast between what people see on the coast and what they see 1.4 times inland is much greater than physical dimensions.

So is the status difference.

This is not like Houston, where flat is flat.

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

I might add, however, that America's Gulf Coast is largely an exception to the pattern of liberalism increasing as you approach the coasts, which works well for the Pacific, the Great Lakes, and much of the Atlantic.The Gulf Coast beaches are also the best in the continental US by far, in my experience. Besides the lack of proximity to cities it's also hot and humid as hell in the summer. Those large-ish cities that are on the Gulf (N'Awlins, Mobile) are also too close to the Mississippi River to have nice beaches.

Luke Lea said...

And yet the beaches are beautiful along the "Red-neck Riviera." There must be more to it than that.

Chuck said...

does this apply to mountainous regions as well? small villages in colorado, idaho, new mexico, and other western states have experienced the same trend.

i think we can expand your theory to include anything that SWPL types believe makes them trendy such as beach life and winter sports.

Anonymous said...

Steve
Interesting post. Are you ever going to describe in more detail the political leanings of your own family? What do THEY think of your blog?

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

The downside to this is that the liberals cash out of their expensive houses, move to the rich part of a conservative area and end up driving out the conservatives who live there.White conservatives need to grow a pair.

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

does this apply to mountainous regions as well? small villages in colorado, idaho, new mexico, and other western states have experienced the same trend.In mountain towns income rises with proximity to the mountains. Proximity also brings higher elevation and frequently a better water supply, meaning more natural fauna.

robert61 said...

So the causal link between coastal wealth and liberalism, reading between the lines, is pure status signaling. I.e., coastal liberals can afford to espouse impractical universal values because they can insulate themselves from their values' negative effects.

As a status game strategy, this makes a lot of sense, though it has some obvious downsides. You can't clear obviously insane people from commercial areas, for example, and your local high school has a problem with underclass gangs and provides lavish daycare for teenage mothers.

These are all things I've observed when visiting my brother in Santa Barbara, which despite its reputation for relative conservatism seems pretty SWPLy to me. I guess the point, in status terms, is that if you are really successful, the bums on State St are only a minor irritant, the expense of free daycare for Hispanic teen mothers is negligible, and your kids don't go to the high school, so the gangbangers don't affect you. If you're not so successful, you won't be so quick to have kids.

Yet it seems kind of amazing that we go along with this status system in such numbers. Even if you're rich, the more lunatic street people are dangerous and, from a more empathic standpoint, obviously in need of help. And even in Santa Barbara, lots of taxpaying pillar-of-society types send their kids to the public high school, which means they're feeling the effects of the dysfunctional underclass behavior they're tolerating (gangs) and unwittingly promoting (teen pregnancy). How can so many put up with so much for so little benefit?

Anonymous said...

Steve,

there are some pretty glaring exceptions to your theory that expensive coastal areas are liberal - these exceptions are right in your own back yard.

Famously, Newport Beach is very conservative. A family size house in the good parts of Manhattan Beach will still set you back $3 million even today, after the crash.

Manhattan Beach is also very conservative when compared to Santa Monica.

I think that it is fair to say that the drive for status will lead people to do all sorts of self-destructive, or even suicidal things.

Anthropologists have found evidence of this even in primitive tribes, untouched by exposure to the modern world. Google potlatch

As a parent, it is painful for me to say this, but some modern groups in America have a status system that confers status on those that sacrifice their children to a noble cause.

For example, many members of the republican party believe that parents who send their sons in to dangerous combat roles in the military deserve praise and status, especially if the sons get killed.

Similarly, many members of the democratic party believe that parents that send their kids in to dangerous situations in an effort to help minorities in the ghetto deserve praise and status.

In both cases, the urge to sacrifice the interests of your own safety and the safety of your own children is very strong.

The parents of Santa Monica choose to subject their children to violent homeless people (one homeless person murdered someone by the SM pier last year) as a way of demonstrating the moral superiority of people in SM over their more conservative status rivals.

I believe that there is no way to eliminate the status game - each sub community channels it in a different way.

In Santa Monica, status is largely determined by demonstrated caring and compassion towards liberal causes.

In Manhattan Beach, status is largely determined by how good your school age sons are in sports.

Manhattan Beach is more expensive than SM - houses in the sand section of Manhattan Beach routinely sell for $3 million (even today after the crash) and these are houses on four thousand square foot lots

Steve you should spend less time in SM and more time in Manhattan Beach. Manhattan Beach may be the coastal town in CA where a greater percentage of the population believes in HBD than any other. All of the government policies and the policies of the voluntary associations are done in accordance with HBD.

Steve Sailer said...

From Wikipedia's article on Manhattan Beach:

"In the 2000 presidential election, the Republican candidate, George W. Bush, narrowly defeated the Democratic candidate, Al Gore, with 48% to 47% of the city’s vote.[29] In the 2004 presidential election, the Democratic candidate, John Kerry, defeated the Republican candidate, President George W. Bush, with 52% to 47% of the city's vote. [30] In the 2008 presidential election, the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama, defeated the Republican candidate, John McCain, with 57% to 42% of the city's vote. [31]"

Anonymous said...

The affinity of MB residents to HBD is demonstrated partially by the voting patterns (much more heavily republican than nearby Hermosa, Venice, Marina Del Rey, or SM)

Also - the MB schools take steps to keep the number of NAMs very low - and the police have an aggressive enforcement policy.

Most wealthy in Los Angeles demonstrate status by adherence to liberal dogma, but MB is different partially because a number of the most visible wealthy people in the community are either professional basketball players or football players, or they are self-made business people.

Steve, you are probably aware that many young couples in Santa Monica that can't afford a house in SM move to the West Valley (Tarzana, Sherman Oaks, etc) what you may not be aware of is that young couples that can afford $3 or $4 million for a house but who want to raise their kids with more traditional values, in America the way it was in the 1950's will often move to Manhattan Beach.

My point is that there are some young affluent successful couples that don't see the need to demonstrate status by living in SM - they can do what is best for themselves and their children by living in MB.

Bill said...

In Seattle, our "coast" is the lakeshore, where Bill Gates, Paul Allen and other billionaires live. However, some of Washington's most economically depressed communities are on the Pacific coast, where it is gray, wet and cold pretty much all year.

I suspect that coasts are wealthy mainly in Mediterranean/subtropical climates. Personally, I love the wet, cold coasts of the northern Pacific and Atlantic, but that's because I grew up in that environment -- the Pacific NW and Brittany to be precise.

Northwest American and Northern European beaches are generally home to quaint, working class towns. I loved the beaches in Wales and Ireland, where one could enjoy the clean wind and rain for a while, then stop in a pub for some cheap haddock fish and chips and a beer. Except for the Welsh and Irish-speaking natives, I felt right at home. However, I don't think your Santa Monica millionaires would shell out too much for that lifestyle.

John Mansfield said...

I don't know much about Manhattan Beach, but most of what is left of the area's military aerospace industry is located in that corner of the county.

dearieme said...

Some of the more expensive bits of Britain are recognisable as bits the Romans favoured. So for the USA, just ask yourself "Where would the Romans have settled had they been better sailors?"

Anonymous said...

Bill

Thank you for clearing up a mystery for me -

I was wondering why the ocean front land in Oregon and Washington state was so inexpensive.

I guess the prive of ocean front land is determined partially by how many months a year it is pleasant to be right at the ocean.

I would put forth the followint hypothesis

In La Jolla, being right next to the ocean is superb ten months a year, In Santa Monica nine months a year, Carmel seven months a year. Once you get North of San Francisco, you only want to be at the ocean six months a year or less, and by the time you get to the Pacific ocean near Seattle you are down to three months a year

So it is very logical for a young person with a family who can afford to live anywhere in the USA to choose to raise his family on the beach in La Jolla, but downright crazy for him to raise his family on the beach in Washington State

Anonymous said...

Of course the theory of affordable family formation is pretty clearly true. The implication is that if I as a father want my sons to produce grandchildren for me as soon after college as possible, I should steer them to attend certain colleges and not others.

for example, many of the students that get out of Columbia stay in Manhattan - and don't have children of their own until more than ten years after graduation from college

If, instead of sending my sons to Columbia I send them to UT Austin (still a very fine school) they are likely to settle in Dallas, Austin, or Houston, and they are likely to get married younger and have children younger.

It is all very clear to me that the rules of affordable family formation should be kept in mind before selecting an undergraduate college

But how does the parental ability to buy kids a family sized house factor in to this? If someone buys each of their sons a house in Santa Monica as a college graduation present, does that impact the age of marriage, and age at which they first have kids? My instinct would say yes.

Any evidence that this is in fact true?

If so, it seems that someone with financial means that believes strongly in HBD has two choices

(1) try to get his sons to settle in a low cost city

(2) buy his sons four bedroom houses in a high cost city like santa monica upon their graduation from college

Anonymous said...

By the way Steve, the next time you visit Santa Monica you should consider taking a quick stroll on La Mesa (just North of San Vicente)

La Mesa is the hidden jewel of Santa Monica - the most beautiful tree shaded and family friendly street in the city. You will not be disappointed.

La mesa is about a thousand times better for families than the neighborhood around Shutters and the pier

Ronduck said...

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

White conservatives need to grow a pair.x

I agree, but my comment was about the nearby city of Scottsdale, Az. Scottsdale used to have a conservative congressman named JD Hayworth, who in his final campaign for office ran ads opposing illegal immigration. He lost to a Democrat, and part of that is due to the influx of Northerners moving to Scottsdale and either buying existing homes or buying new homes on the edge of the city in former desert areas. A friend of mine married the daughter of one of the transplants, and his in-laws were career postal workers who had cashed out their house in NYC and moved to a safe area of Scottsdale about 20 years ago. His in-laws are Italian, Catholic, racist, and yet probably registered Democrats judging by the political opinions of their daughter. So even if the original conservatives are still there, they end up being outnumbered by Democrats moving in from up North.

If my memory serves me Barry Goldwater lived in nearby Paradise Valley, although I could be wrong. Goldwater's family still lives in the area and even has a local bank named after them.

Black Sea said...

Older cities are generally more expensive than newer ones, and older cities are predominantly on the coasts.

I agree with the cheap land for expansion factor, but I think the old vs. new city (and the status connotations) are also in play.

Graham said...

"I loved the beaches in Wales and Ireland, where one could enjoy the clean wind and rain for a while, then stop in a pub for some cheap haddock fish and chips and a beer. Except for the Welsh and Irish-speaking natives, I felt right at home. However, I don't think your Santa Monica millionaires would shell out too much for that lifestyle."

Don't spoil it by telling everyone... actually the weather in North Wales (we go to the Harlech area, known as Ardudwy, a lot) is better than you think. I rate it as one of the most beautiful places in the world. Vast beaches, unspoilt mountain walking, peace and quiet, some decent pubs if you know where to look. Not to mention mediaeval castles, preserved steam railways, etc. About 5 hours drive from London, taking it reasonably easy.

Dutch Boy said...

My wife grew up in Santa Monica and remembers that the local pariahs were the Republican family that lived down the block.

DCS said...

You can consider another kind of geographical feature that goes with liberalism: mountains. Visit the People's Republics of Boulder or Vermont and see what I mean.

John Seiler said...

It isn't just Newport Beach, but all of coastal Orange County (except Laguna Beach) that is "conservative" (whatever that means nowadays) and votes Republican. Although this is starting to change. And one should remember that 2008 was a year of global revulsion against Bush-McCain; normally the Republican vote is higher.

Some numbers from the 2008 plebescite:
Laguna Beach, 35% McCain, 62% Obama.
But:
Huntington Beach, 52% McCain, 45% Obama.
San Clemente, 55% McCain, 41 Obama.

Data beginning on p.105 here:
http://www.ocvote.com/live/gen2008/sov.pdf

John Seiler said...

Two more reasons why the Gulf Coast is conservative:

1) It is in the South. There's still some Johnny Reb left in the locals.

2) A lot of Northern Snowbirds, mostly middle-class retirees, move down there. They obviously are well off and so tend to vote conservative.

Baba said...

Gawker has an interesting piece today on business mogul Haim Saban, and his connection to the Harman/AIPAC spying affair.

http://gawker.com/5222987/meet-suspected-israeli-operative-haim-saban

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

some modern groups in America have a status system that confers status on those that sacrifice their children to a noble cause. For example, many members of the republican party believe that parents who send their sons in to dangerous combat roles in the military deserve praise and status, especially if the sons get killed.


So what we really should do is deny praise to these families and ostracize them for putting their children in harms way. No danger to the country in doing that now, is there?

Military service is a group survival strategy. Those who serve in the military are demonstrating their commitment to the group. Praise is about the only worthwhile compensation they ever get because the monetary compensation sucks.

Of course the real reason for not serving in the military is that America is no longer an identifiable "group," just a middle eastern bazaar. No one dies for a middle eastern bazaar.

albertosaurus said...

San Francisco is an approximate square. It has the Pacific to the west. The Bay to the east and the Golden Gate to the north.

Only Mont-Saint-Michel (at high tide) has more water around it.

If you theory is correct it would suggest that SF would be very liberal. I'll have to look into that.

Anonymous said...

Santa Monica changed fairly recently. It was my Republican cousin and SM mayor Chris Emerson Reed who ultimately lost out to the Tom Hayden school of thought. She was popular and hard working, but the wrong sort kept on moving in. SM remains a delightful place, but certainly nothing like what it was before the 60's ruined everything.
My branch of the family are now in Pebble Beach: now there's a place that has kept itself sane.

Anonymous said...

I honestly (not snarkily) don't get the common refrain about the hot weather. 99 degrees with 89 percent humidity is much preferable (and less deadly) than sub-freezing temperatures. Heck, I don't see how people survive when it dips below 75.

Anonymous said...

Steve,

Are you saying that high housing prices causes political liberalism? And/or having children causes political conservatism?

josh said...

The best beach...EVER! Well at least in Chicago. That wopuld be Rainbow Beach in south shore. A beautiful neighborhood,all black now.

Anonymous said...

Victorian dance hall?

Stopped Clock said...

{pedantry}

99F with 89% humidity works out to a heat index of 168 degrees Fahrenheit, actually ... not exactly good beach weather.

{/pedantry}

Really, weather is a matter of taste. You'll find people in Minnesota who love it there, and people who wish they could move to Florida. And believe it or not you can find people living in Florida who wish their kids had snow to play in and that they didn't have to constantly worry about thunderstorms and hurricanes.

Steve Sailer said...

"I was wondering why the ocean front land in Oregon and Washington state was so inexpensive."

Right. The Pacific is a relatively cool ocean at each latitude, so, from Point Concepcion (west of Santa Barbara) south, you'd ideally want to live as close to the ocean as possible (assuming you like sunshine and temperatures in the 70s most days). North of Santa Cruz, the coast is foggy and damp, especially in summer, so you want to live in the first inland valley (e.g., Silicon Valley). By the time you get to Oregon, you might want to live well inland on the edge of the desert (Bend).

Truth said...

"Steve you should spend less time in SM and more time in Manhattan Beach."

He's right Steve, a man on your level really should be spending his time with a higher level of snotty rich young people who don't respect him.

Anonymous said...

So that explains why Russia was so left wing, and Cuba and N Korea - and and and China before 1990

Anonymous said...

unspoilt mountain walking, peace and quiet, some decent pubs if you know where to look. Not to mention mediaeval castles, preserved steam railways, etc.

Almost all represent implicitly white activities. Non-whites have zero interest in most of these things, that should help to keep the area safe for a while longer. Though one day the government may take notice of this and decide to enforce a bit of diversity on the steam railways etc.

James said...

I think a better way to put this point is that the coastlines are linear, but the plains are planar. You can only move in one dimension on the coastline, but two in the plains.

Anonymous said...

The Affordable Family Formation theory is self-evidently stupid.

Are Republican policies designed to assuage worries of middle class Americans who don't know if they can afford to have children?

Let's say I'm a 25-year-old considering marrying, buying a house, and having children, but want some economic security before doing so.

Why would I support the party that's flooding the country with illegal labor competition, trying to dismantle my union, exposing me to foreign competition by pushing trade pacts, and reducing tax burdens on the wealthy?

A better answer than the "family values" idea is that in states like Utah where family formation is affordable and inequality is relatively low, people don't feel as much economic insecurity, and hence don't depend on Democrats to preserve their middle class lifestyle. With less economic issues on the table, cultural issues can then play a larger role.

coldequation said...

As for the conservatism of the gulf coast goes, at least in Houston the coastal areas are miserable. They're swampy and even more humid than the rest of the area.

The desirable real estate, like River Oaks, is 50 or more miles from the coast.

Big Bill said...

There is something about Welsh hymns ... and The Men of Harlech:

http://www.rorkesdriftvc.com/myths/menofharlech.mp3

Anonymous said...

"Truth" posted the below":

"Steve you should spend less time in SM and more time in Manhattan Beach."

He's right Steve, a man on your level really should be spending his time with a higher level of snotty rich young people who don't respect him.
_________

The point is that Steve's views might get a fair hearing in MB but would get Steve crucified in SM.

Residents of MB generally believe in HBD - they fight like heck to keep their public schools free of NAMs and as a result they have just about the best public schools in the metroplex

They ask the police to stop the cars of most NAMs entering the city - the police do their best, in line with the dictates of the State and Federal government.

If you haven't spent time in Manhattan Beach, don't stereotype it as another liberal place like Santa Monica - it is not

ironrailsironweights said...

I guess the price of ocean front land is determined partially by how many months a year it is pleasant to be right at the ocean.That may not apply on the Atlantic Coast. Oceanfront property in locations like Cape Cod, the Hamptons, Martha's Vineyard and Bar Harbor is wildly expensive despite a short beach-going season. And some warmer spots such as Myrtle Beach are distinctly downscale.

Peter

Laura said...

I agree with the other commentators that the extra factor of 2 can't explain much. Especially since cities differ by more than a factor of two when it comes to population, income opportunities, etc. Also, what constitutes an acceptable middle class abode varies by more than a factor of two as well (e.g. in cities a two bedroom condo is a fine starter home, while in the suburbs a three bedroom detached house is expected).

There is something to your idea that the value of land is an issue, I just don't buy that being limited by water is the main driver of land prices.

Rather than land quantity being the problem, I bet that variation in land quality matters more. The more the variation, the more sense it makes to wait another ten years to start a family so that you can afford a really nice house. Say in Texas the difference between the houses you can afford at 25 and at 35 is a guest bedroom and a marble bathtub; you don't really have a serious reason to wait. But in California the difference involves smog concentrations and truly soul moving view - waiting starts to feel like the responsible thing to do.

Slampo said...

Maybe it's been a while since you've been to Houston, but these days it's a bit of a stretch to say Houston has "conservative voters" (although it remains culturally conservative, and housing's still cheap ... and getting cheaper!). Houston, the city itself, has been electing liberal Democrats in its non-partisan elections for many years, and there's at least an outside chance that it could elect a gay woman as mayor later this year. Harris County itself and the farther 'burbs remain solidly Republican, but countywide the trend is Democratic and there's a good chance that the Ds will soon take all countywide offices. This is primarily due to your, y'know, Hispanic-ization thing. Bush didn't help, either.

Laura said...

Land quality variation also explains why these places tend to go Democratic - "variation" being also known as "inequality".

Truth said...

"If you haven't spent time in Manhattan Beach, don't stereotype it as another liberal place like Santa Monica - it is not"

I never said that it was liberal; I said that it was snotty and pretentious, and full of people who would rather wiper their asses with a prickly-pear cactus than cohort with a pudgy, (sorry Steve-O) aging internet blogger who makes eighty-grand a year and his (presumably) non-Stepford looking wife and kids.

testing99 said...

Anon --

Dems are the party of SWPL elites who crush the middle/working classes. See Barack Obama, "Green" carbon taxes, moving all production off-shore, ending Detroit (GM is going to bankruptcy, defaulting on payments and laying off workers for the Summer). Dems want even more Illegal Immigration than McCain, who faces a primary challenger.

SWPL yuppies, Women, gays, Blacks, Hispanics all have a common enemy: the White working/middle class. This has been a feature of elite coalitions since the beginning. Elites were first Federalists, then Whigs, then split among both Dems and Republicans during and after the Civil War, then Dems during Wilson, Reps during Harding-Hoover, then Dem, with interludes for Truman, reliably ever since.

Lost in Steve's Affordable Family analysis is the degree which government spending, specifically DEFENSE SPENDING which is the ONLY spending that goes to the White Working/Middle Class, plays into Affordable Family Formation.

High paying jobs in Aerospace kept California reliably Republican for decades, and were devastated by Clinton's gutting of the Defense Budget for Midnight Basketball and other Elite-Non-White alliance spending.

Even with land in relatively short supply, homeowners could afford housing due to the huge Aerospace industry with high paying jobs from engineering to machinists. Which then fed civilian Aerospace such as McDonnel-Douglas, which ceased production in the Long Beach plant shortly after Clinton's cuts gutted the Aerospace industry.

Texas meanwhile also had relatively HIGH PAYING JOBS. Even the cheapest land means nothing if there are no wages there: most people abjure living in dirt cheap Wyoming or Montana because there is no real pay there.

Texas oil/gas, computer, and remnants of aerospace industry leave it relatively well diversified and with a reservoir of relatively good paying jobs. California unemployment is currently around 11.2% or so, while that of Texas is 6.7%, and Utah is even lower at 5.2%. Utah also has a diversified economy with oil, gas, tech, and bio-med industries.

The Mountain West is GENERALLY lower, Wyoming is 4.5% (Stats here. However, there is no listing I see for wage levels which does make a huge difference, as does obvious bets on wage level stability (boom-bust is a bad place to raise children).

I think Steve's basic outline is sound, but needs refinement to account for wages, stability of same, expected future value (expectation of same), along with land prices/availability.

Robert said...

So Jack Tripper and the gals were just really well paid Communists?

Polistra said...

I wonder if there's something more basic and neurological at work here. In my experience, people who truly enjoy looking at sand, rocks, and trees tend to be leftists, while people who truly enjoy looking at streets and buildings tend to be non-leftists. Given that every human taste, tendency and talent is roughly half innate, perhaps the genetic mix for "sand-lover" correlates with the genetic mix for political leftism?

Anonymous said...

Minneapolis St Paul goes against your theory. Its a pretty liberal area. Always has been.