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The Great Divorce: 3.7 Million Have Fled Counties That Voted For Biden

Photo by Robinson Greig / Unsplash

If you want to know what the country thinks about President Joe Biden’s agenda, look at how they vote. Not at the ballot box. But with their feet.

Earlier this month, the Census Bureau released data on “net domestic migration.” This tracks where people are moving between counties in the country. Last year, the 10 counties that gained the most through net migration had one thing in common – they were conservative counties that voted for Donald Trump in 2020.

At the other end of the spectrum, all 10 counties that saw the biggest negative net migration also have one thing in common – they all voted for Biden in 2020. That includes two blue counties located in red states – Miami-Dade County, Florida, (where Biden beat Trump 53%-46%), and Dallas County, Texas, (where Biden got 65% of the vote).

But this is just part of the story. People have been fleeing liberal counties in droves for each of the past three years.

I&I conducted a detailed analysis of the latest Census data, comparing migration trends and the 2020 election outcomes for all 3,144 counties. What we found is that Biden-voting counties lost a net of 3.7 million people (3,670,516 to be exact) to Trump-voting counties from 2020 through 2023. (That’s up by more than a million since we did this same analysis last year.)

In other words, in just the three years after Biden won his election, more than 1% of the population had packed up and moved out of counties that voted for him.

Here are some more details from our research:

  • Of the 555 counties that voted for Biden, 343 (or 62%) lost population since 2020. Of the 2,589 counties that voted for Trump, 1,726 (or 67%) gained population.
  • The 11 counties that had the biggest population declines over the past three years all voted for Biden. They lost a net total of 2 million people.
  • Of the 11 counties with the biggest gains in population, eight voted for Trump in 2020.  And the other three (Maricopa County in Arizona, and Williamson and Fort Bend counties in Texas) come with big asterisks.

Maricopa’s population boom is driven by people quitting far-left California counties. (And Biden barely “won” Maricopa, 50%-48%). Biden won Williamson County (which is just north of liberal Austin) by a mere 4,000 votes. And Fort Bend, Texas, is just outside the more liberal Harris County, home to Houston, which Biden took 56%-43% and which has lost more than 88,000 people since 2020.

What’s more, Trump counties saw gains in several states that lost population overall, and Biden counties saw declines in population-gaining states such as Texas and Florida.

  • In Texas, for example, 15 of the 22 counties that voted for Biden lost population from 2020 to 2023.
  • In Tennessee, only three counties suffered a negative net migration since Biden took office. All three of those counties voted for Biden (Davidson, Haywood, and Shelby).
  • In Utah, of the four counties that lost population to migration, three voted for Biden, including Salt Lake County, which had a net loss of 33,299.
  • In Ohio, the six counties with the biggest losses of population all voted for Biden.
  • In solidly blue New Jersey, only nine of the state’s 21 counties saw a net gain in population. And six of those nine voted for Trump.

(The complete data set is available here.)

While it should be abundantly clear that millions are abandoning liberal strongholds for more conservative ones, the implications of this mass migration are far from clear.

Is this a sign that the country is becoming more divided along ideological lines as people move out of areas where they feel unwelcome because of their political views?

Or is it simply a case of people moving to where jobs and opportunities are more plentiful? If that’s the case, do these people realize why liberal areas are so much worse than conservative ones?

Will all those people fleeing liberal enclaves bring their voting habits with them, turning solidly conservative counties increasingly blue? (As we’ve seen happen in many places.)

What is clear from this data is that the mass migration underway today presents a huge opportunity for conservatives, if they can figure out how to seize it.

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

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