An interesting anecdote before we begin: After spending a good part of my life overseas and around the world I’ve noticed that more and more ex-pats (ex-patriots) have given up on living in the United States and packed their bags in hopes of finding that special foreign locale that offers a decent infrastructure and an inexpensive standard of living.
For example, Panama is pretty hot right now as are Costa Rica and the Dominican Republican. In the European Union, Croatia is big and Bulgaria is right around the corner. So if you can deal with not-so-reliable internet and crazy bureaucracy, there’s a lot to be said for spending your days in a location like Coronado Beach, Panama.
What, you’re asking, does this have to do with living in the United States?
According to the latest census data and reported by Bloomberg.com, the same issues that are driving Americans out of the US (too expensive, too chaotic, too much crime and just plain too much) are driving citizens out of most of America’s big cities and into what is referred to as second-tier cities.
No longer is the impetus to find a good place to retire. The incentive in the 21st century is much more practical: find a place to survive. So it is that census data released late last month gives the 2013 population estimates for metro areas and the biggest increase in domestic migration from 2010 to 2013 drew newcomers to America’s second-tier cities. At the top of the list: Austin, Texas which is fast-eclipsing Seattle, Washington as the start-up capital of the US.
Certainly there’s something positive to be said about the top ten cities on the list but as Forbes.com points out, “Austin consistently sits atop Forbes’ annual list of the best cities for jobs and scores highly in other demographics rankings.” Not only that, but Austin, Texas is the third-fastest-growing city in the nation, attracting not only large numbers of college grads, but also immigrants and families with young children.
Coming from all over
Not to single out Austin over any of the other cities on the aforementioned list (but it does happen to be #1, and The Real Daily does happen to headquartered here), things are perceived to be so good in Austin that the city is pulling in young and old alike from most of the biggest hubs in the US. Notice I said “perceived” because already doom-and-gloomers are forecasting the saturation point in this and other second-tier cities which means that sooner or later it will be the third-tier cities that will appeal more and more to individuals searching for a more affordable way of life.
Keeping up is hard to do
Kudos to Austin, Raleigh NC and even San Antonio, Texas (which rank in the top three) But how does a city like Chicago or New York keep up? There’s no easy solution but for sure high taxes, mortgages that are out of reach and minimum wage jobs aren’t the answer.