June 18, 2010

Where Rhode Islanders Are Going

Marc Comtois

Forbes has an interactive map where you can look at where the people are moving. I found it via Ryan Streeter's post concerning the difference in migration between California in Texas (Texas is gaining, Cali ain't). Consider Rhode Island more a Cali than a Tay-has. Here's Providence County, for instance:


Kent, Washington (er..."South") and Newport counties are also in the red, so to speak. Unsurprisingly, it looks like a lot of retiring Rhode Islanders are heading to Florida, Arizona and maybe SoCal. Another group, probably more based on economic reasons, is headed to Georgia--particularly Atlanta--and the Carolinas.

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Not much of a surprise there!
Folks from everything I have lived - VT, NJ, PA, MA and RI....all tend to go to Florida. Some go to Arizona...and now some are going to SC, mostly Hilton Head area.

Let them roast. 70 degrees and a cool breeze is just fine by me...and no bugs! RI Rules.

I was out on the boat today and the wifey says" right about now is when the greenheads (biting flies) would be attacking us"......yeah, if we were in NJ..........or elsewhere.

Amazingly enough, I know many RI residents who moved to Maine - but that was years ago - the back to the landers, etc.

Posted by: Stuart at June 18, 2010 7:26 PM

From the politics of the more disgruntled folks here, I'm surprised we don't have red arrows out to Mississippi or Utah.

Posted by: rhody at June 18, 2010 9:14 PM


You said; “Unsurprisingly, it looks like a lot of retiring Rhode Islanders are heading to Florida, Arizona and maybe SoCal. Another group, probably more based on economic reasons, is headed to Georgia--particularly Atlanta--and the Carolinas.”

I’m part of that red line going to Oahu Hawaii and why?

There are tremendous state income tax retirement income exemptions and credit advantages; property tax on motor vehicles and boat tax advantages in other states verses no retirement, motor vehicles and boat tax advantages in Rhode Island. Rhode Island does not give any breaks to retired seniors living on fixed income compared to other states!

Also in most of the states you identify the sales tax is lower than in Rhode Island. In Hawaii the tourist transit taxes on hotel rooms, food and rental cars is $5 a day total cheaper than in Rhode Island.

Another perk in Hawaii is you are considered a senior citizen in Hawaii at age 50 and receive discounts up to 50% off list price both government and private commercial business and also there are permanent Hawaii resident discounts.

So why should I stay in Rhode Island retired and pay an extra $10,000 in taxes a year plus pay another $2,000 in winter heating bills and upcoming higher electric bills because of Deepwater Wind offshore wind farm?

Even with the so called future revamping of the State of Rhode Island tax codes there will be no senior citizen tax advantages to stay living in Rhode Island.

We retirees will continue to move out of state taking with us bank savings, investments, deposits and “critical knowledge base”.

Posted by: Ken at June 18, 2010 10:13 PM

Almost 1,000,000 people have moved from New England to North Carolina in the last ten years. It is almost impossible to find an accent near Chapel Hill, no one is from there anymore. This is severely changing their politics.

Being very fed up with life here, I had reason to call the sheriff in one of the smaller counties. I told him I was thinking of moving back, his reply? "Thas fine, just don't bring your attitudes with you".

Near Chapel Hill they are having a beaver dam, flooding, problem. They have decided to capture the male beavers and give them taxpayer funded vasectomies. I didn't believe this, so I Googled it. I found they were also doing this in Chelmsford MA. That's the city where you can't bring a candy cane to school because it is religious.

For all of that, the people in NC are so nice. People talk to each other in supermarket lines, making eye contact does not indicate hostility.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at June 19, 2010 8:52 AM

Oh, BTW. You can still buy a waterfront house around New Berne, with boat lift, for about $300,000. Try that here.

If start looking, most "rivers" east of the Piedmont are tidal and salty. Here they would be "bays".

Posted by: Warrington Faust at June 19, 2010 8:59 AM

I spent some time with that Forbes tool, even going as far as blowing it up full-screen on my 24-inch monitor so I could really play with it.

I guess Rhode Island is a 'red state' by at least one measure.

Posted by: mangeek at June 19, 2010 1:09 PM

We like to pretend that the expansion of government in this country is an arbitrary cultural phenomenon that could be reversed overnight if only we convinced 51% of the population to do so, but the reality is far more troubling. Our system of republican democracy itself is fundamentally set up in a way that causes government to multiply itself like bacteria in a jar, to break down every constitutional barrier through reinterpretation, and to occupy every field available to it.

If you dislike big government, then you dislike our very form of government. There is no doubt whatsoever that if we replicated our system 100 times over in a laboratory then it would reach essentially the same result as we have today in every case, no matter how "conservative" the population happened to be.

The only chance at keeping government in check is to make it far more difficult to pass a law than it is now, and to erect more Constitutional barriers and to make them so explicit that even the most skilled big-government propagandist could not distort their meaning the way the Constitution has been warped beyond all recognition today. Making the "no harm" principle the restrictive basis for every new law would be a good move in the right direction also.

Posted by: Dan at June 19, 2010 1:16 PM

>For all of that, the people in NC are so nice

We drove down and visited a lot of places in NC including New Bern. We could not find decent food, and the biggest indicator of all "do they have good bread" scored negatively. Beside that, it is all tree plantations and hot as hell in the summer.

But you are right about the politics changing. I suppose this will happen in SC eventually also...lots of folks moving down that way for the weather.

As to the "cheap" housing - Faust, you should check out coastal SC. You can buy a house that was 1.2 million three years ago for about 450K. Tens of thousands of homeowners are underwater, and many don't even know it since nothing is selling at any price. That allows banks and people to put their heads in the sand and pretend the stuff has value.

However, I would not trumpet those lower home prices as a good thing...lots of blood in the water.

You can get some great homes in NV and AZ cheap also......lots of people going broke there!

All in all, I think life is what you make it. Southerners can have gracious manners - but whether it is really more than skin deep is another matter.

Posted by: Stuart at June 19, 2010 4:04 PM


You are right on some points. About the food, depends on what you expect. There is a shortage of Italian restaurants (the same is true of Catholic Churches, you might have to go 50-75 miles to find one), but the pulled pork is good most everywhere. A "pig roast" is something people used to barbecues might not be prepared for. I avoid sea food. Since the first words I can remember are "hush up and eat your grits", I guess I can deal with it. For you, I recommend poke salad. (for those of you who only know it from "Poke Salad Annie", poke weed is toxic unless boiled, washed and re-boiled)

I have a farm in a Duplin County township (pop. 738, with only 5 names)house, barn and 47 acres. It hasn't been for sale in a few hundred years, so I don't know the exact value. But farm land typically sells at about $1,000 an acre. The house was only partially rebuilt after Sherman burned it. So, I would guess about $135,000.

New Bern is the original capital of NC, so there are some very nice antique waterfront homes.

Only a little father north, Hampton Roads, the Tidewater and Maryland's Eastern Shore, the Washington political tyes have made waterfront very expensive.

If I ever retire, the Tidewater is a likely candidate.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at June 19, 2010 5:04 PM

I always liked the Delmarva area - that is my ideal in some ways...rural, near the sea, etc.

However, I have to admit my "elite" side is getting used to urban pleasures! These include good food, places to stroll in town, etc.
A business associate I was having lunch with last week stated my preference when he said "Stuart, I don't think I could live anywhere that didn't have a couple colleges in the area".

I lived for years in extremely rural areas, some of them 20 miles from a decent grocery store. Although I am generally happy with just the company of myself, the spouse and the dog - I think in the end we are social creatures and like to be where things are happening.

Back to that web application about movement - most of it is quite evident - people moving to Florida! I'm surprised a lot of people seem to be moving to Atlanta! That is my idea of where I would not want to be.

Some of the RI movements might be related to the Military and the War College, etc....for instance, you will see a lot of people moving from RI to N. Virginia (right outside DC). That cannot be explained in normal migration.

I have a family member who lives in the Bay Area of Ca. - that is some fine living! Weather is pretty good all year round, lots of fresh fruits and veggie, views to die for, and nature galore. Too crowded for my taste, but my wife often mentions wanted to try a few years there. Alas, we have these things called responsibilities - kids, elderly parents, etc...such is life. I'd probably take her up on a couple years there if not.

Posted by: Stuart at June 19, 2010 8:43 PM

>If you dislike big government, then you dislike our very form of government..........

Well, at least we have confirmation that Dan does not like America! Try as I might, I can't relate his rant to the migration patterns between the states......

However, in theory I agree....but the problem is not government, IMHO. It is the selfishness of the people. No government can be better than the people it serves. There is little hope that the Constitution will be changed in such a manner as Dan suggests....but it just is possible that people might (highly unlikely, though).

Oh, well...we'll all be dead and gone before the next phase really gets underway. Meantime, we'll figure out where to move next.

Posted by: Stuart at June 19, 2010 8:49 PM

Warrington Faust,

If you are ever in Hawaii and ask for “poke salad” be prepared to be served cubed raw fish and or raw chopped crab, raw scallop, raw shrimp, raw squid, raw octopus, raw clam, raw oyster, raw sea urchin, raw sea asparagus marinated in soy sauce and sesame seed oil with raw onion, tomatoes, ground nut, sea salt, hot pepper flakes or Hawaiian pepper water, dried seaweed and green onion.

Poke is a Polynesian raw sea food daily staple which is sold in most all grocery store deli counters or stand alone stores on the street and also lunch wagons. No respectable Hawaiian dinner (Thanksgiving included) house or beach party fails to have poke on the menu.

Poke in Hawaii has made it on the menus of 5-star and 4-star hotel restaurants as well as most all neighborhood restaurants. There is an annual Poke Festival, international competition and recipe books by top chefs on making Poke.

Of all the varieties of poke I have surprised myself by enjoying a few of them purchasing a ½ pound once every so often as a refreshing snack while sitting on the beach or at the bar watching sunset with a cold beer or glass of wine!

Posted by: Ken at June 20, 2010 2:55 AM

"If I ever retire, the Tidewater is a likely candidate."

I dunno, Warrington. Aren't you worried about rising sea levels?

(Although, in view of his most recent real estate purchase, Al Gore clearly is not. Gosh, what are we supposed to think?! Should we be worried about melting glaciers and rising seas or not??)

Posted by: Monique at June 20, 2010 9:26 AM

>Should we be worried about melting glaciers and rising seas or not

not much to worry about in RI.
But the permanence of certain Real Estate is always in question. Take a trip to Captiva or Sannibel, FL and you will find out that sand bar has only existed for 1500 years. That's not very long! In fact, vast parts of it were turned into an Ocean inlet just a few shorts years ago.

In RI, though, we can think in terms of many centuries, as most property is quite far above sea level.

Posted by: Stuart at June 20, 2010 4:57 PM
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