Bryan Caplan  

Who Wants to Move to Minnesota?

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In the comments, Steve Sailer cites:
Moynihan's Law of Proximity to the Canadian Border: on just about any socially positive measure, there is a positive correlation between a state's ranking and it's distance from the Canadian border: e.g., Minnesota is usually in the top ten states on anything.
Not in population, where it's only #21.  And with no offense to my readers frm Minnesota, I have to ask Steve: If Minnesota's so great, why don't you move there?  Even if Steve's got special circumstances, why aren't millions of other Americans flooding into this promised land?  I grant that weather's a factor, but here are two of comparable importance:

1. Minnesota's high rankings are largely arithmetic, not causal.  Whites have above-average performance, and Minnesota's over 85% white (non-Hispanic), so Minnesota has above-average performance.  But this doesn't mean that whites who move to Minnesota enjoy a much higher quality of life than they would in their current state.

2. Minnesota is, well, boring.  And a big part of the reason is lack of immigration to bring varied food, entertainment, and yes - diversity.

Comments and Sharing

COMMENTS (40 to date)
tim writes:

I take great offense and frankly you have your facts wrong. We have quite a lot of immigration to the state (large hmong, indian, pakistani, and latino populations) and we have incredible food and micro breweries including the only Sake distillery outside of Japan (which I just came from). We also have an incredibly diverse economy.

One advantage of the weather? It keeps clueless people like you away from the state.

TimG writes:

So if we import 10s of millions of low skill Hispanics, what does that mean, arithmetically, for the US?

PS Your kidding yourself if you think points 1 or 2 are even remotely comparable to the weather.

Lol Bryan

I'm ambivalent about immigration. But Steve Sailer can use your post as proof of his position. The 'diversity' can be easily traded for lesser crime, social dysfunction, civic-mindedness etc etc.
Finland may be boring, but I'd rather be boring than diverse and dealing with Sharia courts (like the UK). Granted that immigration to the US is not as bad as the one to Europe.

geckonomist writes:

"why aren't millions of other Americans flooding into this promised land? "

Perhaps they are just irrational voters?

maybe someone could write a book about that.

Josh W. writes:


I think you miss the point about voters' anti-market bias.

agnostic writes:

"Minnesota is, well, boring. And a big part of the reason is lack of immigration to bring varied food, entertainment, and yes - diversity."

When we see two places, one teeming with attendees and panhandlers, the other with low turn-out and no panhandlers, what do we conclude? That the vibrant diversity of panhandlers was part of the allure of the sought-after place? Or that panhandlers follow the excitement that would exist without them?

When we see two parties, one packed with cool people plus some nerds who managed to crash it, and another with no turn-out and where no crashers even thought to show up, what do we conclude? That the nerds were part of the bustling party's appeal? Or that they go wherever some other group has already set up a cool party?

The simple solution is to rewind the video tape before the panhandlers or nerds showed up. Was it already a cool and exciting place to be?

In the case of California, before massive immigration from Central America we had the early-mid 20th C romance about Hollywood and Los Angeles in general, lovely shots of San Francisco in The Birds, Silicon Valley's hey-day, "I wish they all could be California girls," the counter-culture and Summer of Love mecca in the Bay area, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Valley girls, throngs of glam rockers, punks, new wavers, and metalheads along the Sunset Strip...

In essence, everything the rest of the country has ever romanticized and been drawn in by about California came from the period when it was mostly white, but especially once the Baby Boom was underway and the whole place was overrun with white teenagers and 20-somethings. No one cares how easy it is to locate a pupuseria.

And that's just California. London, Paris, and Rome must have been a real snore before the vibrant diversity from the rest of the world arrived. I recall reading that sometime after 2000, London and Paris were no longer the top tourist destinations in Europe -- it was now Barcelona and Prague (if I'm remembering correctly).

I lived in Barcelona for a year, and aside from a few ghettos for North Africans and Latin Americans, it's incredibly ethnically homogeneous (diversity there means you're from a non-Catalan part of Spain). Wikipedia says the only sizable non-Euro minorities in the Czech Republic are Gypsies and trailing far after, Vietnamese.

Jaap writes:

I live (for now) in vibrant Amsterdam. it boasts 177 different nationalities, liberal (how we call it) laws, especially in regards to drugs, prostitution and squatting (recently banned nation-wide but locally not enforced).
it gives you: plenty of low-budget tourists, looking to 'party'. result: streets full of drunk, stoned tourists, leaving lots of their garbage around.
vibrancy is cool, but the style is pretty much gone (most of our museums closed for renovation).

bligher writes:

I just want to make sure I'm up-to-date on what's okay to say:

1) Minorities have lower social outcomes on a large variety of social measures so we should want to have a lower percentage of them in the population == this is very racist and absolutely not true in any way, even though the underlying fact about social outcomes is, err, a fact...

2) White people are inherently boring so we should want to have a lower percentage of them in the population == this assertion, which is blessedly free of facts but full of stereotype, is not at all racist and is just the kind of common-sense thinking that leads to eternal progress...

Okay, I think I got it. If you want to argue that the bad social outcomes provided by minorities aren't worth the vibrantly exciting diversity they bring you are a horrible racist but if you want to have less white people regardless of their social metrics b/c you find them soooo boring then you are just a good person looking to help create a better world.

Good to know.

Æternitatis writes:

@bligher C'mon!

This is EconLog, not the New York Times. Some contributors to both may argue for more open immigration for various reasons.

But only the NYT (and certain other parts of the MSM) uses the 'you-are-a-racist!' cudgel with abandon against anybody who disagrees or even merely recognizes that there are aggregate differences between different populations and that this should sometimes be taken into account.

I've been reading Prof. Caplan's writings for some years and do not recall him ever using that style of argument. So it is unfair to bash him (and others who can make the same claim) for not equally complying with the NYT's obsessions.

Graeme writes:

@agnositc. I cannot find any numbers that show Barcelona or Prague even in the top ten, and London remains on top. You may be confusing national with city numbers (i.e. lots of British people going to Spain to get drunk on the beach - not to Barcelona).

@Contemplationist, Why do you mention the PROPOSED recognition for Sharia courts rather than the existing recognition for Jewish ones? What is the difference - apart from your prejudices?

MikeDC writes:

Yes... Michigan is a swell place to be these days.

Linda Gottfredson's Apprentice writes:

Some diversity is more equal than other diversity.

For example, Chinese diversity is better than Mexican diversity, Jewish diversity is better than African diversity.

josh writes:

It seems to me that LA was a lot less boring back in the Frankie and Annette, Jan and Dean, Beach Blanket Bingo, Endless Summer days. As Jonathan Richman put it:

"So people are staying home more, not having fun,
A cold cold era has begun, has begun,
Now things were bad before, there was lots of lonliness
But in 1965 things were not like this.

When we had hang on sloopy, sloopy hang on,
Oh, oh, yeah, and pa-pa-pa-pa lupe lou.
Shake it shake it shake it lupe. alright.

Well could there be block parties of which i know not?
Wild beach parties around some open flame?
I know there's got to be parties, i bet there's a lot.
But the usa has changed somehow that i can't name."

I always wondered if this song, ostensibly about needing more "parties in the USA" was a subversive anti-left protest song.

paul writes:

"Looking California, Feeling Minnesota"

I think that proves Bryans' point...

guthrie writes:

I live in Milwaukee and I swear I've met and known nicer people when I lived in LA, so for me Mr. Sailer's assertion doesn't hold water.

I don't have data to back this up, but I believe most people move or live in this region primarily because other family members live here. After the last few winters here, I've been ready to pack up and move back to LA... but for the family here in the state, I'm sure I would have.

Steven writes:

Bryan - your stereotype of MN immigrants are a bit out of date.


Some highlights:

Numbers expressed in terms of
(immigrants in 2009)/(population in 2009).

Source / USA / MN
All / 0.37% / 0.34%
Africa / 0.04% / 0.18%
Asia / 0.13% / 0.09%
Europe / 0.03% / 0.02%
N America / 0.12% / 0.03%
Oceania / 0.12% / 0.03%
S America / 0.03% / 0.01%
Burma / 0.0044% / 0.0137%
Cambodia / 0.0012% / 0.0044%
Canada / 0.0053% / 0.0048%
China / 0.0209% / 0.0100%
Ethiopia / 0.050% / 0.0306%
India / 0.0187% / 0.0113%
Kenya / 0.0032% / 0.0220%
Liberia / 0.0025% / 0.0192%
Nigeria / 0.0050% / 0.0062%
Philippines / 0.0196% / 0.0073%
Somalia / 0.0044% / 0.0792%
Thailand / 0.0034% / 0.0101%
Vietnam / 0.0095% / 0.0097%

Numbers expressed in terms of
(MN immigrants in 2009)/(USA immigrants in 2009)
Africa: 8%
Asia: 1%
Europe: 1%
N America: 0%
Oceania: 1%
S America: 1%
Bhutan: 12%
Djibouti: 17%
Ethiopia: 10%
Kenya: 12%
Kyrgyzstan: 25%
Liberia: 13%
Somalia: 31%

Mike writes:

I left Minnesota 28 years ago. Don't want to go back. And its got nothing to do with the weather. It has more to do with attitudes of people like Tim (the first tim, you know, the one who takes great offense, thin skinned he is). Minnesotan's, as a sweeping generalization, are among the worst at getting in your face and telling you that what you believe and value is wrong. (Especially if you have a libertarian streak. Conservatives? Conservatives, real conservatives, not those DFL-light IR's, are beyond the pale.)

Interesting trivia (at least to me) about my old neighborhood high school, Southwest:

From my junior year to my senior year (76-77 to 77-78), the most common surname changed from Johnson to Nguyen (I have the yearbooks should anyone want to count for themselves).

The football field is one block away from the school building. The band used to march, to drums, from the school to the field in the morning. A couple of years after I graduated, the practice was stopped because neighbors complained about the noise. This had been a practice for over 20 years. You can blame your favorite ethnic group should you want to stir up further controversy in this comment thread.

In 1982, due to shrinking enrollment city wide, the school district closed West high school and redrew the district lines. Southwest went from having one of the best hockey teams in the state to having one of the best basketball teams. Overnight, one season.

Somewhere in the same time frame, the team mascot/name was changed from "Indians" to "Lakers." Make of that what you will.

These days, the city of Minneapolis can put on the rink one lousy team made up of students from several high schools. In the 08-09 season, that team went 1-26.

I don't know how much more diversity like that a neighborhood can handle, and keep its essential character. Hockey is used here as a proxy for the sorts of changes that have occurred. Yes things change constantly, but is this the sort of diversity people want? Particularly when it is thrust upon you by government policy that was never voted upon or approved by neighborhood residents?

The suburban high schools (read white) still have good hockey teams.

On the Wikipedia page for Southwest, no mention is made of the 18 state cross country titles. I had a very, very, very small role in that dynasty.

Josh writes:

Or perhaps you could say "after controlling for distance from the Mexican border, distance from the Canadian border has no effect."

Carter writes:

If diversity is so great, why don't you move to a diverse neighborhood? Why do tireless preachers of integration and immigration pay so much not to live next door to blacks and hispanics?

Dave writes:

My father retired to Minnesota after his military career ended and my brother and sister both moved there as well. I gave it a try when I got married but did not last. Minnesota is a wonderful place but it is also full of smug sanctimonious people who are certain they have founded and live in the promised land.

In the 1980's, the HHH Dome, then home of both the Twins and the Vikings, had a large banner that read "Minnesota. We like it here." It drove me crazy. No Minnesota native could understand why it bugged me so much.

If you held a gun to my head and told me I had to move to the Midwest, I would probably choose Minnesota. Or I might grab it and pistol whip you.

Steve Sailer writes:

"Minnesota is, well, boring. And a big part of the reason is lack of immigration to bring varied food, entertainment, and yes - diversity."

Yes, and you shouldn't forget "vibrancy."

Æternitatis writes:

Josh wrote:

Or perhaps you could say "after controlling for distance from the Mexican border, distance from the Canadian border has no effect."

Given that, over the continental U.S, the distance from the Mexican border and the distance from the Canadian border are nearly perfectly correlated, statistically these two statements are practically equivalents:

(1) "after controlling for distance from the Mexican border, distance from the Canadian border has no effect"

(2) "after controlling for distance from the Canadian border, distance from the Mexican border has no effect"

richard writes:

I went to school about an hour outside of the twin cities. Minnesota has a lot going for it. They have big time companies cutting across all types of industries (3M, Cargill, USBank, Medtronic, Humana, etc.) so it is possible there to have a reasonably interesting job and a high salary (not NYC or D.C. type earnings but better than most places). However, the cost of living is still really low. Minnesota is basically the social experiment of what would happen if you combined the very best elements of Scandanavia and America. I think it's a good result. There are good schools, the streets are clean, and contrary to what Brian says it is in many respects an interesting place (they have a great theatre scene, a good orchestra and several good art museums, the food tends towards bland, though). It's brutally cold though in the winters.

For me the turn offs were that the people were somewhat provincial and there always seemed to be an underlying pressure towards conformity. It reminded me actually a great deal of when I was an exchange student in Germany. It's always amazing to me when you are on the interstates in MN. Everyone is driving the same speed. You can get on someone's bumper, flash your lights, beep whatever. They're not getting out of the left lane, you are just gonna have to wait. I found that stifling and can only take the state in small doses.

That said, one of the great benefits of the twin cities that is entirely glossed over- beautiful people. the women are gorgeous. If the weather was better people would talk about Minny and St. Paul as if it were Miami or LA. So, in summary, no it is not terribly diverse, but that does not mean that it is not interesting or without virtues- but the weather really sucks.

Æternitatis writes:

@Steve Sailer

We all (or at least I suspect most authors, commenters, and readers here) appreciate your shtick of mocking the politically correct, intellectually vacuous paeans to "diversity", "vibrancy" etc. In fact, I daresay we get your point.

But will you concede that there are or have been some place and times in which the real positive effects of living amongst individuals from many different parts of the world, having different native languages and cultures, are sufficiently large and the negative effects about which you've written so often are sufficiently small and suppressed that at least some people--not all of them delusional or vastly less intelligent than you--will sincerely enjoy and advisedly seek out such places?

In other words, is it possible--notwithstanding the silly pablum spouted by many--that sometimes diversity and vibrancy are real and positive things?

Justin Bowen writes:
If diversity is so great, why don't you move to a diverse neighborhood? Why do tireless preachers of integration and immigration pay so much not to live next door to blacks and hispanics?

In my experience - as someone who lives in an upper-middle-class neighborhood in a small, mostly-white, middle-class, southwestern-Michigan town that is right next to a somewhat-larger, mostly-black, mostly-poverty-stricken town - we pay so much not to not live next-door to blacks and Hispanics (and people of other races and nationalities) but rather to not live next-door to poor blacks and Hispanics (and people of other races and nationalities).

I own one of the few homes in my town with an un-interrupted view of Lake-Michigan in a neighborhood with homes worth half a million and more in a city where the average price of a home is about $175k; the blacks and southwest-Asians who live in our neighborhood are very welcome here (for the past several years they've been popular guests at the neighborhood end-of-summer party) just as much as anyone else who is willing to pay for gorgeous views of the lake, quiet neighbors, and nice homes.

For what my home is worth, I could own a home that is twice the size of my current home in the more-diverse part of town. If I wanted to be truly courageous, I could buy a home in the neighboring city that is at least three times as large as the one I have now. Or, I could move into a similar-sized home in either location and buy an additional property or two or a vacation home somewhere else. Why don't I? It's simple. I enjoy:

- living around people who share my appreciation for having a yard that isn't strewn with dirty toys, trash, broken-down vehicles, weeds, fallen trees, and so on;

- owning nice things that I won't have to report as stolen to the police;

- not having to worry about being assaulted, raped, mugged, or murdered;

- not hearing loud stereos and fighting couples;

- not putting up with stray cats and dogs;

- not driving past yard/garage sales;

- knowing that my neighbors aren't going to let their homes fall apart and thus affect my own property value.

Do all blacks and Hispanics engage in the behavior that I mentioned above? Certainly not. I know plenty who don't. But are blacks and Hispanics far more likely to be poorer than whites and thus be forced to put up with that kind of behavior because they can't afford to live in neighborhoods where it's not tolerated, eventually leading to them having kids who engage in that kind of behavior themselves (if they're not engaging in it themselves)? In my experience, absolutely. Am I ashamed for believing that cultural and racial diversity are good things while doing my best to avoid the negative aspects that are associated with cultural and racial diversity? Absolutely not. Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and others (who else did I leave out?), whether poor or not, are very welcome in our neighborhood - as long as they don't act like poor people tend to act.

So to answer your question, we pay to not live around blacks and Hispanics (and people of other races and nationalities) because diversity isn't always a good thing.

Steve Sailer writes:

There's a concept in economics called diminishing marginal returns, but nobody thinks to apply it to diversity. Yet, the returns to culture in California from diversity over the last half century demonstrate diminishing marginal returns with a vengeance.

Speaking in terms of orders of magnitude, one million Mexicans in California a generation or two ago gave us Mexican food, beautiful low-rider cars, Ritchie Valens, Los Lobos, Cheech, and Edward James Olmos.


Ten million Mexicans in California have given us culturally ... what, exactly? It's not ten times as much. It might not even be as much.

Here's an experiment: Look up online a copy of the "Calendar" (arts and entertainment) section of the LA Times. Look for coverage of Mexican-American arts and entertainment: events, movies, artists, actors, screenwriters, plays, dance, art exhibitions.

I did this experiment about four years ago: "In late October, I pored over the 64-page Sunday Calendar section of the L.A. Times, which listed a thousand or more upcoming cultural events. I found just seven that were clearly organized by Latinos. While it’s a journalistic cliché to describe Mexican-American neighborhoods as “vibrant,” they aren’t."

Steve Sailer writes:

Did going from one million to ten million Mexicans in California make California more or less diverse?

Does the concept of diminishing marginal returns apply here?

Has anybody noticed that Southern California is not a Hispanic cultural capital? Has anybody ever noticed that in most Mexican neighborhoods in LA, the leading cultural center is the Blockbuster video store? Has anybody noticed that rich, cultured Mexicans much prefer to move to Miami rather than LA?

Steve Sailer writes:

Robert Putnam's survey results for L.A. also reflect a very real and deleterious lack of co-operativeness and social capital among Latinos. As columnist Gregory Rodriguez stated in the L.A. Times: “In Los Angeles, home to more Mexicans than any other city in the U.S., there is not one ethnic Mexican hospital, college, cemetery, or broad-based charity.”

Since they seldom self-organize beyond the extended family, Los Angeles’s millions of Mexican-Americans make strangely little contribution to local civic and artistic life. L.A. is awash in underemployed creative talent who occupy their abundant spare time putting on plays, constructing spectacular haunted houses each Halloween, and otherwise trying to attract Jerry Bruckheimer’s attention. Yet there is little overlap between the enormous entertainment industry and the huge Mexican-American community.

In late October, I pored over the 64-page Sunday Calendar section of the L.A. Times, which listed a thousand or more upcoming cultural events. I found just seven that were clearly organized by Latinos. While it’s a journalistic cliché to describe Mexican-American neighborhoods as “vibrant,” they aren’t.

Some of this lack of social capital is class-related—Miami indeed has a vibrant Hispanic culture, but it’s anomalous because it attracts Latin America’s affluent and educated. In contrast, Los Angeles is a representative harbinger of America’s future because it imports peasants and laborers.

Patrick writes:

I'd like to renew the proposal for a debate between Steve Sailer and Bryan Caplan. Caplan had me persuaded once, but after discovering Sailer's blog through his comments here, I've converted to his point of view. I haven't seen Caplan make any persuasive arguments against Sailer's objections to open immigration. Maybe I'm wrong about that, I haven't read every single post here, but why not get all the cards on the table for once so we can all see who really has the stronger hand.

I hasten to add that Caplan is one of the precious few who could productively debate Sailer as 90%+ of the intelligentsia remain in profound denial about human biodiversity. At least in public.

Doc Merlin writes:

Again, the problem is that he is looking at the average not the marginal person. This results in the same statistics that make New Jersey look like heaven. To look at policy, it is more important to see how things are changing at the margin than to see what the mean or median statistics are like.

Seriously folks, we went through the marginal revolution for a reason.

Rebecca Burlingame writes:

What a can of demographic worms you opened with this subject! I'd sure like to know how many people actually moved to Minnesota because of all the 'benefits' and whether they got sucker punched by correlation and causation.

D writes:

I'd like to renew the proposal for a debate between Steve Sailer and Bryan Caplan.

This is really up to Bryan, since Steve implicitly accepts the challenge each time the topic comes up by jumping right into the comments section to argue his points and counter Bryan's. And that's where it seems to end.

Steve-O writes:

On the down side, St. Joseph isn't nearly as convenient a deuce-dropping rest stop as Benton Harbor (know from numerous trips to Chicago), nor does it have the vibrant riots of its sister city across the river.

But seriously, no garage sales? If Muhammad Ali was my neighbor, I'd like the opportunity to go through whatever had collected in his attic.

$5 for the belt I won from Sonny Liston.

NiccoloA writes:

The midwest in general is boring. I've lived here quite a while and really don't find much outside of Chicago (in the summer) that I like.

Steve Sailer writes:


It appears that a number of your commenters don't get that Moynihan's Law of Proximity to the Canadian Border is a joke.

"Proximity to the Canadian border" was the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan's euphemism for the advantages to a state of having a mostly non-Hispanic white population. Moynihan wasn't advocating jacking your state up and towing it closer to the Canadian border.

From George Will's obituary for DP Moynihan:

  • The Senate's Sisyphus, Moynihan was forever pushing uphill a boulder of inconvenient data. A social scientist trained to distinguish correlation from causation, and a wit, Moynihan puckishly said that a crucial determinant of the quality of American schools is proximity to the Canadian border.,_rip

Snorri Godhi writes:

Minnesota's over 85% white (non-Hispanic)
Minnesota is, well, boring. And a big part of the reason is lack of immigration to bring varied food, entertainment, and yes - diversity.

By this criterion, Minnesota remains one of the least boring places on Earth: I would be hard pressed to mention a country [NB: not a city!] other than the USA that has more than 15% ethnic minorities. Sudan, Brazil, New Zealand, maybe South Africa and some other Latin American countries are all what comes to mind without checking wikipedia.

Not many people are keen on the sort of excitement that Sudan has on offer.

why aren't millions of other Americans flooding into this promised land? I grant that weather's a factor

Nice weather is for wimps.
AFAIK the recent trend is one of migration to the South from all other regions of the US. That might have something to do with diversity, but the fact that people are moving away from NY and California suggests otherwise.

Peter writes:

Yay!, more coasties bashing the midwest.

@guthrie: I grew up in Milwaukee and have now lived on both coasts (Honolulu currently) and in nine different countries and by far Milwaukee is the best town I have ever lived in stateside. The problem you are going to have as a coastie, like all coastal transplants, is folk in the midwest have a WASP background and a strong Calvinist streak given their Germanic and agricultural background. I.e. we don't think life is all about Hollywood, Kendra, keeping up with the Jones, hiring illegals to raise your kids because they impact your social life and you don't want to bother, toking it up, or living off daddies silicon valley payroll while we rail against Walmart and the spotted owl. I know I know, the whole concept of a honest day labor and integrity went out of fashion sixty years ago and the Midwest needs to get with times and join the ADD Gen Whiner technocratic coastal elites. I mean I know you have to suffer enough because God had the audacity to put something between the coasts forcing you to waste hours a week off your life flying over it but don't worry, us Midwesterns will happily bear this burden for you.

Ja there is no econ/lib angle here, I just hate coasties bashing the Great Lakes region. We have great beer, a great independent music scene (you live in Milwaukee, try the Jazz Estate or Lakefront Brewery), a great outdoors, nice weather (we actually have seasons and it gets truly cold), good wineries, great festivals (not summerfest), and safe neighborhoods. Sure Milwaukee isn't LA or NYC but look at the populations, these two cities aren't that way because of location (though it contributed to their growth), they have the culture they have because of size. When you have 20x the people you have 20x the stuff.

Just representing Milwaukee, a city I won't move back to (no job for me there though I still visit yearly), but still the best city I have ever lived in the America and better than a couple I have lived in outside.

Also if you're young or single I could see Wisconsin isn't a place for you to relocate to (most Wisconsinites I know leave in their twenties and return in their thirties); Wisconsin is a family state like Minnesota: big families, church, hunting, white, educated, and semi-rural.

PS: I also think we have great race relations in the state, folk on all three sides stay on their sides of the track and it works out well. We melt in our business, not our homes, and it keeps the peace. Having lived in Honolulu, Cleveland, Boston, DC, and San Fransisco (Milwaukee still the best though SF a close second) I have seen the results of forced integration and it isn't good.

Doc Merlin writes:

"AFAIK the recent trend is one of migration to the South from all other regions of the US. That might have something to do with diversity, but the fact that people are moving away from NY and California suggests otherwise."

Diversity for its own sake is somewhat pointless, but look where people are moving to... mostly the south.

guthrie writes:

@ Steve Sailer

I admit that I was not aware that 'law of proximity' was a joke... my apologies for the misunderstanding!

That said nothing you've posted here persuades me to believe that the State has any business keeping people from living where they want. LA is still a far more 'vibrant' and diverse city than Milwaukee and were it not for my family obligations and finances, I'd be living there, Mexicans and all.


Wow, you presume an awful lot from my brief little personal statement!

First of all, one of the least attractive things about people in LA is their narrow worldview in regards to those who live elsewhere. But that's not enough for to not want to live there.

Second, the vaunted WASP mindset you describe doesn't keep people here from acting like jackasses and morons. For example, I've never had anyone in LA get out of their car and accost me at a stoplight, but it happened to me the second week I lived in Milwaukee. My *personal* experience here is that I don't feel as safe as I did in LA.

I've also had to work twice as hard to establish and maintain friendships here as I had to in LA. Having 5-6 months worth of frigid weather where one wants to hibernate, and travel becomes hazardous, puts a real crimp in social interaction.

I'm sure there are others who have had a different experiences (in either city), but these are mine. I'm with you that folks in 'fly over country' aren't as backwards as 'coasties' think, but don't make of yourselves more than what you are.

Thirdly and frankly, I prefer having the 20x more stuff to do, and have no problem dealing with the 20x more people.

Ultimately speaking, you can't argue taste. I enjoy the fests (Irishfest in particular), I'm involved in the theater scene, and it's better for us to be close to family. But the city itself has left, for me, a lot to be desired. I'm glad you like it though. Good for you.

Zachary writes:

Don't forget, Minnesota's in the top 10ish% for tax burden as well.

I don't think people stay away from Minnesota because it's boring so much as it appears boring. I can't vouch for our opera, but the orchestra is on par with anything on a coast, the theater isn't Broadway but off broadway shows regularly show up on tour here and there are numerous small theaters, there might not be a lot of recording here but the local music scene is lively, Minneapolis isn't a college town but it has one of the largest campuses in the country with the corresponding amenities.

Like a lot of midwestern cities, there's a lot going on in Minneapolis and St. Paul but you have to look for it, it's not in your face if you're not in the area. You don't even have to look hard, but you do have to look.

As far as ethnic diversity goes, I live within 6 blocks 3 Vietnamese restaurants, a Taiwanese, a Chinese, two or three Mexican, a German, a Tobagan (as in Trinidad and Tobago), two or three Middle Eastern, and a Malaysian restaurant all owned and operated by first or second generation immigrants. I challenge you to find that kind of diversity in one spot in any other city of similar size. And that's not the only place in the cities you'll find large groupings of immigrant owned businesses.

There are a lot of reasons why Minnesota isn't the place to move to, but boring isn't one of them. The _appearance_ of being boring might be one, but that's a different thing.

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