Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Tax flight and U-Haul rates

Our Progressive brethren and cistern keep telling us that people are willing to pay a bit more in taxes to receive more in terms of services and a better safety net. Peg, at A Secondhand Conjecture, takes a stab at documenting something I've always suspected: the migration patterns in the US are at least partly driven by people fleeing high taxes.

Moreover, she picks a really interesting way to document the difference in cost of living expenses between various areas: how much it takes to rent a U-Haul truck to get the hell out:

We invite readers to visit the U-Haul Moving Company Web site (, where you can type in a pair of U.S. cities to learn what it costs to move from point A to B. If you want to move, say, from Austin, Texas to Southern California, the moving van will cost you $407 to rent. But if you want to move out of California to Austin, the same van costs $1,831. A move from Dallas to Philadelphia costs $663, versus $2,433 to swap homes in the other direction. The biggest discrepancy we could find was $557 from Nashville, Tennessee to Los Angeles, but the trip costs nearly eight times more, or $4,285, to move to Nashville from L.A.

Geographers have always known that there are both push and pull factors in any migration; this makes that point quite nicely.