ST. PAUL -- In Texas and California they are heeding the call: Go Midwest, young man.
Reversing the trend since World War II, more people in recent years moved from sunny California to snowy Minnesota than the other way around. The same is true for Texas, according to a new state population report.
"It's remarkable, particularly from a historical standpoint," said state demographer Tom Gillaspy. "This is not a normal state of affairs. It's not something that has been true over the last half century."
Gillaspy and others attribute the switch to the state's strong economy and large number of high-wage jobs. He said he first started to notice the trend changing after the recession of the early 1990s, which hit California particularly hard.
Still, the disparity remains smaller than the margin of a Florida recount. Fewer than 6,902 Californians moved to Minnesota between 1998 to 1999, while 5,634 did the reverse. In that time, 5,576 Texans moved to Minnesota, compared with 5,255 migrating the other way.
The numbers come from an analysis of tax returns by the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Census. The figures provide only the barest information: who moved, where they moved from, and how much money they made.
But demographers see the results as a good predictor of the story that will be told in far greater detail by the results of the 2000 census.
Early this year, Judi Crawford moved to Minneapolis from Austin, Texas, to take a promotion within her company, the securities firm Dain Rauscher.
A lifelong Texan, Crawford said she moved for the business opportunities, but also said she enjoys Minnesota's change of seasons and temperate summers.
She lives downtown, where virtually all buildings are connected through an intricate connection of skyways, so even winter isn't a problem.
"I can leave work, go to the gym and go all the way to my home though the skyway," Crawford said.
In Minnesota's rural Renville County, many of the newcomers are from Hidalgo County, Texas, according to the report. Only two nearby counties provide Renville with more new residents.
"Those would be our migrant workers," said Sharon Herman of the Olivia, Minn., Chamber of Commerce. "We've got quite a number of families now."
Scott Young is one of those who made the temperature-jarring transition from California to Minnesota. Like Crawford, he moved for work reasons -- Young is vice president of entertainment for the retailer Best Buy's Web site.
He said he has stayed for other reasons.
"It would be very difficult to have the kind of life I have here in Silicon Valley or Los Angeles," he said. "For the price of a small apartment there, you can buy a three-story house with a couple acres of land here."
The Sunbelt-to-snowbelt trend doesn't hold true across the board, however.
Arizona, Nevada and Florida each saw a net inflow of Minnesotans, a trend demographers speculate is explained by sun-seeking retirees. And those people took their money with them, resulting in a $170 million outward flow of wealth last year.
Most of the state's migration comes from nearby states North Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois. That trend has remained constant for years.
In every year since 1987, more people moved into Minnesota than left.
Since 1995, there has been a net gain of 65,000 due to migration. Other gains come from population increases and foreign immigration, which the IRS data does not track.
Only in recent years has Minnesota benefited by migration. From the 1940s to the mid-1980s, more people moved out of Minnesota than moved in.
On the Net: http://www.mnplan.state.mn.us/pdf/2000/demog/Migration.pdf
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