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The Sunny Outlook in the Sun Belt — and Why It Matters

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The Sunny Outlook in the Sun Belt — and Why It Matters

Governing October 5, 2021
EconomicsEmployment
Urban PolicyHousing
OtherMiscellaneous

Residents of Sun Belt metros rate quality of life higher than residents of other fast-growing regions. But common concerns suggest that local leaders should pay more attention to the basics of governance.

When you ask the residents of America's fastest-growing metropolitan regions about their priorities and concerns — about how they feel about the places they call home — you might expect that expanding economies would produce a similar level of satisfaction across all of those regions. But a very different picture emerges. The sunny outlook of the residents of the Sun Belt metros of America's interior stands in stark contrast to a gloomier view beyond.

That, and its implications for the directions of local governance and politics, is what stood out in our new Manhattan Institute/Echelon Insights survey of the 20 fastest-growing metros. In the northern and coastal metros like Seattle, concerns about the high cost of living, rising crime and poor quality of life are paramount — precisely the areas where a place like Dallas-Fort Worth performs best. Our results show how costs, crime and classroom concerns suggest an urban opportunity agenda broadly popular to a multiethnic, bipartisan mainstream. A signal, in short, for local leaders to pay more attention to the basics.

Continue reading the entire piece here at Governing

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Michael Hendrix is the director of state & local policy at the Manhattan Institute.

Photo by Barbara Smyers/iStock

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