The Corner

U.S.

California Refugees

People in Texas joke about — and sometimes genuinely lament — the California exodus sending Golden State tax refugees into Austin, Dallas, and Houston. But you know who’s getting hit really hard? Henderson, Nev., as this very interesting Wall Street Journal report shows. The Las Vegas suburb is growing quickly, having just surpassed Reno as Nevada’s second-biggest city, and the majority of the newcomers are from California — and, in some developments, 70 percent of the new residents are ex-Californians.

I myself lived in Henderson for a time. It’s the closest thing you can get to Southern California while keeping your guns and money.

The Raiders’ decision to move to Nevada was controversial among California football fans. But the California football fans are moving there, too.

The Las Vegas area is one of the politically weirdest places in America — lots of religious social conservatives surrounding a core dedicated to casinos and related ventures, a large population of military and veterans but a union-dominated local political scene, etc. It had a very hard time in the financial crisis, when the local real-estate market collapsed and the tourist trade took a simultaneous hit, but Las Vegas does a lot right, too: It is by most accounts a good place to do business and a pretty good place to raise a family. (One must make occasional accommodations: Some friends of mine there spent a month going miles out of their way to avoiding passing the porn-convention billboards when taking their children to school.) California is great if you are too rich or too poor to care about the marginal costs of living there, but if you have a more average income (and are looking to raise a family on it) then hopping across the border to Nevada must look attractive. It’s a little like the internal divide in Texas: If you’re rich and childless, then Austin is a lot of fun, but if you’re middle-income and have a family, then Houston is probably more attractive, maybe San Antonio or Fort Worth if you can’t take the gulf humidity.

I suppose I should do my duty as a Texan and end with this: You crazy Californians are going to love Nevada. Please don’t come here.

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