Is 150 people a ‘flock’?

I’ve written before about how Minnesota’s state government is trying to offset the residents driven out of the state by its ever-higher-tax policies with those attracted here by the state’s “progressive” social policies.

Will it work? I don’t know. While there is a decent body of empirical research showing that taxes are one factor driving people’s location decisions, there is much less — none, in fact — showing the effects on migration patterns of, say, the availability of sex change procedures for children. Minnesota is the experiment.

Early indications are not encouraging. The most recent data show that Minnesota continues to lose residents to other parts of the United States, on net, and that Florida is the top destination. But the “Minnesotan experiment” is in its early days and the Census Bureau data only runs into 2023.

The Star Tribune sees reasons for optimism. Last week, the paper reported:

The text of the article offered less cause for excitement, however:

In a span of six months after the law passed, more than 150 people have said they’re planning to move to Minnesota alone or with their families from states as far away as Texas, Tennessee and Florida, according to an online survey put together by LGBTQ groups in the state. People who reached out for help were directed to the survey, though groups think the number of families moving is higher. The influx is prompting legislation this session seeking funding to help people relocate here.

They’re coming from some of the more than 20 states that have enacted policies that ban or restrict gender-affirming care for minors. Nearly 90% of respondents said they are moving in order to get that care in Minnesota…

150 people nationwide is hardly a flock. It would offset just 11.5 days worth of the net outflow of residents for 2022-2023. Whatever the merits or otherwise of measures such as the Trans Refuge Bill, it is not a substitute for an economic development strategy. For that, the state government is going to have to think again.