Urbanist Joel Kotkin says that the US Gulf Coast is starting to look like a great place to live and do business. Excerpt:
The American economy, long dominated by the East and West Coasts, is undergoing a dramatic geographic shift toward this area. The country’s next great megacity, Houston, is here; so is a resurgent New Orleans, as well as other growing port cities that serve as gateways to Latin America and beyond. While the other two coasts struggle with economic stagnation and dysfunctional politics, the Third Coast—the urbanized, broadly coastal region spanning the Gulf from Brownsville, Texas, to greater Tampa—is emerging as a center of industry, innovation, and economic growth.
Many of the region’s new arrivals are attracted by the low cost of living. The median home-price-to-income ratio in Houston, Tampa, and New Orleans is roughly one-half that of New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, or San Jose. Over the last decade, Houston boasted the highest growth in personal income of any of the country’s 75 largest metropolitan areas.
The region’s most dramatic appeal, however, is its remarkable employment growth. Between 2001 and 2012, the number of jobs along the Third Coast, according to Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI), increased by 7.6 percent, well over three times the national growth rate. The vitality of the Third Coast persisted even during a brutal recession, with four metropolitan areas—Houston, Corpus Christi, Brownsville, and New Orleans—gaining jobs between 2008 and 2012, even as the nation’s job rolls shrank by 3.6 percent. Of the three states that have recovered all the jobs lost during the recession, two—Texas and Louisiana—are on the Third Coast.
That’s great news. I have a proposition for you, reader. I saw last week that the St. Francisville Inn is for sale, listed for $895,000. Why don’t you buy it and move down South and be a small-town innkeeper? Come on, it’ll be fun. I’d love to be an innkeeper here, but I wouldn’t get a bit of writing done. I’d have too much fun mixing drinks for the guests and sitting on the porch talking to everybody. That’s a good problem to have, I would think.