Friday, September 23, 2011

California Falling

In interesting news today, California is now at the very bottom of the top ten states for wealth. The continued prosperity of the East Coast is beginning to look a lot like a strong argument for density. Density has historically been a critical way of bringing ideas together. For a while it looked like California was an attempt to show how prosperity could work with lower density population patterns.

We'll see if this is a trend or an isolated blip, but it doesn't bode well for the West Coast pattern of settlement.


  1. The two thoughts that occurred first to me:

    1. Ecological fallacy. The Maryland and Virginia counties near DC are the wealthiest in the nation.

    2. Proximity to the federal government. The prosperity of the East Coast looks more like an argument for being near the federal government than an argument against the California model.

  2. Both of these are interesting points. The ecological fallacy is possible but I think the individual data would back it up.

    Being close to the Federal government is a much more subtle issues. If the key is being close to the seat of power then it is inevitable that you'd have an increase in density there.

    So my controls are New York and Boston, but even they suffer from being much closer to DC than CA is.

  3. The other problem with your thesis is that the DC area is a sprawl. The population density is much lower than in the NYC or Boston areas. Both San Francisco and Los Angeles are higher-density than DC.