Population Change: The Government Plantation in Action


On WPRI, Ted Nesi reports the latest indication that Rhode Island’s government is steadily replacing the population that it governs:

Net migration to Rhode Island was slightly positive between July 2016 and July 2017, as the net arrival of 4,798 international migrants more than offset the loss of 3,854 domestic residents, according to Census estimates. There were also 10,915 births and 9,760 deaths in the state during the 12-month period.

The Census Bureau’s definition of international migrants includes “all foreign-born immigrants and emigrants, regardless of legal status.” It also covers migration between Rhode Island and Puerto Rico, and the movement of military members.

This is a long-term trend.  The relevant data from the U.S. Census shows that in the roughly seven years from April 1, 2010, to July 1, 2017, the Ocean State lost 33,615 residents to other states, which was mostly made up with 31,796 foreign nationals.  Basically, that’s an exchange.  And if we assume that native Rhode Islanders make up the majority of the 70,559 deaths in the state over that period while immigrant families account for a larger share of the 79,313 births, the displacement is even larger.

Paul Edward Parker gives perspective to see how it is therefore in the interests of Rhode Island’s political class to keep the immigration going, even if it’s illegal:

The Ocean State came within 157 people of losing a seat, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates on Wednesday. The state’s population now stands at 1,059,639.

Our politicians are desperate, in other words, to attract international government-dependents to whom they can offer services on the government plantation.

A state like Rhode Island really only has two options.  One, the political structure can relinquish some power to make the government less government-heavy and more conducive to private activity and economic growth and keep the productive class among native Rhode Islanders from leaving while attracting productive class residents of other state.  Or two, it can create incentive for new people to move to the state and become reliant on government services, for which the political structure can then tax its own residents and residents from other states to the extent that the federal government goes along.

We shouldn’t be surprised that Rhode Island’s political elite is going strongly with option 2.  Apart from being immoral, however, that approach is guaranteed to create a painful correction someday, which suggests that the elite are hoping to keep the scheme going long enough to harvest their rewards and then join those thousands of Rhode Islanders who leave the state every year.

  • This one ain’t going up

    I love how you vacillate between liking and not liking the states population grown based on the ethnicity of the growth. Maybe you can say “gracias” next time for keeping our disproportionate representation in congress alive.

    What basis are you forming your opinion regarding the ethnicity of “productive class”?

    • OceanStateCurrent

      The post says nothing about ethnicity. I’ve been writing about the productive class for a long time, so a little bit of research should educate you about exactly what I mean and what the basis is.

      • This one ain’t going up

        Your point is clear, the “native Rhode Islanders” or “productive class” is leaving and being replaced by “international migrants”, or those “reliant on government services”. There’s nothing subtle about your assertion. The only thing missing is data to support it.

        • Justin Katz

          None of those factors have to do with ethnicity. In typical fashion, you must assume that my actual arguments are just cover for racism when in fact the truth is the opposite. I’ve provided plenty of evidence over the years that the people leaving Rhode Island are disproportionately those seeking to turn their labor and talents into income — that is, people who are inclined to be “productive.” There is also plenty of evidence that immigrants more often rely on public programs. I’ve also amply described what I’ve described as the government plantation, whereby policymakers build an economy around government provision of services for which other residents (in and out of the state) can be taxed.

          You can argue any of the points, but one can obviously find them all to be true and concerning without ethnicity entering into it at all.

          • Sorry about the truth

            Your entire premise is based on the flawed logic that “I’ve provided plenty of evidence over the years that the people leaving
            Rhode Island are disproportionately those seeking to turn their labor
            and talents into income —“. You have not provided any evidence of it because it’s not true. The answer is quite simple, but you choose to ignore it…they are called retirees in search of a warmer climate.

          • Mike678

            Please provide proof. Prove him wrong. If you can’t, you are just another angry troll.

    • Christopher C. Reed

      Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain.