New U.S. Census estimates of states’ populations are out, and Rhode Island just like last year, experienced a small increase in population. And once again the details of the numbers give reason for concern.
For the second year in a row, total population increased by a smaller number. That is, 2014’s increase was 1,447, 2015’s was 1,127, and 2016’s is 819. The natural population increase resulting from having more births than deaths was the smallest since 2010.
Of more concern, though, is that more Rhode Islanders continue to leave for other states than to head in the other direction, but those departures are over-compensated with immigration from other countries. This year, we lost 3,784 Rhode Islanders to other states but gained 4,203 from other countries. (Illegal immigrants would be included in these numbers.) According to the Census, Rhode Island lost 28,565 residents to other states but imported 25,406 residents from other countries.
Putting aside the fact that people who arrived from other countries may have later left for other states, Rhode Island has, roughly speaking, swapped out 2.4% of its population for people from other countries. One needn’t be xenophobic to worry that this trend might not be ideal.
As the Rhode Island Family Prosperity Index report suggests, the Ocean State’s policy decisions are pushing our neighbors to leave. Meanwhile, the government plantation model of the state’s major industry (government) creates incentive for elected officials and bureaucrats to seek to import clients who’ll require their services (and provide them votes).