Aging, Rising, Brainy, Booming: Super Tuesday Economies Pose Wider Test

Aging, Rising, Brainy, Booming: Super Tuesday Economies Pose Wider Test

The first few contests in the Democratic presidential primary race have been fought in states that are small and somewhat quirky economically. There aren’t many states where voters care as much about ethanol subsidies as they do in Iowa, or where culinary unions wield as much power as in Nevada.

All of that will change on Super Tuesday. The 14 states voting make up nearly 40 percent of the population, and an even larger share of gross domestic product, with all the demographic and economic diversity those numbers suggest.

Tuesday’s results, therefore, could give us our first hard data on how the economy is affecting the Democratic race. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont has moved to the front of the pack by emphasizing his plans to tackle income inequality — will that message resonate more in places where more families are struggling? Michael R. Bloomberg, the billionaire former New York City mayor, has stressed his management experience — will that play better in wealthier, more highly educated places?

Fourteen states are a lot to keep track of. So we’ve broken them into four categories based on their long-term economic strength (represented in the chart above by their median household income) and their more recent performance (their job growth since the start of the Trump administration).

No such grouping is perfect, of course. And states are diverse places — even the richest ones have pockets of poverty. Still, if you keep these groups in mind as the results roll in, you should get a sense of how economic issues are playing out in the primary campaign.

Super Tuesday states: Maine, Vermont

Similar states: Kentucky, Pennsylvania, West Virginia

There isn’t much doubt about who will win Vermont, Mr. Sanders’s home state. But these states, characterized by relatively low incomes and slow job growth, nonetheless reflect challenges facing a substantial part of the country.

At a time when economic activity is increasingly concentrated in cities, these states are predominantly rural: Maine and Vermont ranked first and second in the 2010 census in the share of their populations living outside metropolitan areas. At a time when the aging population is a concern nationwide because of rising health care costs and shrinking labor forces, these states are already old: 20.6 percent Mainers were 65 or older in 2019, a slightly higher share even than in Florida. (Vermont came in fourth at 19.4 percent.) And at a time when slowing immigration and low birthrates are limiting population growth, these states are already growing slowly or, in the case of Vermont, shrinking.

Maine and Vermont are (nearly) neighbors, but these issues transcend geography. Indeed, in terms of their economies, these states share less in common with the rest of New England than with Appalachian states like West Virginia and Kentucky and with Midwestern industrial states like Ohio and Wisconsin.

Share of the population

living in rural areas

Share of the population

65 or older

Me.

Me.

21

%

61

%

Vt.

Fla.

21

61

W.Va.

W.Va.

20

51

Miss.

Vt.

19

51

Mont.

Hawaii

19

44

Ark.

Del.

19

44

S.D.

Mont.

19

43

Ky.

Pa.

18

42

18

Ala.

N.H.

41

N.D.

S.C.

18

40

N.H.

Ore.

18

40

Iowa

Ariz.

18

36

Wyo.

N.M.

18

35

Alaska

R.I.

17

34

N.C.

Conn.

17

34

Okla.

Mich.

17

34

S.C.

Iowa

17

34

Super

Tuesday

states

in bold

Tenn.

Ohio

17

34

Wis.

Ark.

17

30

Mo.

Ala.

17

30

Idaho

Wis.

17

29

Ind.

Mo.

17

28

Neb.

S.D.

17

27

La.

Wyo.

17

27

Minn.

Mass.

17

27

Kan.

N.Y.

16

26

Mich.

Tenn.

16

25

Ga.

N.C.

16

25

Va.

Ky.

16

25

N.M.

N.J.

16

23

Ohio

Kan.

16

22

Pa.

Miss.

16

21

Ore.

Idaho

16

19

Del.

Minn.

16

17

Wash.

Neb.

16

16

Tex.

Okla.

16

15

Colo.

Ind.

16

14

Md.

Nev.

16

13

N.Y.

Ill.

16

12

Conn.

Va.

16

12

Ill.

Wash.

16

12

Ariz.

Md.

15

10

Utah

N.D.

15

9

R.I.

La.

15

9

Fla.

Calif.

14

9

Hawaii

Colo.

14

8

Mass.

Ga.

14

8

Nev.

Tex.

13

6

N.J.

D.C

12

5

Calif.

Alaska

12

5

D.C

Utah

11

0

Share of the population

living in rural areas

Share of the population

65 or older

Maine

21

%

Maine

61

%

Florida

21

Vermont

61

West Virginia

20

West Virginia

51

Vermont

19

Mississippi

51

Hawaii

19

Montana

44

Delaware

19

Arkansas

44

Montana

19

South Dakota

43

Pennsylvania

18

Kentucky

42

New Hampshire

18

Alabama

41

South Carolina

18

North Dakota

40

Oregon

18

New Hampshire

40

Arizona

18

Iowa

36

New Mexico

18

Wyoming

35

Rhode Island

17

Alaska

34

Connecticut

17

North Carolina

34

Michigan

17

Oklahoma

34

Iowa

17

South Carolina

34

Super

Tuesday

states

in bold

Ohio

17

Tennessee

34

Arkansas

17

Wisconsin

30

Alabama

17

Missouri

30

Wisconsin

17

Idaho

29

Missouri

17

Indiana

28

South Dakota

17

Nebraska

27

Wyoming

17

Louisiana

27

Massachusetts

17

Minnesota

27

New York

16

Kansas

26

Tennessee

16

Michigan

25

North Carolina

16

Georgia

25

Kentucky

16

Virginia

25

New Jersey

16

New Mexico

23

Kansas

16

Ohio

22

Mississippi

16

Pennsylvania

21

Idaho

16

Oregon

19

Minnesota

16

Delaware

17

Nebraska

16

Washington

16

Oklahoma

16

Texas

15

Indiana

16

Colorado

14

Nevada

16

Maryland

13

Illinois

16

New York

12

Virginia

16

Connecticut

12

Washington

16

Illinois

12

Maryland

15

Arizona

10

North Dakota

15

Utah

9

Louisiana

15

Rhode Island

9

California

14

Florida

9

Colorado

14

Hawaii

8

Georgia

14

Massachusetts

8

Texas

13

Nevada

6

D.C.

12

New Jersey

5

Alaska

12

California

5

Utah

11

D.C.

0

Source: Census Bureau (share of population living in rural areas, 2010, and the share of population ages 65 or older, 2018)


Super Tuesday states: Alabama, Arkansas, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee

Similar states: New Mexico, South Carolina

These states are no richer, on average, than the states in the group above. But unlike Maine and Vermont, they have had relatively robust job growth in recent years, and their economic growth has been stronger as well.

These states are mostly in the South and Southwest, and while they are hardly homogeneous, they share certain advantages including a low cost of living and growing (and comparatively youthful) populations.

But they also face challenges, including low rates of college education (North Carolina is an exception) and relatively heavy exposure to the manufacturing sector, which has been struggling recently. And while Raleigh, Charlotte and Nashville are magnets for young graduates and the companies that want to employ them, few other cities in this group fit that description. That raises questions about how well positioned these states are to keep growing in an increasingly technology-driven economy.

Share of jobs that are

goods producing

Share of the population

living in poverty

20

%

22

%

Miss.

Ind.

N.M.

19

Wis.

20

La.

19

Iowa

19

W.Va.

Mich.

18

18

17

18

Ark.

Ala.

Ky.

17

Wyo.

18

Ala.

17

Ky.

18

16

17

D.C

Ark.

Okla.

Miss.

16

17

Tenn.

15

N.D.

17

S.C.

Ohio

15

17

Tex.

15

S.C.

17

Ga.

14

Kan.

16

Mich.

Idaho

14

16

N.C.

Utah

14

16

Ariz.

14

La.

16

Ohio

14

Ore.

16

N.Y.

Okla.

14

16

Fla.

Tenn.

14

16

Mo.

N.C.

13

16

Ind.

S.D.

13

16

S.D.

13

Minn.

15

Mont.

W.Va.

13

15

Nev.

Neb.

13

15

R.I.

13

Tex.

15

Calif.

13

Wash.

15

Ore.

13

Vt.

14

Del.

12

N.H.

14

Pa.

Pa.

12

14

Ill.

12

Mo.

14

Kan.

Ga.

12

14

Idaho

12

Ill.

13

Me.

12

Me.

13

Iowa

Conn.

11

13

Wyo.

11

Calif.

13

Wis.

11

Colo.

13

Neb.

11

Alaska

13

Vt.

11

R.I.

12

Alaska

Ariz.

11

12

Va.

Mont.

11

12

N.D.

N.M.

11

12

Conn.

10

Nev.

12

Wash.

Va.

10

11

Mass.

Mass.

10

11

Minn.

Del.

10

11

Colo.

Fla.

10

10

N.J.

10

Md.

10

Utah

N.J.

9

10

Md.

N.Y.

9

9

Hawaii

9

Hawaii

8

N.H.

8

D.C

2

Share of jobs that are

goods producing

Share of the population

living in poverty

Mississippi

20

%

Indiana

22

%

New Mexico

19

Wisconsin

20

Louisiana

19

Iowa

19

West Virginia

18

Michigan

18

Arkansas

17

Alabama

18

Kentucky

17

Wyoming

18

Alabama

17

Kentucky

18

D.C.

16

Arkansas

17

Oklahoma

16

Mississippi

17

Tennessee

15

North Dakota

17

South Carolina

15

Ohio

17

Texas

15

South Carolina

17

Georgia

14

Kansas

16

Michigan

14

Idaho

16

North Carolina

14

Utah

16

Arizona

14

Louisiana

16

Ohio

14

Oregon

16

New York

14

Oklahoma

16

Florida

14

Tennessee

16

Missouri

13

North Carolina

16

Indiana

13

South Dakota

16

South Dakota

13

Minnesota

15

Montana

13

West Virginia

15

Nevada

13

Nebraska

15

Rhode Island

13

Texas

15

California

13

Washington

15

Oregon

13

Vermont

14

Delaware

12

New Hampshire

14

Pennsylvania

12

Pennsylvania

14

Illinois

12

Missouri

14

Kansas

12

Georgia

14

Idaho

12

Illinois

13

Maine

12

Maine

13

Iowa

11

Connecticut

13

Wyoming

11

California

13

Wisconsin

11

Colorado

13

Nebraska

11

Alaska

13

Vermont

11

Rhode Island

12

Alaska

11

Arizona

12

Virginia

11

Montana

12

North Dakota

11

New Mexico

12

Connecticut

10

Nevada

12

Washington

10

Virginia

11

Massachusetts

10

Massachusetts

11

Minnesota

10

Delaware

11

Colorado

10

Florida

10

New Jersey

10

Maryland

10

Utah

9

New Jersey

10

Maryland

9

New York

9

Hawaii

9

Hawaii

8

New Hampshire

8

D.C.

2

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics (jobs in goods-producing industries as share of all jobs, 2018); Census Bureau (poverty rate, 2018)


Super Tuesday states: Massachusetts, Minnesota, Virginia

Similar states: Illinois, Maryland, New York

This group includes many East Coast states that are traditionally economic powerhouses — but that haven’t looked much like ones in recent years.

Over the long term, these states have a lot going for them. They are generally affluent and well educated, have world-renowned hospitals and universities and contain some of the country’s largest and most vibrant urban areas. They have diversified economies that don’t rely too heavily on manufacturing. Those assets helped them weather the last recession better than many other states.

But job growth in this group has been relatively weak under Mr. Trump, and their broader economic growth has also lagged. High living costs are also taking a toll: Most of the states in this group, including the three voting on Tuesday, have seen a net outflow of residents to the rest of the country in recent years, although immigration has allowed their overall populations to keep growing.

Share of the population

with a college degree

Net domestic migration

as share of the population

D.C

+6.8

%

60

%

Nev.

Mass.

45

Idaho

+6.2

Colo.

+5.2

42

S.C.

Md.

41

Ariz.

+5.1

N.J.

+4.5

41

Ore.

Conn.

+4.3

40

Fla.

Va.

39

Colo.

+4.0

+3.7

Vt.

39

Wash.

N.Y.

37

N.C.

+3.2

+3.2

N.H.

37

Mont.

Minn.

37

Del.

+2.8

Wash.

+2.7

37

Tenn.

+2.6

Ill.

35

Utah

Utah

+2.2

35

Tex.

+2.0

R.I.

Ga.

34

Calif.

Me.

34

+1.4

Ore.

N.H.

+0.9

34

Kan.

34

D.C

+0.6

Hawaii

S.D.

+0.4

34

Neb.

Ark.

+0.4

32

N.C.

Ala.

32

+0.3

0.0

Minn.

Ga.

32

Okla.

–0.2

%

Pa.

32

Ky.

–0.2

Mont.

32

–0.2

Ind.

Me.

32

–0.3

Mo.

Del.

31

–0.6

Wis.

Fla.

30

–0.7

Iowa

Tex.

30

–0.8

Ohio

Alaska

30

–0.8

Neb.

Wis.

30

Vt.

–1.0

Ariz.

30

–1.0

Va.

N.D.

30

–1.0

N.D.

Mich.

30

–1.2

Mich.

Mo.

30

–1.3

Pa.

S.D.

29

N.M.

–1.6

Iowa

29

–1.8

Miss.

Ohio

29

–1.8

Calif.

S.C.

28

–1.8

R.I.

N.M.

28

Mass.

–2.0

Idaho

28

–2.1

Md.

Tenn.

27

–2.2

W.Va.

Ind.

27

La.

–2.2

Wyo.

27

–2.4

Kan.

Okla.

26

Wyo.

–3.2

Ala.

26

N.J.

–3.3

Nev.

25

–3.6

Conn.

Ky.

25

Hawaii

–4.2

La.

24

Ill.

–4.3

Ark.

23

–4.6

N.Y.

Miss.

23

–6.0

Alaska

W.Va.

21

Share of the population with a

college degree

Net domestic migration

as share of the population

D.C.

60

%

Nevada

+6.8

%

Massachusetts

45

Idaho

+6.2

Colorado

42

South Carolina

+5.2

Maryland

41

Arizona

+5.1

New Jersey

41

Oregon

+4.5

Connecticut

40

Florida

+4.3

Virginia

39

Colorado

+4.0

Vermont

39

Washington

+3.7

New York

37

North Carolina

+3.2

New Hampshire

37

Montana

+3.2

Minnesota

37

Delaware

+2.8

Washington

37

Tennessee

+2.7

Illinois

35

Utah

+2.6

+2.2

Utah

35

Texas

+2.0

Rhode Island

34

Georgia

+1.4

California

34

Maine

+0.9

Oregon

34

New Hampshire

+0.6

Kansas

34

D.C.

+0.4

Hawaii

34

South Dakota

+0.4

Nebraska

32

Arkansas

+0.3

North Carolina

32

Alabama

0.0

Minnesota

Georgia

32

–0.2

%

Oklahoma

Pennsylvania

32

–0.2

Kentucky

Montana

32

–0.2

Indiana

Maine

32

–0.3

Missouri

Delaware

31

–0.6

Wisconsin

Florida

30

–0.7

Iowa

Texas

30

–0.8

Ohio

Alaska

30

–0.8

Nebraska

Wisconsin

30

–1.0

Vermont

Arizona

30

–1.0

Virginia

North Dakota

30

–1.0

North Dakota

Michigan

30

–1.2

Michigan

Missouri

30

–1.3

Pennsylvania

South Dakota

29

–1.6

New Mexico

Iowa

29

–1.8

Mississippi

Ohio

29

–1.8

California

South Carolina

28

–1.8

Rhode Island

New Mexico

28

–2.0

Massachusetts

Idaho

28

–2.1

Maryland

Tennessee

27

–2.2

West Virginia

Indiana

27

–2.2

Louisiana

Wyoming

27

–2.4

Kansas

Oklahoma

26

–3.2

Wyoming

Alabama

26

–3.3

New Jersey

Nevada

25

–3.6

Connecticut

Kentucky

25

–4.2

Hawaii

Louisiana

24

–4.3

Illinois

Arkansas

23

–4.6

New York

Mississippi

23

–6.0

Alaska

West Virginia

21

Source: Census Bureau (share of population ages 25-plus with at least a bachelor’s degree, 2018, and net domestic migration, 2015-19 as share of 2014 population)


Super Tuesday states: California, Colorado, Texas, Utah

Similar states: Arizona, Oregon, Washington

These states have been the winners in the 21st-century economy. They are already affluent, yet are still adding jobs at an impressive clip, with many of the jobs coming in high-paying, fast-growing sectors like technology and health care. These states for the most part have young, diverse and fast-growing populations, with a large number of immigrants. They are the beneficiaries of a virtuous circle: Their thriving cities attract young college graduates and skilled workers, which attract the companies that want to employ them, which attract more workers drawn by job opportunities.

But that kind of success brings challenges. California’s cities are dealing with a sky-high cost of living, nightmarish traffic jams and a full-blown housing crisis, leading some residents to abandon the state. Seattle, Denver and Salt Lake City are dealing with similar problems, albeit on a different scale.

Outside their big metropolitan areas, these states are dealing with many of the same issues — aging populations, lackluster job growth — that states in other categories are facing. Elected officials, policymakers and nonprofit groups are struggling to ensure that their states’ economic success isn’t leaving lower-income areas and residents behind.

Jobs in information sector

as share of all jobs

Change in population

+16.6

%

Wash.

3.9

%

D.C

+15.5

Calif.

3.2

Utah

N.Y.

2.8

Tex.

+14.9

Colo.

Colo.

2.7

+14.1

Utah

Nev.

+14.0

2.5

Ga.

Fla.

+14.0

2.5

Mass.

Idaho

+13.8

2.5

D.C

Ariz.

+13.6

2.4

Conn.

N.D.

1.9

+12.9

+12.9

N.H.

1.8

Wash.

+11.1

Ore.

1.8

S.C.

+9.9

N.C.

1.8

Ore.

Mo.

1.7

N.C.

+9.5

Neb.

Ga.

1.7

+9.3

Alaska

1.7

S.D.

+8.4

Va.

1.7

Del.

+8.2

N.J.

1.7

Mont.

+7.9

Minn.

1.7

Tenn.

+7.5

Ariz.

1.7

Va.

+6.4

Tex.

1.6

Minn.

+6.2

Wis.

1.6

Calif.

+5.9

Fla.

1.6

Neb.

+5.7

Ill.

1.5

Okla.

+5.2

Tenn.

Mass.

1.5

+5.0

N.D.

Md.

1.4

+4.4

Pa.

1.4

Hawaii

+3.8

N.M.

1.4

Ind.

+3.7

Iowa

1.4

Iowa

+3.4

Hawaii

1.4

Ark.

+3.3

Vt.

1.4

N.H.

+3.3

1.3

+2.7

Md.

Ky.

1.3

+2.5

Kan.

Wyo.

1.3

+2.5

Mont.

Alaska

S.C.

1.3

Ala.

+2.5

S.D.

1.3

Mo.

+2.4

Ohio

1.3

Wis.

+2.3

Mich.

1.3

La.

+2.3

Wyo.

1.3

Kan.

+1.9

Idaho

1.2

N.M.

+1.6

R.I.

1.2

Ohio

+1.3

Okla.

1.2

Me.

+1.2

Me.

1.2

Mich.

+1.1

La.

1.2

N.J.

+0.9

Ky.

Pa.

1.1

+0.7

W.Va.

R.I.

1.1

+0.5

Nev.

N.Y.

1.1

+0.3

Ala.

Miss.

1.0

+0.2

Miss.

Vt.

1.0

–0.3

%

Ind.

Conn.

0.9

–0.4

Del.

0.9

–1.3

Ill.

Ark.

0.9

–3.3

W.Va.

Jobs in information sector

as share of all jobs

Change in population

Washington

3.9

%

D.C.

+16.6

%

California

3.2

Utah

+15.5

New York

2.8

Texas

+14.9

Colorado

2.7

Colorado

+14.1

Utah

2.5

Nevada

+14.0

Georgia

2.5

Florida

+14.0

Massachusetts

2.5

Idaho

+13.8

D.C.

2.4

Arizona

+13.6

Connecticut

1.9

North Dakota

+12.9

New Hampshire

1.8

Washington

+12.9

Oregon

1.8

South Carolina

+11.1

North Carolina

1.8

Oregon

+9.9

Missouri

1.7

North Carolina

+9.5

Nebraska

1.7

Georgia

+9.3

Alaska

1.7

South Dakota

+8.4

Virginia

1.7

Delaware

+8.2

New Jersey

1.7

Montana

+7.9

Minnesota

1.7

Tennessee

+7.5

Arizona

1.7

Virginia

+6.4

Texas

1.6

Minnesota

+6.2

Wisconsin

1.6

California

+5.9

Florida

1.6

Nebraska

+5.7

Illinois

1.5

Oklahoma

+5.2

Tennessee

1.5

Massachusetts

+5.0

North Dakota

1.4

Maryland

+4.4

Pennsylvania

1.4

Hawaii

+3.8

New Mexico

1.4

Indiana

+3.7

Iowa

1.4

Iowa

+3.4

Hawaii

1.4

Arkansas

+3.3

Vermont

1.4

New Hampshire

+3.3

Maryland

1.3

Kentucky

+2.7

Kansas

1.3

Wyoming

+2.5

Montana

1.3

Alaska

+2.5

South Carolina

1.3

Alabama

+2.5

South Dakota

1.3

Missouri

+2.4

Ohio

1.3

Wisconsin

+2.3

Michigan

1.3

Louisiana

+2.3

Wyoming

1.3

Kansas

+1.9

Idaho

1.2

New Mexico

+1.6

Rhode Island

1.2

Ohio

+1.3

Oklahoma

1.2

Maine

+1.2

Maine

1.2

Michigan

+1.1

Louisiana

1.2

New Jersey

+0.9

Kentucky

1.1

Pennsylvania

+0.7

West Virginia

1.1

Rhode Island

+0.5

Nevada

1.1

New York

+0.3

Alabama

1.0

Mississippi

+0.2

Mississippi

1.0

–0.3

%

Vermont

Indiana

0.9

–0.4

Connecticut

Delaware

0.9

–1.3

Illinois

Arkansas

0.9

–3.3

West Virginia

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics (jobs in information sector as share of all jobs, 2018); Census Bureau (percentage change in population, 2010-2019)

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