Chicago is One Kind of Town

The geographical resorting of America continues apace–the separation of peoples based broadly on ideology. You see this population movement on both coasts, accentuated by the pandemic and remote work.

It’s about other things, of course–costs, space, weather–but it’s a lot about politics. And after Tuesday’s mayoral election result in Chicago (, we can expect more resorting in the middle of the country. A majority of the closely-divided city electorate chose a higher-tax, less-policing candidate backed by most of the powerful public-employee unions. On top of the immediate worries that conservative Chicagoans might have, there’s the ongoing pensions deficit that the city, Cook County and the state of Illinois (also dominated by Democrats of the left) are running, which is a lien on taxpayers who hang around.

Unless attempts succeed to garnish the higher income of fleeing residents (moves under consideration in a few states), or a bailout from Washington is forthcoming, Illinoisans-in-place are squarely under this cloud. So the movement into “two Americas” can expect another rush. I don’t know whether this pace and degree of separation is unprecedented (obviously blacks had reason to escape the Antebellum and Jim Crow South) or necessarily harmful on balance in such an already-sundered society, but it is happening nonetheless.

This piece first appeared on Tim W. Ferguson blog.

Tim W. Ferguson, the former editor of Forbes’s Asia edition, writes about business, economics and society.