One of the great migrations of Americans was from Dust Bowl Oklahoma to California during the Great Depression. People came from all over the parched plains to California; South Dakotans, Nebraskans, Oklahomans and others. But only one group had a name. No one called them Dakoties, nor Nebies, but they did call them “Okies.” Their legacy was spread by John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath. Indeed, so many came to California that it enacted an “anti-Okie” law, which was duly set aside by the United States Supreme Court (Edwards v. the People of California).
How things change. A Sacramento Bee article reports on the migration of Californians to, of all places Oklahoma and nearby states. For decades, Oklahoma has been the ultimate of “flyover country,” one of the last places people on the coast would think of moving to. Yet, as I pointed out in 2005, Oklahoma has become more competitive, at least partially because its advantages in housing costs and hassle free commuting. Moreover, it’s more than Californians. Seattle, which lost home-grown Boeing to Chicago some years ago, lost its NBA “Supersonics” to Oklahoma City last year. Having spent most of my life on the coast, I never would have imagined that Oklahoma City would become competitive with California and Seattle. But it has.