Ever since the pandemic hit, a large number of Americans have opted to go to states like Florida and Texas. States that are “red states” and vote Republican in presidential elections, at least lately (Florida used to be a swing state). I get it, more freedom and less COVID restrictions for the most part. As much as I loved NYC, the restrictions and the overbearing government due to COVID had driven me away to Florida. While it felt great, nothing in life is perfect.
You must also note that there is a huge difference between states like Texas and Florida versus states like say an Alabama. Even in red states, the most fun places tend to be cities that lean heavily blue. Miami is thankfully somewhat more to the center thanks to the Cuban population but it is far from being even remotely red like the rest of this state. For those of you considering a move, choose your red state carefully because there are also quite a lot of downfalls to living in red states. Thankfully, I picked a good city in a red state.
I grew up in a state that was solidly red for decades as it came to presidential elections so I come with some expertise around this topic, having seen red state and blue state life at its worst. Here are some of the downfalls.
The cliquishness and difficulty of making new friends unless you are a devout Christian.
Most people in red states make their friends growing up and stick with those circles throughout life. If you are not a devout Christian, it is tough to make friends. Majority of all people are not like the twenty-somethings in NYC who will invite a non-sketchy stranger to have drinks with them at all. In a lot of states in the Deep South, it is taboo to make friendships with strangers. The best avenue is the Church but even that comes with some complications.
It’s a good ole boys club.
If you are a woman or a minority moving to most red states, you would be wise to not preach loudly against how white men run everything. As you have seen in a number of movies, the good ole country boy and Southern Gentlemen types run the show in a lot of these places. When my friend worked in the business world in a southern city, he had a tough time getting promoted because he was an Asian guy from California. White guys who used to be in southern fraternities got the promotion over him even when he did a better job because that’s just how it’s always been for most people down there. Similarly, dating is also tough if you are not a part of that bubble.
You will face some backlash for being “different”, they are not the most welcoming places.
Yes, we can all admit that liberals and Democrats can be quite racist but don’t think that this means that most people in red states are all of a sudden accepting of someone who is different. The truth is, if you are either gay/trans/bi, foreign looking (Asian, Hispanic, brown, etc.), and not a Christian? You will face a lot of prejudice and in some cases nasty looks in those states. People already hate Californians and New Yorkers flooding up their state due to the pandemic and they are not shy about showing that hate either. In other words, do not expect a warm welcome, especially if you are heading to southern states that are not Florida or Texas.
Church life is not as moral as you would think, at least those in it.
I was raised a Christian and I still consider myself a Christian for the most part. While I try to read the Bible, knowing I cannot realistically abide by everything written in it, I have learned not to take most Christians at face value especially if they are from the south. Let me put it this way, the more someone preaches about a certain sin and is passionately against it, the more likely they have done that sin or are actively doing it. If some guy at a Church gets upset around adultery in a passionate way? You can bet he is cheating on his wife. Just an example for all of you here but also a heads up if you do get involved with the Church itself. While good Christians can be found, I have not found them to be the majority.
It’s a different kind of virtue signaling, more like moral signaling.
I made that word up but you get a different kind of virtue signaling in red states, I like to call it moral signaling. In blue states, we are all too used to people pretending to like minorities and be their passionate champions just so they be seen as virtuous in the eyes of others. In red states, people will pretend to avoid alcohol, pre-marital sex, and be harshly judgmental of anyone not living life by the Bible to elevate their own status. Just how plenty of virtue signaling people are racist, lots of these moral signaling folks will do all of the vices when no one is looking while judging the world for it.
Most of them are pretty fucking poor.
As you can see, there is a lot of poverty in red states than compared to blue states. With poverty comes crime and as you can see, red states are more represented here too. I have a friend from Louisiana who talks about how bad crime is in a lot of the big cities and as someone who has visited New Orleans, it is not a safe city. Go to a lot of the south and very little of it is nice mansions or safe suburbs, most of it is trailer parks and ghettos. Southern states also lead the way with the highest obesity rates.
Not all have generous state income taxes.
Yes, states likes Florida, Tennessee, and Texas have no state income tax but this isn’t true for a lot of red states. As you can see in the chart here, a lot of red states have a personal income tax of above 5%. You can move to Pennsylvania and pay a lower state income tax than you would in Alabama. Do you research on the taxes beforehand instead of moving to a state right away.
You would be surprised to find how blue some can be, or close to being blue.
As you look on the map here, you can see how a lot of southern states are blue in many areas. In fact, Georgia went blue in the 2020 election and could very well elect a Democrat governor this year given how weak the Republican Party there is. Culturally, you can assume that Atlanta is practically a trashier version of San Francisco with some religious fanatics thrown in. Now I do have to note that a lot of this is also because the south has the highest black population out of anywhere else in the US.
Am I telling you not to move?
If you are like me and were fed up with life in a blue state due to how terrible the politicians are and how much they have infringed on personal freedoms, move. Get the hell out of your area and find a good place that you like more. What I am telling you instead is that you should think twice instead of just rushing into a state because it is a red state. You might also benefit from moving to a part of your state that is also more red leaning to ease the transition if that is your preference.