In-migration, maps, crime, monorail, and housing affordability
Finishing off the small miscellaneous items I wasn't able to get to at the beginning of last week:
- On an absolute numbers basis, Texas is attracting the second-highest inbound moving vans minus outbound moving vans according to United Van Lines, just behind North Carolina. They also look at inbound-to-outbound ratios, where we drop to #16. Most of the rankings made sense to me, with the exception of Florida, which somehow has slightly more outbound than inbound - not what I would expect in such a fast growing state. Might be a temporary reaction to the 2005 hurricane season.
- Continuing on our popularity, I was surprised to find Houston in the top 8 most popular cities being researched at Sperling's Best Places, along with Portland, Austin, Seattle, Denver, Atlanta, San Diego, and Phoenix. Surprised DFW wasn't there, but that may be more of a multi-municipality problem (people researching Dallas and Ft. Worth separately) that an actual lack of popularity.
- Some very cool 3D maps of the world with mountain ranges/spikes based on economic activity. Houston has a very nice spike, although it's based on ancient 1990 data.
- From the Grits for Breakfast blog, an interesting slide show on crime and the Texas justice system, with some intriguing maps of Houston starting on p.34.
- A NY Times story on the collapsing ridership and rapidly deteriorating financial position of the privately-owned Las Vegas monorail. From the map, it looks like it runs on the same route where an older, slower monorail used to run when I was in Vegas many years ago. I remember it being incredibly inconvenient and painful to use, because it dropped you off at the back of each casino, and the casino has a strong incentive to trap you there, rather than giving any easy or clear route to the Strip. You could easily spend 10-15 minutes just trying to navigate through the casino. At that point, you probably would have just been better off with a front-door to front-door ride in a taxi, or even just walking the Strip. Their solution is to try and double-down by extending the line to the airport, which is considered very financially risky.
- Demographia has released their 3rd Annual International Housing Affordability Survey. Their basic statistic is the median home price divided by the median income, with a healthy level being around 3. Houston has a very nice 2.9, and gets some praise in the report. Much of California is a crazy-high 8 to 11. England and Australia also have very high ratios. Definitely worth a browse. (thanks to Hugh for the heads up)