Phil Hauck, Envision Board member

Keep an eye on the results of the 2020 Census as they are published – and think about how they might affect Green Bay. For example, more and more articles document U.S. workers moving from high cost, high problem areas to lower cost, low problem areas. Why can’t Green Bay be one of them? The idea of making major moves from the East or West Coast to Green Bay certainly isn’t a trend (yet!), but the logic behind such moves makes our community a possible destination.

In the past year, high cost/high problem San Francisco and New York City lost a lot of workers, but studies show many of them were technology workers moving to Austin and other similar cities or to smaller towns not far from away in order to remain close to friends and relatives.  But other studies do show that the trend to the Midwest is real.  Recently I’ve heard anecdotal stories of Californians moving to Madison.

And those making the move are just the right demographic: young people with good jobs or good talents, often with families – the ones we’d want to move here. While the pandemic has accelerated the shift, it was actually well established before then, as urban housing costs and taxes rose, and congestion increased. Clearly, the significant trend of remote work can be a boon for us. Workers can now live in low cost/low problem areas like ours and still have the high-paying jobs they did before, without the attendant higher living costs and irritations.

We’ve already reported the study by Oliver Buechse and Paul Linzmeyer that analyzed weather and other statistics related to climate change and found that conditions are superb for Northeast Wisconsin generally and Green Bay particularly to benefit – maybe significantly – from the wish to migrate away from those problems: hurricanes, tornadoes, drought, and high costs.  Yes, we have snow and cold, but we know how to deal with them.  We know that Green Bay, more than most U.S. municipalities, offers families the chance for a solid economic footing.

Now, how to promote ourselves in those high cost/high problem areas to get younger people and their families to take a look at us? Keep your eye on the signals coming from the 2020 Census and watch for such trends to develop.