To grow or not to grow

URI economist Len Ladaro has a post on his blog addressing the population growth in Rhode Island – or the lack there of.

A preferable way to view population change is to examine what has been happening each year for the last several years. Sadly for Rhode Island, annual population has fallen every year since July of 2004! Rhode Island was the only state with the dubious distinction of having such a long streak of population declines. So, looking at population change in a more relevant context than it has recently been viewed here, Rhode Island’s population is falling.

The professor doesn’t address possible causes for the trend, but the timeline fits nicely with our hypothesis that the elimination of the estate tax in Florida was a significant driver.

Continue reading here, including a graph that nicely illustrates the point.


2 responses to “To grow or not to grow

  1. Non-native Rhody Resident

    Maybe you should gather more evidence for your theories before presenting them as proof for the reasons that most persons leaving RI are due exclusively to the estate tax. As one example, this article makes some valid points: ttp://

    Although the estate tax may have some impact, overall, my opinion is that the main reasons people are leaving Rhode Island is because it is too expensive to live here–aside from estate taxes–taxes in general in Rhode Island are some of the highest in the country. Not to mention the abject poverty here; the unemployment rate and lack of jobs; lack of workers rights in low paying jobs–the low wages paid by employers; the corruption of government and city officials; the conditions of the roads; the slow paced bureaucratic powers; the cutting of education programs and other public service programs…um, gee, I could go on and on with this. But I don’t think ANY of you would get it.

    I can’t afford to live here anymore, and I don’t earn a lot. Your state budget cuts have affected businesses, such as the one I work for, so badly, that I can barely afford to make ends meet. I have lived in many other states, and never in my life have I earned so little for a days work than I have since I’ve lived here. Estate taxes? Really? Oh, my, the rich just have it so terribly bad in this country and in this state particularly. If it is estate taxes that are chasing off the rich, then it’s your own damn fault Rhode Island.

    Continue to cater to the rich in this state, and continue to blame the indigent. It seems to be working so well for Rhode Island. So well in fact, you can consider my household to be included in those population decline numbers in the coming year. Good riddance.

    • thanks for your interest – but you should read the report. We did identify several factors contributing to the exodus – although, the estate tax is certainly the straw that broke the camels back. And you are an example of what we found in our extended version of the report to be released next week – that once people with major wealth leave (and they take their job producing resources with them), then many others leave because of the lack of opportunity. Thanks again, Good luck.

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