>America’s fastest-growing suburbs
The migration to the Sunbelt continues. Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and southern California comprise the Sunbelt. The Sunbelt area has fewer cloudy days than many other areas of the country, hence the moniker, “Sunbelt.”
Granted, the community of Lincoln, CA., is located on the fringe of the Sunbelt, but its growth seems to be due to emigrants of southern California. Lincoln grew by 236%, which amounts to almost 30,000 people. Gilbert, AZ., grew by almost 115,000 people.
The Sunbelt, while being a beautiful place to live, if you like arid conditions, and that is just it – arid, is also a DESERT. And the population density (the number of people per unit area) of the area continues to grow. Water resources are already stretched beyond recharge rates for the region (the ability of the hydrologic cycle to recharge or replenish itself). The increase in population also requires more schools and improved infrastructure. Growth seems to be happening so fast that it is outpacing the bureaucracy designed to manage the growth.
Sprawl is another issue associated with this growth. Sprawl is the encroachment of urban areas into rural space. Rather than grow “up” urban areas grow “out.” The outward growth can consume farmland, which rarely returns to farmland, essentially lost. In a desert environment, this might be less of an issue. However, sprawl can consume flora and fauna habitats. Sprawl also requires an increase in capacity and transmission distance. Utilities must be pulled farther out into the urban hinterland.
Another interesting note is the tone of relativity. Housing is more affordable and there is more housing. People seem to be growing weary of the press of humanity around them in southern California. The value they receive for their property also seems an issue. In other urban areas, people receive a better value for the same dollar. An recent article in The New York Time’s, “In Silicon Valley, Millionaires Who Don’t Feel Rich” several people mentioned in the article, whose net worths are in excess of $2 million dollars, feel as if millions of dollars in the bank is not enough to maintain their standard of living. One comments that they could live elsewhere and “live like a prince.” The cost of keeping up with the Jones’, when the Jones’ are millionaires, creates an environment whereby having more than enough seems like not having enough, and, as a result, people lose contact with the “real” world around them.