Portland: Where Young White Liberals Go to Retire
September 16, 2014, 06:37 PM
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Portland has the whitest “core city” in America, so it continues to attract young liberal white people who want to live an urban life without many blacks and Mexicans around. This is continuing to happen even though there aren’t many jobs in Portland. Claire Cain Miller writes in the NYT:

Will Portland Always Be a Retirement Community for the Young?

Portland has taken hold of the cultural imagination as, to borrow the tag line from “Portlandia,” the place where young people go to retire. And for good reason: The city has nearly all the perks that economists suggest lead to a high quality of life — coastlines, mountains, mild winters and summers, restaurants, cultural institutions and clean air. (Fortunately, college-educated people don’t value sunshine as much as they used to.)

To some extent this is due to the proliferation of glowing screens, but I suspect a big part is Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s Law of Distance from the Canadian Border: school test scores correlate at a moderately high level with distance of the state capital from the Canadian border. It must be the ice hockey …

In reality, the climate in Los Angeles remains a lot better than in Portland — in fact, Los Angeles’s outdoors have improved dramatically since white people were pouring into L.A. fifty years ago, due to the virtual elimination of smog. But nice white people have convinced themselves that liking sunny, mild, low humidity, no mosquitos weather was some kind of weird Mad Men-era delusion, because they don’t want to think about the real reasons for why Portland is now fashionable and Los Angeles isn’t. (It couldn’t possibly have anything to do with L.A. being the least white metro area in the country! No, it’s just that our upper middle class has come to rightfully appreciate the joys of six months straight of drizzle.)