We had some fun recently with New York Times’ columnist Charles M. Blow’s call for blacks to flee the big Democratic cities of the North and move to the South, all in the name of liberating the South from Republicans.
But, to be more empathetic toward Blow, I suspect he’s mostly riffing on a political rationalization for doing what he’s been wanting to do for a long time for reasons of personal happiness. As a commenter pointed out, he’s a Southern boy from northern Louisiana. He recently turned 50 and has a nice job he can do from home. And so, being tired of the New York City rat race, he moved to Atlanta and got a house with a yard. Good for him.
A lot of research suggests that humans tend to imprint on the landscape where they lived from age 10 to 15 or so, and feel most at home in that kind of place.
I noticed in casino king Sheldon Adelson’s obituary, that he owned homes in Malibu, Las Vegas, Tel Aviv, and Boston. Why Boston? Sheldon didn’t seem all that collegiate. Well, Boston is where he grew up. I think that’s pretty common among the super-rich to maintain a house in their hometowns. Warren Buffett’s connection to Omaha is famous, but note also that Jeff Bezos is in love with rather bleak West Texas because he spent happy summers on his maternal grandparents’ ranch there.
I would guess that latitude tends to be more important than longitude in terms of what’s a good substitute for “home.” Atlanta, for example, is a lot further east than Gibsland, LA, but it’s about the same latitude, which has big impact on vegetation, weather, etc.
Migration of farmers in the 19th Century tended to be along latitude lines so they could use their expertise at growing crops attuned to a particular length of growing season in their new homes. But what about in an information economy where you aren’t a farmer?
Now, here’s a question: Besides the nurture impact of where you lived around puberty, is there any nature effect of where your ancestors evolved? Charles M. Blow’s ancestors evolved in a hot climate of Africa and then a warm climate of the American South. Is the Reverse Great Migration of blacks from the North to the South that’s slowly happening driven not just by economic reasons as well as individual homesickness, but also by hereditary acclimation that makes blacks more comfortable at lower latitudes?
What about Europeans? Are there Finns who grew up in Florida who pine for the high latitudes? I can’t think of too many examples, but it’s a possibility.