OPINION — One of my favorite conservative publications, National Review, has devoted nearly its entire April 19, 2021 issue to an exodus from California. People may be leaving California, but data for all states from reliable sources on the Internet are difficult to find for 2020.

Two states in particular are boasting significant population growth – Idaho and Arizona. South Dakota, according World Population Review, shows a growth rate of 1.17%, ranking us 11th in the country. South Dakota’s population is estimated at 896,581, they say.

US News says the Census Bureau estimates California, Connecticut and Hawaii are among 16 states that lost population in 2020. New York is estimated to have lost the most population at 0.65% with Illinois close behind.

Of course, South Dakota and all the states in flyover country would love to see people from California come to our part of the world. By all means, hit Interstate 90 and check out the fine restaurants and beautiful scenery in and around Spearfish. Deadwood is a fun place where you can experience Vegas-like gaming and entertainment.

Rapid City has plenty to do. Of course, there are the Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse mountain carvings. Blue Ribbon trout streams wind their way through the entire Black Hills. Take I-90 east to Wall and get a donut and ice water. Continue east to the spectacular Missouri River for world-class guided walleye fishing and waterfowl hunting.

The beginning of August offers up a Corvette Rally, Mustang Rally, and of course you can join the hundreds of thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts who come annually for the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, where folks park their American-made V-Twin bikes on Main Street Sturgis and spend hours walking, talking and gawking. Sturgis Rally evenings are filled with nightly concerts from world-class artists.

Along the way, take a day to take in the Badlands and learn about Native American culture at Pine Ridge and Rosebud Indian Reservations. Later in the year, you can take in some famous guided pheasant hunts from Winner to Mitchell. Buy your first firearm at Cabela’s in Rapid City or Mitchell.

Everything about South Dakota should be refreshing to anyone from one of the big cities from which Californians wish to escape. The state’s budget is balanced. We do not have unfunded government retirement programs. Our state government is even more lop-sided to the right than yours is to the left. Because we have far fewer people in our state than you have in several single municipalities, we don’t have many politicians to deal with.

We have areas of actual, clean wide-open spaces. We have several wineries, a couple distilleries and numerous craft breweries. We’ve got golf courses galore. If you’re sports fan, you can take in great games at any local high school or American Legion post baseball field. Our State A and B High School Basketball Tournaments are as exciting as most college games by any reasonable person’s standards and admission to those games is far more reasonable than anything the NBA or NFL might have to offer.

In short, if you decide to leave California and come to South Dakota, you are welcome to come here and spend your money, enjoy our hospitality, and see how the gun-toting conservative other half lives here in the middle of nowhere.

Maybe you can move your business here, and maybe you can hire some of our people and learn about the highly regarded high plains work ethic. If you would like to bring your condescending ultra-left political correctness and tax-and-spend policies, we will be happy to direct you south to Interstate 80, which you can swiftly take straight west all the way back to Sacramento.

Michael Sanborn writes from Rapid City.

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