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While the other two coasts struggle with economic stagnation and dysfunctional politics, the Third Coast — the urbanized, broadly coastal region spanning the Gulf from Brownsville, Texas, to greater Tampa — is emerging as a center of industry, innovation, and economic growth.

Together, Houston and Tampa have gained more than 1.5 million people over the course of the decade; in fact, in 2008 and 2009, net domestic migration to Houston was the highest of any major metropolitan area. An examination of migration flows to Houston, New Orleans, and Tampa by Praxis Strategy Group, where I work as a senior consultant, shows that many of their new citizens are coming from the East and West Coasts, especially New York and California.

The region’s job-creation engine is powered by the growth of basic industries: manufacturing, energy, and agricultural commodities. The region from south Texas to Florida now bristles with scores of new steel plants, petrochemical facilities, and factories producing everything from airplanes to canned food. Along with the Great Plains and the Intermountain West, the Gulf Coast has enjoyed a huge boost from energy and other commodity growth.

Unfortunately, this growth has in it the seeds of its own destruction, as the newcomers from California and New York bring with them the growth-killing political orientation that has laid low the places they left. And besides, it's just too damn hot and humid to live there.

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