Part of Detroit’s decline is the result of the South’s rise as an automobile manufacturing center. The foreign carmakers that have plants in the South have grabbed some of the market share that was once Detroit’s. But the focus on the South’s relative success has also obscured another trend: in absolute economic terms, much of the South is doing pretty terribly right now.
Despite the dire numbers, the South is expected to rebound and even if people needed to leave the region for a job, they are stuck in a collapsing real estate market. However, that also means that less talent will be relocating to the Sun Belt when the economy begins to recover. I still expect to see some geographic shake up.