Why some Americans are leaving California for Texas | Voice of America
LOS ANGELES – The two most populous states in the United States, California and Texas, have long competed for business and talent. Data from the 2020 U.S. Census shows that Texas is attracting more people, including Californians.
Texans have a saying, “Everything is bigger in Texas”. By size, it is the largest state in the contiguous United States. There are many reasons why the population of the state is also increasing.
“Your quality of life is so much better here in Austin,” said Alex Backus, who moved with his teenage daughter from San Jose, Calif. To the Texas capital almost two years ago.
Backus has traveled back and forth between the two states over the years. He said that while it lacked the outdoors and warm weather in the California Bay Area, this is not a financially supportive place for young adults like his daughter.
“Most of the kids that are in Bay Area and graduate, they kind of need to leave Bay Area because it’s so expensive. Austin to go to college and start his life, ”Backus explained.
Correlation between states
“They each have a unique history. Both were ruled by Spain and Mexico. They both have a kind of nation-state identity unlike any other state,” said Bill Fulton, director of the Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research. Houston.
Fulton moved to Texas from California for his current job. He studied migration patterns between the two states using census data and noticed a correlation.
“When house prices in California go up, more people move to Texas. When house prices in California go down, fewer people move to Texas,” Fulton said.
Census and Policy
While California still has 10 million more residents than Texas, each state’s migration patterns have continued for years and Texas has won the popularity contest, according to the 2020 census results.
For the first time in the state’s history, California, a Democratic stronghold, lost a seat in the US Congress determined by the state’s population. Republican-leaning Texas, the biggest winner of the 50 states, won two seats.
While the impact will be felt in Washington, Fulton said its political importance depends on who moves from California to Texas – whether it’s conservative Republicans who don’t like liberal-leaning California with its tax. of state and more regulations, or California Democrats looking. for better opportunities in Texas.
“It may well be that a flow from California to Texas will increase the likelihood that at some point in the future Texas will turn blue. And if so, of course, that’s good news for them. Democrats and bad news for Republicans nationwide because then the two largest states are locked down to be Democratic states. But it would still be a long way off if that happened, “Fulton said.
Impact of the pandemic
During the pandemic, the exodus from expensive states like California and New York accelerated. States with lower cost of living, including Texas and Florida, are seeing an influx of new residents, said Eric Willett, Los Angeles-based, director of research and thought leadership for the South Pacific division. West of the commercial real estate company CBRE.
He studied the impact of the pandemic on people’s decisions to move by examining data from the US Postal Service. People who work from home tend to see across the United States moving out of denser urban areas into the suburbs.
“Whether it’s a backyard or an extra bedroom, these types of living environments have become much more in demand during the pandemic,” Willett said.
City dwellers who have moved tend to be young, well-off, highly educated and childless.
While Willett found that most Californians who moved did so within the state, the migration patterns of people who chose to leave the state were consistent with pre-pandemic trends.
“The states that experienced the most emigration last year are also the states that experienced the most emigration in 2019. It was just an accelerated route of emigration,” said Willett.
Elon Musk, co-founder of Tesla and SpaceX, moved last year from California to Texas, where his business priorities lie.
Tesla Cybertruck and SpaceX’s spaceport are in Texas. Technology companies Oracle and HP Inc., as well as CBRE, have moved their headquarters to Texas. Japanese automaker Toyota has also chosen to relocate its North American headquarters from California to Texas, which is not only known for its spacious accommodations and lower cost of living, but also for its conducive business environment.
Nicknamed “Silicon Hills,” Austin has been an attractive location for many tech companies.
“There is no doubt that Texas has less trade regulations than California,” said Fulton.
Texas may be popular, but Willett said that doesn’t mean there’s a massive exodus of business from California.
“More and more companies are looking to diversify their talent base, and California is a mature market in many sectors. And it makes sense that these companies are looking elsewhere to continue to expand their access to talent, ”said Willett.
“Facebook and Google are constantly fighting for more than a million square feet (92,903 square meters) downtown office space. They’re looking for additional properties, and it seems every company is trying to expand their presence here to Austin, “said Job Hammond of the Austin Board of Realtors.
Hammond, originally from northern California, moved to Austin 14 years ago when he moved for Oracle, then an employer. He is now a relocation expert helping people from other cities find accommodation in Austin.
“They all seemingly want the same sort of thing – a good quality of life, a reasonable price in terms of housing, and in some cases avoid state income tax,” Hammond said.
Texas Realtors, the state-level association of real estate agents, reported that in the first quarter of 2021, the median selling price of single-family homes in the state reached $ 275,000.
In contrast, the California Association of Realtors reported that the median price of a single-family home in the state in March was $ 758,990.
“A California family will cash in on their home equity to get a bigger home in Texas, and they likely won’t reverse that trend,” Fulton said.
Foreign investors are also taking notice of Texas. Hammond has helped investors from Malaysia, Nepal, China, Europe and Mexico find properties.
“I was on the phone around midnight with someone in Shanghai who is interested in not having cash in the bank because she is worried about things like inflation,” Hammond said.
Backus enjoyed the live music and arts scene in Austin and started surfing Lake Austin.
But Texas summers are much hotter than they are in Northern California, with its milder climate, diverse geography, and plenty of opportunities for biking and outdoor activities, which is lacking in Backus.
“I still have my house there. It’s rented there, and I wonder if I should keep it, because I might want to go back there. I miss skiing on snow,” he said. .