People Moving From California are Choosing Texas as Their Top Destination


Jobs, Taxes, Cost of Living – Why Many Californians are Purchasing One-Way Tickets to Texas

The relocation sweeping the (West of our) nation One of the most interesting trends from the 2019 United Van Lines’ National Movers Study and reports throughout the year is the hefty migration that’s happening between California and Texas. In 2019, of people who moved out of California, 7% of movers relocated to Texas. In comparison, the next most popular state that Californians moved to was Arizona with just 2.8%. Based on some reports, over the last 10 years, nearly one million people have transplanted from California, into Texas. So, naturally, we decided to take a closer look at why this is happening.

What the numbers show

In 2018, California ranked #1 in our United Van Lines National Movers Study for total amount of moves, with 54.4% of those shipments moving out of the state and 45.6% moving in. This year, the total number of shipments dropped by nearly 3,500 shipments and their respective percentages show an increase by 2.5% of those shipments moving out of the state, and a decrease of 2.5% moving into California. This may not seem like a huge difference, but these numbers were enough to place California into the bottom 10 of outbound states, going from 39th to 43rd. Texas, however, jumped five spots in the overall rankings, from 19th in 2018 to 14th in 2019. It moved to percentages increased from 52.5% to 55.6%. Of course, the stats only tell a part of the story and certainly not everyone who moved out of California moved into Texas. For the bigger picture, and in hopes of discovering what makes Texas so appealing, we looked a little closer across the entire migration industry.

Factors in Favor of Texas


Even though California has the largest economy in the nation, Texas is thriving economically, with multiple cities now being referred to as “Boomtowns.” Austin, for example, is a hub for technology, ranks in the top 10 in patent activity, and continues to be a hotspot for startups. This city alone ranked third for job growth in a metro environment and has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the entire country. Recent reports show that hundreds of companies have chosen to leave California and Dallas Fort-Worth has been the beneficiary of many of them. As we know through our data, people moving for a job (whether new or a transfer) is the number one factor for migration, accounting for over 48% of moves in 2019.

City Living

Both California and Texas have similarities across their major cities for arts, culture and city living. One big difference between the two, however, is housing costs. In California, the median value for a home is around $550,000 and the median for monthly rent is about 1.75x the national median at $2,750. In Texas, the median price of a home is $166,374 and even in the bigger cities that number only rises to $186,829 in Dallas and $322,291 in Austin. Renting costs typically run around 10-12% less than the national average.

Taxes, Traffic and Unrest

With California having the highest state income tax in the country (up to 13.3%), traffic wait times much higher across the state than most of the country, and recent stories of fires, power outages, and political unrest, perhaps it makes sense Californians would start flocking to other states across the U.S. Cities in Texas, however, like Austin, have recently been ranked as one of the top places to live by U.S News and World Report due to low crime, steady job growth, stable housing market and accessibility to the desired city life.

People and Dog-Friendly

Not only does Austin, Texas, rank as the fifth friendliest city in the country, it is also ranked the fourth best city for man’s best friend. In fact, Austin is often referred to as Dogtown with 40% of the city’s residents being dog owners. This overwhelmingly high percentage of households with 4-legged friends is not a huge surprise knowing that cities in Texas have more room for outdoor activities.

Will this movement trend continue?

With the seeming influx of moves from Southern California to places like Austin and Dallas, Texas; we are curious to see if this trend will continue. Texas has a big star on it right now because it offers much in terms of job prospects, changes in lifestyle and retirement. And, as we know, these are three out of the four main factors when it comes to why people move into or out of a state. Until that star fades, it’s hard to imagine this migration changing anytime soon. Interested in viewing other top inbound states? Click here to see the top states that people moved to and from in 2019.

Research for this article

Companies moving from CA to Texas Housing Costs CA Housing Costs TX Taxes

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