Data: Texas draws richer individuals from other states

People moving to Texas from out of state are richer, on average, than people who move within Texas, according to an analysis of migration trends taken from federal Internal Revenue Service data. Meanwhile, a close look at the largest flows of taxpayers further suggests that Texas is an attractive destination for wealthy individuals and families.

The IRS collects data on the movement of people across the U.S. based on the addresses reported on their 2020 and 2021 tax returns. Reported income is from 2020, the year before a move. It’s important as well to note that this data only includes people who file tax returns, so it doesn’t represent the entire U.S. population. Please visit the IRS’s Statistics of Income and Migration Data repository for methodology and other related information.

Our data analysis is based on the geographic concept of Commuting Zones (CZ). These zones, as outlined in the visualization, offer insights into regions where the majority of individuals both reside and work. CZs encompass both urban and rural areas, providing a comprehensive representation of the entire U.S. Through a CZ-level analysis, we can highlight migration trends that go beyond people simply moving in and out of a city’s suburbs for commuting purposes.


The upper map within this dashboard illustrates the proportion of out-migrants per CZ. For instance, a value of 1.1%, as seen in the McAllen-Edinburg-Pharr metro area located at the southernmost tip of Texas, signifies that 1.1% of taxpayers living in the Rio Grande Valley in 2020 resided elsewhere by the time they filed their tax returns in 2021.

Selecting a CZ within the Outflows map reveals a table listing the top 10 CZ destinations based on the total number of individuals who moved from the selected CZ to the listed CZs. This table presents the top 10 destinations, the count of households and individuals that migrated to those CZs, and the average household and individual income for each outflow group.


The second map, titled Inflows, illustrates the proportion of all taxpayers in 2021 who resided elsewhere in 2020. The CZ encompassing the Houston-Baytown-Sugar Land metro area reported that 2.5% of its 2021 residents in-migrated during that year and had lived elsewhere in 2020. Selecting a CZ within the Inflows map will display a table of the top 10 CZ origins based on the total number of individuals. This table presents the top 10 origin CZs, the count of households and individuals that in-migrated from those CZs, and the average household and individual income for each in-migrating group.

The bottom map, displaying CZs in 5 shades of blue, depicts the quintile based on the CZ non-migrant average income. Non-migrants are people, or households, who did not move in the reference period. A quintile represents a fifth (20%) of CZs, with the darkest blue (quintile 5) being the top 20% of CZs based on non-migrant income. The tooltip displayed in this map for each commuting zone will display the average income of the CZ selected as well as the top five destination and origin CZs.

A previous blog demonstrated state migration in the U.S between 2020 and 2021. We found the top five states with the most residents moving into Texas include California, Florida, Louisiana, New York and Colorado. These trends are also reflected in this analysis by commuting zones.

Some other findings of note:
  • Austin was the eighth most popular destination for out-migrants from the Oakland-Fremont-Hayward CZ, which represents the east side of the San Francisco Bay region. Out-migrants to Austin also had the highest average household income.
  • Of the top inflows to the Austin metro area, six of the groups were from outside Texas. These out-of-Texas CZs reported higher income averages than Austin in-migrants from Texas CZs.
  • The largest out-of-state inflow to the Austin metro area in 2021 was from the Los Angeles metro area. This group was the third largest source of inflow overall to Austin, following the Houston and San Antonio metro areas.
  • The income of people who stay put in Austin was higher than those who move from, or move to, other top Texas areas.

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