Poll: Texas remains attractive to natives and newcomers
Texas affirms its status as a leading target for relocation while concerns about the state’s future has some residents thinking about leaving.
Texas remains far and away the best state in the nation for keeping native residents from leaving the state and for drawing residents from other states, findings confirmed by recent Texas 2036 polling and data analysis.
More than three of every four Texans, or 77%, told us they don’t plan to leave Texas anytime in the next few years, according to the latest installment of the 7th Texas Voter Poll, a survey of 1,000 registered Texas voters conducted at the end of August by Baselice and Associates for Texas 2036. The percentage of Texans who say they’re staying put is down two points from September 2022.
In all, 10% told us that they plan to leave Texas, a figure slightly higher than the 8% measured in September 2022. Also, 25% of those staying said they had considered moving out of Texas. Those figures are driven particularly by women and young voters who say their considerations are being driven largely for political or social reasons.
Should They Stay or Should They Go
A Texas 2036 analysis of population migration data kept by the Internal Revenue Service found that 10 million Texas households representing 21.3 million Texans did not change addresses between 2020 and 2021.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas wrote an attention-grabbing study this summer diving into the relative ability of states to hold on to their native residents. They termed this a state’s “stickiness”.
And they found that Texas is the nation’s stickiest state with 82% of those born there still living there. The next stickiest state was North Carolina with a 75.5% stickiness rate, followed by Georgia (74.2%), California (73%) and Utah (72.9%)
Factors playing into states’ stickiness include higher than average job growth and below average state and local taxes. In Texas’ case, the Dallas Fed additionally notes that the sheer size of the state might also play a factor because moving out of Texas costs more.
Who’s Considering Leaving Texas?
The Texas Voter Poll found that a total of 35% of Texans have either planned or considered a move out of the state in response to concerns about the future of the state and politically-divisive issues.
Texas 2036 has previously noted that more and more Texans are concerned about the state’s future with 65% saying they were extremely or very concerned.
The poll also found that Texans with higher levels of concern tended to think more frequently about leaving the state, with 43% of those who are extremely concerned and 38% who are very concerned about the future saying they planned or had considered a move out of state.
- Younger Texans (55% aged 18-34) have considered relocation, while older demographics are more settled, with just 16% of those 65 or older expressing similar sentiments.
- 51% of women aged 18-54 and in their prime working years have considered relocating.
- Higher-educated individuals, like those with degrees beyond a four-year degree (45%), and college graduates (38%), have pondered on moving out.
Reasons for why Texans might be looking for the exit doors vary. Among the most popular reasons:
- 13% cited politics or social issues for why there considering moving away
- 6% cited family or personal reasons
- 5% cited affordability of living, including housing and health care
- 5% cited weather
Conversely, Texans cited the following reasons for staying:
- 45% cited family or personal reasons
- 14% cited affordability of living
- 10% cited their job or the economy
- 5% cited politics or social issues
Not From Texas? Texas Wants You Anyway
Yet it’s undeniable that Texas remains an enticing destination. The state is projected to witness a surge of more than 5 million residents by 2036. The driving force? Americans relocating to Texas from other states. Notably, Texas experienced significant in-migration from California in 2021, and the majority of these newcomers had higher average incomes than both their Californian counterparts and Texans that moved within the state. For every Texan household that moved to California, 2.5 households moved from California to Texas. This exchange is not just in numbers but also represents a significant wealth transfer.
“The Texas triangle’s metro areas have attracted a diverse and affluent crowd,” said Carlos Navarro, data analyst at Texas 2036. “Those relocating to Austin, for instance, reported considerable wealth, signaling the city’s magnetism.”
Lauren Leining, data analyst at Texas 2036, added, “New residents are attracted to Texas due to its comparative affordability, especially when originating from higher-cost coastal states.”
Migration to the Austin-Round Rock metropolitan area is being driven to a great degree by transplants from out of state. Six of the 10 metro areas contributing the most households to Austin’s migration inflow were from four states — California, New York, Illinois and Washington.
Those arrivals also represent wealth well above the average Austin household income of $116,900. The 2,798 households who moved from the Oakland, Calif., metro area have a household average adjusted gross income of $412,600. The 1,695 households who moved from the San Jose, Calif., metro area have a household average income of $305,600.
Explore more income and Texas migration stats with this online tool:
“Texas’ appeal isn’t just rooted in our vibrant culture or our Tex-Mex and barbecue,” noted Rahul Sreenivasan, policy advisor at Texas 2036. “Our strong job growth and affordability are major draws. But as we navigate post-pandemic changes and face rising urban housing costs, it’s crucial for policymakers to prioritize accessible housing near our job centers — especially in areas experiencing high in-migration.”
Discover more about Texas’s unique migration patterns on Texas 2036’s “Understanding Texas” online tool.
About the Texas Voter Poll
The poll, conducted by Baselice and Associates, surveyed 1,000 registered Texas voters between Aug. 22 and 29, 2023. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.1% and utilized a multi-platform approach including phone interviews (52%), SMS (13%), and online surveys (35%). For detailed poll results, please visit www.texas2036.org/poll.