Moving About | The Perryman Group

Moving About

By: Dr. M. Ray Perryman
Published in syndication November 01, 2023

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how most people born in Texas stay in Texas. According to Census data, over 82% of people born in Texas and still living in the United States have remained here (as of 2021). The Texas proportion of people staying put is considerably higher than any other state. This week, let's look at things from other directions.

While most native Texans hang around, there are also thousands moving here every day. Between July 2020 and July 2021, over 762,000 people moved to Texas - nearly 2,100 per day. About 78% came from other parts of the United States. The top states were California (with more than 107,500), Florida (31,000), Colorado (30,300), Louisiana (28,100), and New York (25,000).

Texas residents also moved elsewhere, with about 447,400 individuals leaving the state (but staying in the US) between 2020 and 2021. Top destinations were California (33,600), Colorado (29,800), Florida (28,200), and Oklahoma (27,200). On balance, the state gained about 860 people per day from other places.

Another interesting tidbit from the recent release indicates that only about 59% of people living in Texas in 2021 were born here. Nearly 5.5 million (almost 19%) were born in a foreign country, with about 897,700 (3%) from California and 532,800 (almost 2%) from Louisiana. Other states with significant numbers include Illinois, New York, Oklahoma, Florida, Ohio, and Michigan; hundreds of thousands of people born in each of these states now live in Texas.

That's a lot of moving around, and there are a variety of reasons for it. One is that the pandemic was in full swing during the 2020-21 timeframe which the data reflects, and some people were reacting to all that COVID-19 entailed. In addition to choices to be nearer family, escape crowded places, or move to areas with fewer restrictions, the pandemic and responses to it also led to dramatic variation in opportunities. Texas reopened much sooner than many places, and the economy began to recover quickly. By October 2021, Texas reached a new record level for employment, completely overcoming the devastating loss of about 1.5 million jobs that occurred in early 2020. Many states were still struggling during that time, with a much slower rebound (the US didn't restore pre-pandemic employment levels until June 2022).

Texas continues to set the pace for job gains, and economic opportunities will encourage people to move here. Corporate locations and expansions are setting the stage for future growth, and the state economy is well positioned to be resilient in the face of challenges (although some policy decisions are troubling). A growing population will require sizable investments in infrastructure (from education to highways), but it's a nice problem to have. Stay safe!