Californians Moving to Texas in Droves

Texas border sign
Texas border sign | Image by Jjay69/Shutterstock

The most recent United States Census Bureau data shows that Californians are moving to Texas in numbers far higher than from any other state.

More than 102,000 Californians moved to Texas in 2022, down slightly from 2021, in which 107,000 Californians relocated to the Lone Star State. The move was also reciprocal, as the most likely place for Texans to move to was the Golden State. Some 42,000 Texans headed west in 2022, reported The Texan.

Texas is drawing Californians in droves for a number of reasons, primarily led by a lower cost of living. Like Texas, California is a big and diverse state, but 60% of the population is concentrated in population centers like San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

The median housing cost for California, according to Zillow, is $765,197, an astronomical figure compared to the median price in Texas of $298,624. Prices in San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco are even higher — averaging $949,900, $1.2 million, and $1.13 million, respectively.

Other parts of the state are not as expensive. Bakersfield, Fresno, and Redding all have average housing prices around $370,000, just slightly higher than Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio, while still being near what makes California special. Fresno is just two hours from the Pacific Ocean and is just 30 minutes from Giant Sequoia National Park, Bakersfield is just two hours from Los Angeles, and Redding sits at the foot of Mt. Shasta while being just three hours from the coast.

California anticipates that the Central Valley, where Fresno, Bakersfield, and Redding are located, will experience a population increase of 5 million in the coming decades, according to the California Department of Finance.

Housing prices are not the only factor driving Californians out of the state. High taxes and expensive cost of living are also issues. California has nine different brackets of income tax that range from just 1% to 12.3%. In Texas, there is no income tax.

Earners making significant money can realize tremendous savings by not paying income tax. Property taxes are slightly higher in Texas, the difference between 1.6% in the Lone Star State and 1% in the Golden State, but the difference in property values makes the higher rate much more affordable. Sales tax in California also tends to be higher than in Texas.

Gas prices are substantially different. The average current price for a gallon of regular gas in Texas is $3.17, while the same grade in California is running $5.01, according to AAA. Texans also have a shorter average commute by nearly six minutes.

Politics also plays a role. Many conservative Californians are afraid to voice their opinions because of the threat of violence, being fired from their jobs, and being alienated from friends. California government is dominated by Democrats, with super-majorities in both the Senate and House and a Democratic governor. Legislators can pass laws in California with no input from Republicans.

Texas features majorities of Republicans but does not have the same one-party dominance as California. Looser gun laws and less government control are also factors for many Californians fleeing the state. Combined, lower costs of living, affordable housing, and political parity tend to be driving factors, according to GMToday.

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