It’s no secret that the Austin, Texas area is a prime destination for employers and their employees (and families), and has been for years. The city demographer estimates that over the past 10 years, we’ve gained 184 new residents per day. Of course, at the same time there have been some folks leaving, but historically the population of the Austin metro has doubled every twenty years or so and it looks like we’re still on that pace … maybe even faster.
One source of great information on this every year is the residential moving/shipping industry, and here are reports from two of the major companies in that business:
There are some differences between those company’s experiences in 2020. For example, United classifies Texas as “balanced,” whereas North American calls Texas an “inbound” state. There are some key similarities also, such as their agreement that Idaho was the top inbound state and their lists of the states that more people moved from:
In the underlying details, the United study ranks the Austin MSA 8th on its list of Top 25 inbound cities with 65% inbound and 35% outbound moves. North American’s report includes a bullet point saying, “People are fleeing California for Texas and Idaho,” but doesn’t mention Austin specifically. Texas does rank 6th on North American’s list of inbound states. Based on other reporting and observation, it seems clear that much of the California-to-Texas migration is built on Austin’s tremendous tech sector and educated workforce, and that is reflected in another report discussed below.
CNBC.com looks more narrowly at the cities/metros that dominated relocations between April and October of 2020, based on zip code changes among 174 million Linkedin members. From that view of migration patterns, Austin ranks 1st for in-migration, followed by Phoenix, Nashville, Tampa, and Jacksonville.
Living and working in the Austin area, and experiencing our housing shortage first-hand, I’m not surprised by that result. The fact that Texas doesn’t appear on both companyies’ list of major inbound states is a little unexpected, but many Texas counties west of Interstate 35 have been losing population for years. Moreover, a huge majority of Texas’ total population lives in a triangle formed by Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, and Austin/San Antonio. Those factors could play down Texas’ position in overall migration patterns, but the Austin metro is obviously a recipient of many new Texans. It’s also true that in a “work anywhere” world, less populous states have gained the most new residents on a percentage basis.
I encourage you to read those short articles linked above, and if you’re a real fan of data you might want to download the press kit that’s available from United. You may have sensed much of what’s shown in those studies, but I hope you’ll enjoy this objective look at where Americans are moving.