More than Ever, California Expatriates now live in Texas

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It may not surprise you that according to the most recent US Census, released this year, seven of the top fifteen fastest-growing cities in the United States with populations over 50,000 are located within Texas. After all, this year Chief Executive Magazine once again named Texas the most business-friendly state in the union, an honor the Lone Star State has received ten years in a row. Chief Executive’s testing criteria included tax and regulatory regime, workforce quality, educational performance, and overall living environment. According to a recent article published by The Daily Caller, in 2012 alone the state of Texas realized a gain of 63,000 residents directly from California. Texas can also boast an unemployment rate of just 5.2 percent, compared with the national average of 6.3 percent (and 7.8 percent in California). From an actual job growth prospective, Texas outpaced the nation, particularly in the middle-income sector — a fact that Governor Rick Perry is quick to point out. During the 15-year period of 1995 through 2010, $6.4 billion in wealth moved along with these migrating Californians. So it is obvious that the Lone Star State is a magnet for the tax-and regulation-weary of California, and the trend is reflected in cities and counties throughout the state.

Drilling down to the city and the overall MSA levels, figures show that the area around the state capital, within the Austin- Round Rock-San Marcos Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), is the fastest-growing in the country.  Cities ranked within this MSA include San Marcos, which leads the pack at number one with an 8 percent increase in population, followed by Cedar Park at number four with a 5.6 percent increase, and Georgetown, in seventh position, with a 4.5 percent gain. According to the Texas Workforce Commission, from February 2014 to March 2014, the Capital Area unemployment rate decreased by 0.4 percent to 4.4 percent. The Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos MSA also shows an annual growth rate of over 5 percent. Further, between 1995 and 2012, this area gained over $535 million directly from California.

The cities of Frisco and McKinney are located on the outer reaches of the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington MSA, and hold the second and thirteenth positions for national growth. Standing alone, Frisco had a meteoric 247 percent increase in population since the year 2000. During this current census reporting period, the city showed an increase of 6.5 percent. Likewise, since the year 2000, McKinney has grown by 141 percent. The 2014 census report shows an increase of 3.9 percent. As a whole, the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington MSA has an unemployment rate of 4.7 percent, and with all counties included, secured nearly $1 billion dollars in migrated wealth from California.

The Midland-Odessa Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), site of the number-eleven-ranked city of Odessa, had the lowest December unemployment rate in the state, at 2.8 percent. Odessa’s growth rate was 4 percent. Residents of Midland and Odessa are projected to see a growth rate of between 4 and 5 percent for the remainder of 2014, thanks to fracking operations in the Permian Basin oil and gas fields.

And finally, in the fifteenth position, is the city of Pearland. Pearland is located within the Houston-Woodlands-Sugarland MSA, and, between 2000 and 2012, realized a total population increase of 143 percent. This current census reporting period shows an increase of 3.8 percent. A large percentage of the city’s growth is related to the medical industry. The unemployment rate of the MSA as a whole stands at 4.6 percent, and it has gained over $326 million in California wealth.

While most of these cities are part of larger MSAs, they are ranked in the Census Bureau Report as significant job centers on their own.

So I would say that if you are a resident of California and can’t seem to find your old neighbors or locate the company for which you once worked, begin and end your search in Texas. Odds are fairly good that is where you will find them.