Why Are So Many People Leaving Texas – And Why Are Most of Them Coming to California

Texas ranked third in the United States for the number of residents moving out of state (467,338) in 2017. The most popular out-of-state relocation destination for Texans was California (40,999). Let’s put this exodus from Texas into perspective vis-a-vis California.

Texas had a population in 2017 of 28.32 million. On a per capita basis then, the percent of people leaving Texas was 0.016. California lost just over 661,000 people to domestic migration in the 12 months ended in July 2017. Given California’s population in 2017 of 39.4 million, the per capita basis of people leaving California was 0.016, approximately the same rate as in Texas.

The reasons people leave California have received considerable national attention, and the cost of living coupled with our progressive environment are two key reasons why low income, conservative people without college degrees are moving to Texas. On the other hand, high income, educated Texans move to California where they will enjoy the opportunity to prosper in the fastest growing economy in the USA, where most innovation in the US occurs, and where culture and beauty abound.

Simple cost of living averages do not address the quality of life, and the quality of the goods or services available, and Texas does not offer anything close to what California offers. Consider, the average lifespan in TX- 78.5; average income in TX – $59,206; 18.5 percent of Texas residents, aged over 25 years, held a Bachelor’s degree; and the suicide rate was 13.0 per 100,000 in Texas. Whereas in California, average lifespan in CA – 80.9; average income in CA – $71,805; 21.3 percent of Californian residents, aged over 25 years, held a Bachelor’s degree; and the suicide rate was 11.1 per 100,000 in California. Moreover, California is the world’s fifth largest economy, surpassing many countries with much larger populations. Texas has the 10th largest economy in the world. Whereas California leads innovation in the world, economically and socially, Texas is known for oil and finance, stultifying old industries, and is socially regressive led by Republican politicians like Rafael Cruz. California per-capita GDP was $58,619 in 2016, whereas per capita income for Texas was $29,525 in 2017. But those are numbers, and we must also consider quality from a cognitive point of view.

Drive through Houston, TX, the state’s largest city, and you’ll be aghast by the foul smells in the air, tacky neighborhoods where strip clubs stand next to churches, the lack of city planning, an overabundance of superfund clean-up sites, and the general ugliness of the area. Many other cities are worse, and once beautiful Austin now suffers from a lack of strong zoning rules that means tall, ugly skyscrapers now tower over the University of Texas campus. Drive through the state, and most of what you see is dull and banal, and often ugly.

Now drive through California. That drive can include sights of the world’s tallest trees, Redwoods, the largest alpine lake in all of North America, Lake Tahoe, and the world’s most innovative university, UC Berkeley, that is surrounded by mountains and trees, and not skyscrapers, except of course the university’s beautiful Campanile. The drive can continue across the Golden Gate Bridge, into the most beautiful large city in the US, San Francisco, and then onto the largest trees in world, the giant Sequoias in the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains close to the highest mountain in the continental USA, Mt. Whitney. Head down south along the dramatic Big Sur coastline to Santa Barbara and enjoy California wine in America’s Riviera, and then continue south to Los Angeles, where the world’s best symphony performs in the world’s best concert hall. A drive into the mountains surrounding Los Angeles brings us upon Mt Wilson where anyone can peer though the giant 100 inch telescope where Nobel Laureate, Dr. James Hubble, Ph.D., discovered the expanding universe. Finish the trip in San Diego for relaxation, surfing, and fish tacos in a beautiful city nestled on the Pacific with the best weather in the USA and a history that dates back to 1769.

These are just a few of the reasons why Texans are fleeing their state and moving to California. All are welcome in California.

Published by Dr. Greg Maguire, Ph.D.

Dr. Maguire, a Fulbright-Fogarty Fellow at the National Institutes of Health, is a scientist, innovator, teacher, healthcare professional. He has over 100 publications and numerous patents. His book, "Adult Stem Cell Released Molecules: A Paradigm Shift To Systems Therapeutics" was published by Nova Science Publishers in 2018.

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