Trading SoCal for SoCo

Austin stars among Texas cities attracting the most Californians on the move

Austin stars among Texas cities attracting the most Californians

Austin skyline with lake
Austin is having a Hollywood moment. Visit Austin/Instagram

The Hollywood-to-Texas population pipeline is overflowing, a new study suggests, with the Austin area getting flooded with the influx of Californians.

Travis County ranks as the No. 3 destination for people relocating to Texas from California, according to a StorageCafé data analysis. The No. 1 place of origin? Los Angeles County, home to Hollywood, followed by Santa Clara and San Diego.

In the Lone Star State, Houston’s Harris County ranks as the No. 1 destination for relocating Californians. 

Among California counties, Travis County attracted the most new arrivals from Los Angeles County in 2019 (2,060), followed by Santa Clara County (930), and San Diego County (612).

Why are Californians swapping the West Coast for the Gulf Coast? A prime reason appears to be housing costs. The analysis shows the median price difference in 2020 between a home in Los Angeles County and a home in Travis County was $322,350. And even though they’re paying less for a home in Travis County, LA transplants are gaining a median 482 square feet of additional housing space.

“When housing prices in California go up, so does migration to Texas. When housing prices in California go down, migration to Texas goes down as well,” William Fulton, director of Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research, tells StorageCafé, a self-storage platform.

Looking at the California-to-Texas connection, Los Angeles County holds the top seven spots in the ranking of counties that send the most new residents to our state. Here are the top seven:

  1. Los Angeles County to Harris County (3,263 new residents in 2019).
  2. Los Angeles County to Dallas County (2,492 new residents in 2019).
  3. Los Angeles County to Travis County (2,060 new residents in 2019).
  4. Los Angeles County to Collin County (1,609 new residents in 2019).
  5. Los Angeles County to Tarrant County (1,374 new residents in 2019).
  6. Los Angeles County to Bexar County (1,366 new residents in 2019).
  7. Los Angeles County to Denton County (1,290 new residents in 2019).

Elon Musk is well on his way to being the first human on Mars, but he’s far from being a pioneer when it comes to moving to Texas. His recent move to the state is just one among the almost 190 daily moves from California to Texas that occurred from 2010 to 2019,” StorageCafé says.

Here are the top 10 counties for new arrivals from all California counties in 2019:

  1. Harris County — 8,408.
  2. Dallas County — 7,923.
  3. Travis County — 6,725.
  4. Tarrant County — 6,623.
  5. Bexar County — 5,340.
  6. Collin County — 5,294.
  7. Denton County — 4,028.
  8. Williamson County — 2,877.
  9. El Paso County — 2,521.
  10. Bell County — 1,727.