Photo by Mitchell Kmetz on Unsplash

Texans love to make digs about how many Californians are moving here, but a rising trend in Texas residents' relocation habits may have Californians saying the same thing about Texans soon.

A new U.S. Census report analyzing state-to-state migration has revealed new estimates regarding Texas' growing population in 2022. According to the report, more than 668,000 new residents relocated to Texas from out-of-state last year.

Not surprisingly, the highest number of new Texans hailed from California. More than 102,000 Californians made the move to the Lone Star State in 2022.

But in a fun population twist, California also received the most Texpats in 2022, the report showed, followed closely behind by Florida, then Oklahoma. Of the 494,077 people who left Texas last year, 42,279 went to California.

Why Californians move to Texas
Californians often seek out a lower cost of living by moving to the most "affordable" cities in the state. Dallas has shown to be at the top of the priority destination list after the city usurped Austin as the No. 1 city for California movers earlier this year. And when a California transplant can save more than $1 million by moving to either Texas city and buying a home, it's not hard to see the appeal.

Other reasons for the California-to-Texas exodus include Texas' lack of income tax and the flexibility of remote work opportunities, they say.

While California took the lead with the most new movers flocking to Texas, Floridians are also choosing to pack up and leave their Sunshine State for the Lone Star State, the report says.

The top 5 states with the most residents moving to Texas in 2022 were:

  • California – 102,442 new residents
  • Florida – 41,747 new residents
  • New York – 30,890 new residents
  • Illinois – 25,272 new residents
  • Louisiana – 25,192 new residents

Where Texans are moving
The Census report showed that less than half a million Texas residents relocated out-of-state last year, totaling 494,077 people.

"Texas had the country's lowest (11.7 percent) outmigration rate, with most of those who did move relocating to California (42,479) or Florida (38,207)," the report said.

The top 5 states where Texans moved in 2022 were:

  • California – 42,279 Texans
  • Florida – 38,207 Texans
  • Oklahoma – 26,440 Texans
  • Colorado – 25,466 Texans
  • Georgia – 23,754 Texans

New Texans from abroad
In addition to state-by-state migration data, the report also provided estimates for how many new Texans came from abroad. Out of 237,051 new residents, the majority – 233,751 people – relocated from outside the mainland last year.

About 2,441 people moved from Puerto Rico, and 859 arrived from unspecified U.S. island areas.

Texas has been a magnet for international homebuyers for several years. The state has held its position as the third hottest U.S. housing market for international homebuyers for the fourth consecutive year in 2023. A total of 9,900 Texas homes were purchased by buyers from outside the U.S last year, spending a gigantic sum of $4.3 billion.

Photo by Tomek Baginski on Unsplash

Austin is no longer the No. 1 magnet for millennials on the move, report says

migration destinations

For the past two years, Austin has been the No. 1 destination for millennials making the move to a new city. But that's no longer the case, according to a new report that drops Austin to the No. 9 hot spot for young professionals aged 25 to 44.

SmartAsset's 2023 study "Where Millennials Are Moving" dug into data from the U.S. Census Bureau 1-Year American Community Survey to determine the number of millennials who moved to 268 U.S. cities in 2022. Rankings were determined by the percentage of the total population represented by millennials who moved into the city in 2022.

According to the findings, Austin attracted 103,461 new millennials in 2022, constituting 10.7 percent of its population.

Millennials make up 40.42 percent of the population in Austin, the study says; the median age of people living in the city is 34.7.

The study found that there's one Central Texas city that experienced a more dramatic population shift thanks to new millennials: Killeen, located about 70 miles north of the Texas capital, ranked No. 8.

Killeen drew in 16,853 millennials, making up 10.8 percent of its population (a slightly larger share than Austin's). The median age in Killeen is 30.4 — the second-lowest in the top 10, the report says.

So, how did Killeen manage to attract so many millennials? According to a separate SmartAsset study, the answer lies in the obvious: cheaper housing with low competition. Killeen is the best housing market in the nation for first-time homebuyers.

According to SmartAsset, one in four millennials moved to a different city last year. Cambridge, Massachusetts, was the No. 1 U.S. city with the highest proportional influx of millennial newcomers in 2022, at 14.74 percent.

The report also noted the different ways a generation's migration can impact a city.

"Whether they come from within the same county, state, out-of-state or abroad, these migrations can impact local small businesses, housing markets and social dynamics," the report's author wrote.

The top 10 cities where millennials are moving are:

  • No. 1 – Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • No. 2 – Santa Clara, California
  • No. 3 – Seattle, Washington
  • No. 4 – Sunnyvale, California
  • No. 5 – Denver, Colorado
  • No. 6 – Arlington, Virginia
  • No. 7 – Bellevue, Washington
  • No. 8 – Killeen, Texas
  • No. 9 – Austin, Texas
  • No. 10 – Sandy Springs, Georgia

Elsewhere in Texas, San Antonio attracted 102,848 millennials in 2022. More than 10,000 millennials moved to Waco last year, and Round Rock saw 7,972 new millennials move in.

The full report can be found on smartasset.com.
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These 3 Austin neighbors are the fastest-growing affordable suburbs in the U.S., report finds

triple the intrigue

When thinking about Austin-area suburbs like Leander, "affordable" may not be the first word that comes to mind anymore. But according to moving experts moveBuddha, Georgetown, Kyle, and Leander all ranked in the top three in a new report on the 20 fastest-growing affordable suburbs in the country.

Georgetown took the lead as the No. 1 fastest-growing suburb in the U.S., with moveBuddha's research showing the city has had a 26.7 percent growth rate since 2020. An earlier U.S. Census report also confirmed Georgetown's skyrocketing population growth.

The study says Georgetown's average housing price is $453,376 as of September 2023 – which is higher than Williamson County's median home price of $426,752 last month. Families are surely taking note of Georgetown's dedication to its park system and kid-friendly festivals when determining their futures in the city.

Coming in at No. 2 is Kyle, with the report stating the city had a 23.7 percent growth rate since 2020. Kyle's average housing price of $336,615 (the lowest out of the three Austin suburbs) coupled with its proximity to Austin makes it "the most happenin' suburb around," the study said.

"Just 22 miles from Austin, you can relax in the burbs but never miss out on the live music and mega festivals just up the road," the report's author wrote.

Leander landed in the No. 3 spot with a 22.2 percent growth rate. The city's average home prices are slightly lower than Georgetown's, with homes costing about $450,798.

"[Leander's] phenomenal growth led to projects like Leander Springs (including a beach and lagoon) and the Northline (a planned downtown commercial district)," the report said. "Luckily, housing prices haven’t rocketed skyward at quite the same rate... With prices lingering below the 50th percentile, new residents get more bang for their buck than in other suburbs."

Home prices aside, the report took a not-so-subtle dig at the city using Georgetown's triumph as No. 1.

"Maybe Leander just got too famous for its own good," the report said. "But whichever suburb puts north Austin on the map first, Georgetown wins our final showdown for growth and affordability."

Overall, nine out of the top 20 suburbs in the report reside in Texas. Two North Texas cities – Little Elm north of Dallas and Burleson south of Fort Worth – earned No. 4 and No. 9, respectively. New Braunfels ranked No. 6, and Conroe (north of Houston) rounded out the top 10.

The top 10 fastest growing affordable American suburbs are:

  • No. 1 – Georgetown, Texas
  • No. 2 – Kyle, Texas
  • No. 3 – Leander, Texas
  • No. 4 – Little Elm, Texas
  • No. 5 – Westfield, Indiana
  • No. 6 – New Braunfels, Texas
  • No. 7 – Maricopa, Arizona
  • No. 8 – Buckeye, Arizona
  • No. 9 – Burleson, Texas
  • No. 10 – Conroe, Texas

The report defined a suburb as any "non-principal" city in a metropolitan area with a population of fewer than 100,000. Over 800 suburbs were examined based on 2020 and 2022 U.S. Census Bureau's population estimates, and narrowed down into the final 20. It also defined the "affordability" category by sorting cities with average home prices below $500,000 using the Zillow Home Value Index for single family homes. The cities were ultimately ranked based on their growth rates.

The full report can be found on movebuddha.com.

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Booming Texas could be the most populated state by 2100, new study finds

Population swell

Austin might be the nation's third-biggest metro by 2100, and now a new report says Texas could be the most populous state by the next century.

The population study by moving experts MoveBuddha estimates Texas will be home to nearly 96 million people by 2100, which amounts to a 213.8 percent population increase. The Lone Star State will far outshine California, which is currently the most populated state with more than 39 million people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Texas only crossed the 30 million population milestone in July 2022, so there's still quite some time to get to that near-100 million mark in 77 years.

Overall, the analysis says, Southern states are predicted to grow exponentially by the turn of the next century. Florida will follow right behind Texas as the second most populated state, with an estimated growth of nearly 68.5 million people. California is expected to fall into No. 3, with an estimated population of just under 50.4 million by 2100.

However, just as moveBuddha caveated Austin's local 2100 population estimate with the unknown effects of climate change and a general uncertainty to predict the future, the state-by-state report includes similar warnings.

"We don’t know how climate change will affect migration patterns, and we don’t know the effects of new technologies," the report says. "Many Americans are leaving large cities and cold-weather states for less congested places and warmer climates, especially for the winter months."

Additional factors that might contribute to future migration patterns include housing affordability, lower taxes, and the number of Baby Boomers who decide to retire over the next several decades. And in Texas, specifically, moveBuddha says, the state will have to develop more and better infrastructure to handle the anticipated growth.

"Large Texas metropolitan areas like Dallas, Austin, and Houston will have to build much more infrastructure and combat the same big-city problems like crime and expensive housing that have made Americans move from places like Chicago and New York City," the report says.

According to the report, the top 10 biggest states and their populations by 2100 will be:

  • No. 1 – Texas (95,699,438)
  • No. 2 – Florida (68,495,750)
  • No. 3 – California (50,394,266)
  • No. 4 – Georgia (23,904,874)
  • No. 5 – North Carolina (23,049,547)
  • No. 6 – New York (20,214,987)
  • No. 7 – Washington (19,301,336)
  • No. 8 – Arizona (18,516,915)
  • No. 9 – Colorado (14,640,993)
  • No. 10 – Virginia (14,400,363)

Population projections were calculated with Census data between 1910 and 2023, using an annual compound growth rate for all states to estimate the population growth by 2100.

The full report and its methodology can be found on movebuddha.com.

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Austin keeps movers on speed dial as No. 1 city for recent moves, says report

hi neighbor!

Austin continues to shift as people move into and around it. A new population analysis by online loan marketplace LendingTree has named Austin the No. 1 metro for recent movers.

The study used population data from a 2021 U.S. Census Bureau survey to determine householders and renters who moved to their current home in 2019 or later. It reflects people moving around Austin as well as moving into it, so it's not just new Austinites being counted.

About 39 percent of combined homeowners and renters living in their current Austin homes moved there within the three-year scope of the study. For homeowners, that's about 21 percent, compared to about 65 percent of renters.

The three-year median home value appreciation rate in Austin was 24.72 percent, the study says, echoing similar reports that the Texas capital remains one of the top housing markets for growth.

But other reports that are not looking at such longterm averages are showing that the market seems to be stabilizing recently. In July of 2023, home prices in the Austin-Round Rock metropolitan statistical area dropped 10 percent from the previous year to $462,000.

Rent appreciation was not as dramatic, but renters are surely feeling it regardless. The data shows the three-year median gross rent appreciation rate was 7.54 percent.

Renters are much more likely to move than homeowners due to multiple factors: personal circumstances, rising rent prices, landlords who want to change their lease terms, and many others.

"While some regulations protect renters and make it harder for landlords to force them out of their homes, these protections aren’t always robust," the study says. "Because of this, renters can more frequently find themselves in situations where they’re forced to move, even if they like their current home or are strapped for cash."

Dallas fell right behind Austin with about 35 percent of homeowners and renters moving between 2019 and 2021. Houston was the only other Texas city to make the top 10, ranking No. 7 with nearly 34 percent of homeowners and renters moving within the same time frame.

The U.S. metros with the largest shares of homeowners and renters who moved in 2019 or later are:

  • No. 1 – Austin, Texas (38.82 percent)
  • No. 2 – Dallas, Texas (34.91 percent)
  • No. 3 – Las Vegas, Nevada (34.81 percent)
  • No. 4 – Denver, Colorado (34.71 percent)
  • No. 5 – Orlando, Florida (34.55 percent)
  • No. 6 – Phoenix, Arizona (34.03 percent)
  • No. 7 – Houston, Texas (33.50 percent)
  • No. 8 – Jacksonville, Florida (33.27 percent)
  • No. 9 – Nashville, Tennessee (33.14 percent)
  • No. 10 – Salt Lake City, Utah (32.94 percent)
The full report can be found on lendingtree.com.
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Magnetic Texas pulls in ranking as No. 2 state for wealthy new residents

rich population migration

Not only has Texas' population exploded with new residents in recent years, but it's been a hot spot for high-income households on the move. A new report says Texas has added more wealthy new residents than any other state but Florida.

According to SmartAsset's 2023 study "Where High Earners Are Moving," 22,751 households who moved into Texas between 2020 and 2021 filed tax returns with a minimum adjusted gross income of $200,000 (the figure defined as "high earner" in the report). In that same time frame, 13,743 high-earning taxpayers moved out of state.

This resulted in Texas seeing the second-highest influx of wealthy newcomers in the U.S., totaling 9,008.

It's worth noting that 2020-2021 were the years most impacted by the pandemic and its economic, health, and lifestyle after-effects.

"Despite cost of living challenges, the number of high-earning American households continues to grow," the report's author said. "In 2021, 8.68 million tax returns indicated annual earnings exceeding $200,000 – up from 8.57 million returns just a year earlier. The migration of these high-earning households can have significant effects on a state’s tax base and finances."

Texas hung on to its No. 2 rank for the second consecutive year from SmartAsset's 2022 report, which accounted for the tax year between 2019 and 2020. At the time, the state had an inflow of more than 18,400 high-earning households, and an outflow of over 13,000.

Florida was the only state to outrank Texas for two years in a row with the highest migration of wealthy new taxpayers. Florida's 2023 net migration amounted to 27,567 households that earn over $200,000 a year.

Meanwhile, California and New York lost the most high-earning households in 2021.

"While these states had the largest net outflows of high earners in 2021, they still maintain some of the nation’s highest percentages of high-earning households," the report said. "In fact, at least 7.2 percent of the tax base in each of these states earn $200,000 or more per year."

With its lower housing, rent, and living costs - and no state income tax - Texas continues to attract new residents from out of state. All indications are that the population of Texas, and Austin, will continue to swell.

The top 10 states with the highest net migration of high-earning households are:

  • No. 1 – Florida (27,567)
  • No. 2 – Texas (9,008)
  • No. 3 – North Carolina (5,446)
  • No. 4 – Arizona (4,563)
  • No. 5 – South Carolina (4,510)
  • No. 6 – Tennessee (3,917)
  • No. 7 – Nevada (2,785)
  • No. 8 – Idaho (2,315)
  • No. 9 – Colorado (2,052)
  • No. 10 – Utah (1,752)
SmartAsset determined their rankings using IRS data from 2020 to 2021 from tax-filers reporting an adjusted gross income of $200,000 or more and moved in or out of a state.

The full report can be found on smartasset.com.

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New mac & cheese restaurant and Buddy the Elf's bagel top Austin's tastiest food news

News You Can Eat

Editor’s note: We get it. It can be difficult to keep up with the fast pace of Austin’s restaurant and bar scene. We have you covered with our regular roundup of essential food news.

Openings and closings

If there's one menu item it's hard to wrong with, it's macaroni and cheese — especially in Texas, where it's a star side on many barbecue trays. But of course Wisconsin could give this state a run for its money. One mac and cheese-devoted restaurant out of Wisconsin Dells is opening at Kalahari Resorts and Conventions in Round Rock; This will be the chain's ninth location, and the first outside of its home state. MAC Mac and Cheese Shop serves 18 different twists on the dish, including the over-the-top "Hangover Mac" with pepper jack, mozzarella, hash browns, bacon, hot dog, Western veggies, and sriracha. The new restaurant at 3001 Kalahari Blvd. opens "the week of December 17."

In early November we shared that two prolific local restaurateurs were working on a New York-inspired watering hole with a 50-foot bar, situated in the former site of Gourmands Neighborhood Pub in East Austin. Murray’s Tavern has set its opening date for December 8. Folks who miss the old restaurant may be pleased to see that the space is going for similarly cozy vibes.

ICYMI: This week NADC Burger, a passion project for local chef Phillip Frankland Lee and professional skateboarder Neen Williams, brought its ultra-simple menu to a new flagship on East 6th Street. Fans of Austin's Commodore Perry Estate and Lutie's Garden Restaurant may want to stop by a new hotel by the same collection in Fort Worth, with a fancy chophouse. Finally, after 23 years, Austin institution Opal Divine’s is closing.

Other news and notes

If you're not putting marshmallows on your bagel, we won't say Buddy the Elf would be disappointed in you, but ... it's best to just give it a try. (And if you've had Nutella on a bagel, you have no excuse not to.) Nervous Charlie's Bagels, known to make some of Austin's best, is teaming up with the Fancy Marshmallow Co. to toast up a tribute to the contemporary Christmas classic, Elf, called "Buddy's Breakfast": the customer's choice of bagel (I recommend egg, as pictured) with hot chocolate mix cream cheese, topped with vanilla-flavored marshmallow fluff and fun sprinkles. This treat benefitting Toys for Tots is available now through December 31 at both Austin-area Nervous Charlie's.

When it comes to pugs and Christmas sweaters, we know that some things are just so ugly they're cute. Pug lovers can support the breed on December 9 via Camp Out and Yard Bar's 2023 Pugly Sweater Party, which benefits Pug Rescue of Austin. Wear your worst-best threads, enjoy some seasonal drinks like hot toddies and ciders, and consider taking home a 2024 calendar or even a new best friend — adoptable pugs will be on-site. This is also a good chance to check out Camp Out, the new outdoor eatery. The party runs from 1-3 pm.

Birdie's, one of Austin's most popular new restaurants of the last two years, is getting even more creative than usual with the return of a special pop-up. Bistro Remy will operate December 12-16 and 19-23, offering a prix fixe menu of "French favorites" and emphasizing seasonal comfort foods: gougères, boeuf bourguignon, duck confit, and more. The pop-up is named after Tracy Malechek-Ezekiel and Arjav Ezekiel's son, who surely eats better than all of us on a daily basis.

Austin tops new list as the best U.S. metro to start a small business

small successes

Austinites whose New Year's resolution is to start their own small business will be happy to learn they're in the right city to do it. Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown has been ranked the No. 1 best metropolitan area to start a small business in a new report.

The report by personal finance website The Credit Review touts the Austin area's rapid growth, its diverse economy, and its ever-expanding population as several attractive reasons for its top ranking.

"Austin is a cultural mecca filled with live music and nightlife that attracts talented young professionals and sparks creative ideas," the report's author wrote.

Small business owners in the city specifically thrive in three sectors: arts, entertainment, and recreation. The iconic "Keep Austin Weird" motto still rings true for many thriving local businesses — and thanks to that call to action, many Austinites maintain explicit cultural values around shopping local.

"Given that Austin is the yearly host of the celebrated South by Southwest conference, it’s not very surprising they ranked as the top metro area to start an arts and entertainment small business," the report said. "Austin ranked No. 1 overall for all small business purposes, but its thriving arts and culture scene is especially celebrated."

Austin is also the No. 1 destination for small businesses in the information services sector, the study found. Outsiders don't call Austin "Silicon Hills" for nothing, as the report states venture capitalists invested over $5.5 billion in more than 400 unspecified "deals" in Austin in 2021, which is more than double the amount in 2020.

With the shift to remote work, it's now much easier for Austinites to launch their business than ever before, the report claims. But in order to ensure longevity with a small business, the study suggests launching the venture in a place with the right number of resources and connections.

"The more resources a small business owner has, the better chances they have to succeed," the report says. "This is why, despite the overall shift to a remote-centric world, geographic location matters more than ever for a small business’s long-term success."

Another thriving Texas metro that earned a spot in the top 10 is Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington (No. 8). The North Texas region is the No. 1 hotspot for businesses in the "management of companies and enterprises" industry, which widely includes finance and accounting companies.

Elsewhere in Texas, Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land ranked No. 22 and San Antonio-New Braunfels ranked No. 32.

The top 10 U.S. metros for starting a small business are:

  • No. 1 – Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown, Texas
  • No. 2 – Provo-Orem, Utah
  • No. 3 – Raleigh-Cary, North Carolina
  • No. 4 – Salt Lake City, Utah
  • No. 5 – Boise, Idaho
  • No. 6 – Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, Tennessee
  • No. 7 – Jacksonville, Florida
  • No. 8 – Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas
  • No. 9 – Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, North Carolina-South Carolina
  • No. 10 – North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida

The report analyzed the top 100 U.S. metro regions across 10 factors to determine the rankings, including unemployment rates, growth rates, new business success rates, and more.

The full report can be found on thecreditreview.com.

Anime fave Hayao Miyazaki makes return with The Boy and the Heron

Movie Review

Fans of anime have long revered the work of director Hayao Miyazaki, who has made Oscar-winning and -nominated films like Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, and 2013's The Wind Rises. Miyazaki retired after that last film, and for a long time it seemed as if it would truly be his final film. He found inspiration for another, though, making his comeback with the semi-autobiographical The Boy and the Heron.

The film centers on a young boy named Mahito (Soma Santoki), who when the film opens experiences the tragic loss of his mother in a factory fire. A few years later, his father Shoichi (Takuya Kimura) finds a new wife, Natsuko (Yoshino Kimura), with whom they move to a house in the country. Still grieving his mom, Mahito acts out at school and imagines that a gray heron that hangs out near the house is talking to him.

That fantasy becomes reality one day when the heron (Masaki Suda) leads him into the ruins of a house that belonged to his granduncle (Shohei Hino), where he discovers a magical world filled with strange creatures, like small white blobs called Warawara and human-sized parakeets that talk, as well as a woman named Kiriko (Ko Shibasaki), who shows him the secrets of the world.

(Note: This review is based on a screening of a subtitled version of the film. An English-dubbed version features dialog from actors like Christian Bale, Dave Bautista, Mark Hamill, and Gemma Chan. Both versions are being screened at theaters.)

Most of Miyazaki’s anime contain fantastical stories that serve as allegories for deeper stories. In this film, it’s clear that the death of his mother weighs heavily on Mahito, and the trip into another world is a way of him searching for answers. The parallels between the real and magical worlds are evident, and the pull the magical one exerts, giving him a possible chance to see his mother again, is understandable.

What doesn’t make as much sense is the story told within that magical world. While the imagery is eye-popping and often whimsical – the parakeets alone never fail to amuse – it’s hard to follow the storytelling logic surrounding it. Those who don’t consider themselves anime-philes may find themselves either scratching their heads or completely baffled by what’s presented in the film.

Seasoned viewers will find delight in some of the off-putting characters in the film. Chief among them is the heron, which is revealed to be a man with a bulbous nose inside the bird. The sight of him gradually emerging from the bird’s beak is grotesque and indelible. Similarly, a group of eight elderly women, each of whom are hunched over and have various moles and other odd features, make the film visually interesting at the least.

All of which is to say that one’s enjoyment of the film may depend on how deeply invested you are in Miyasaki and Studio Ghibli films in general. The rhythm is completely different from most American animated films, and so even though it reaches for the emotions that you might find in a Pixar film, getting the requisite release may require viewers to make connections they’re not used to making.

The Boy and the Heron has many of the same hallmarks found in other Miyasaki films, if not as enchanting of a story. There’s no one quite like the iconic Japanese filmmaker, so getting one last (?) film from him is still great even if it doesn’t match his finest work.


The Boy and the Heron opens in theaters on December 8.

Mahito in The Boy and the Heron

Photo courtesy of Studio Ghibli

Mahito in The Boy and the Heron.