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Migration

Welcome to Austin!

400 years ago, refugees fleeing their home country’s hostile political environment bravely headed west over the Atlantic ocean in search of a better life. They arrived on a rock, unprepared for the challenges that come with moving to a new land: a shortage of food and inadequate shelter. A group of Americans called the Wampanoag took pity on these pilgrim refugees, shared their soil and helped them gain a foothold on it. In an act of goodwill and diplomacy, the grateful immigrants hosted the Americans for a large shared feast. Their meal has since become celebrated in the quintessential American tradition, Thanksgiving.

Migration, the core theme of this story, is one of the great forces of history. Not only internationally, but internally within the states. Texas itself has been a migration magnet throughout its history, which helps explain the record of growth that now makes it the second most populous state in America following California. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s annual Population Estimates program, regionally, the Austin MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area) has shown a growth rate with consideration of births and deaths of over 55,000 people annually over the last decade – that’s over 150 people per day! Consequently, with so many people moving in large numbers, there is inevitable impact and influence on the current flavor of our local culture. How will all these new flavors meld into our sweet Central Texas? Let’s take a look at where and why migrants are joining our Thanksgiving table in Texas.

Population Growth Texas 2016-2017
Data Estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau

Growth in Texas
Texas in general is growing at a rate of 1,000 people per day, and roughly half of these new Texans are migrants, according to State Demographer Lloyd Potter. The other half are newborns, Potter added. The strong U.S. economy and low unemployment rates have caused net domestic migration to Texas from other states to slow since 2015. Instead, in 2018, the majority of migrants to Texas — 104,976 people — came from other countries. While historically, Latin countries have accounted for the majority of those migrating to Texas, recently, Texas has seen an increase in migration from Asian countries, particularly China and India, with those countries accounting for around 45% of international migration to Texas in 2016. “Over the 2000s, we saw a pretty significant opening of China and kind of increasing number of Indian students coming over to study”, Potter said, “and I think what happens frequently is once they finish studying, they are able to get sponsored by a company for a work visa… once they get a green card, then they can start sponsoring their family to come over as well.” With Central Texas hosting a university culture that welcomes a large international student population, it’s not surprising that Austin ends up drawing a chunk of this international student demographic within that Texan growth.

Population Growth Austin 2016-2017
Data Estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau

Growth in Austin
Despite the increasingly international migration numbers for Texas, net migration to Austin remains primarily domestic. This also differs from other comparatively fast growing cities such as Miami, San Jose, New York, Boston, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., which experience mostly international migration.

  • The greatest source of growth in Austin outside of local births is migration from other parts of Texas, followed by California, Florida, New York, and Colorado.
  • The most significant metro areas making a net positive contribution to annual migration to Austin are Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, New York, and Los Angeles.

A large part of what’s behind this growth trend can be found in the city’s employment opportunity, prosperity, and its evolution into a tech hub. While Central Texas provides massive employment opportunities in the service industry and in government, in 2018, the Austin Chamber of Commerce recorded 46 tech company relocations to the Austin area (these numbers do not include companies opening second offices as expansions locally like Apple, Amazon, and Google). Those 46 relocations translated into 9,424 new jobs in the city last year. That compares to 51 relocations in 2017 leading to 3,050 jobs. The incoming companies have justified the move due to the region’s lower cost of doing business and a growing pool of tech talent, who in turn are drawn to Austin’s flouishing job market and attractive cost of living.

So what does this kind of migration without RSVP mean for the Austin area? Have we run out of room at the table? A common fear is overcrowding and changes to Austin’s beloved physical and cultural landscape. What it really boils down to is increased population diversity brings with it new ideas, business opportunity, and varied cultures. This has the potential to beautifully blend into our “you be you” or “keep it weird” city, making it thrive. Without question, with this growing population will come the usual suspects – a surplus of traffic and an increased need for affordable housing. But let’s pull up some extra chairs to our table since the diversity of incoming minds will be an invaluable resource in addressing these twists and turns that come on the road to growth. In closing, it’s important to remember the positive lessons embedded in the American Thanksgiving story – our country was founded and fostered by a combination of native and migrant people. We will continue to grow gracefully as long as we embrace our diversity, and work together to build an Austin that we’re proud to call our home.

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SOURCES:

“Where is Texas’ growing population coming from?” By Maria Mendez, 5/8/2019 | Texas Tribune | www.texastribune.org/2019/05/08/texas-keeps-growing-where-are-newest-transplants-coming/

Yep. A Lot More People Have Moved To Austin, The Census Bureau Confirms, By Andrew Weber, 4/18/2019 | KUT Online | www.kut.org/post/yep-lot-more-people-have-moved-austin-census-bureau-confirms

Austin Migration Insights, By Chris Ramser, 2/21/2019 | Austin Chamber of Commerce | www.austinchamber.com/blog/02-21-2019-austin-migration

Austin No. 1 City Gaining Company Migrations from California

Austin continues to grow from California residents and business relocations. A recent study by Joseph Vranich of Spectrum Location Solutions revealed more than 13,000 companies have left California for friendlier locations, with Austin being the No. 1 city to gain the California migrations. The study also ranked Texas as No. 1 in the Top 10 states gaining the most from California business relocations, a distinction Texas has held for the past decade.

“During the study period, $76.7 billion in capital funds were diverted out of California along with 275,000 jobs – and companies acquired at least 133 million sq. ft. elsewhere – all of which are greatly understated because such information often went unreported,” according to the study.

The Austin Business Journal summarized that “Departures are understandable when year after year CEOs nationwide surveyed by Chief Executive Magazine have declared California the worst state in which to do business,” said Vranich, a corporate relocation expert who jokes that he loves California’s weather, but not its business climate. Until recently, Spectrum and Vranich were based in Irvine, Calif. Texas, on the other hand, consistently ranks as one of the best states to do business in.”

The top 10 states starting in the order of those that gained the most from California business relocations were:

  1. Texas, which has held the first-place distinction for at least a decade
  2. Nevada
  3. Arizona
  4. Colorado
  5. Oregon
  6. Washington
  7. North Carolina
  8. Florida
  9. Georgia
  10. Virginia

The top 10 cities gaining company migrations from California were:

  1. Austin
  2. Reno, Nev.
  3. Las Vegas
  4. Phoenix
  5. Seattle
  6. Dallas
  7. Portland, Ore.
  8. Denver
  9. San Antonio
  10. Scottsdale, Ariz.


The report’s ranking is based only on cities, not metro areas. Fort Worth, Houston, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Indianapolis and Nashville also ranked among the top twenty.

Vranich further details the Texas metro market migrations in the Austin Relocation Guide. Metropolitan areas benefiting from California divestment events show Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos in the top spot, followed by No. 2 Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, and No. 10 San Antonio, which was tied with Salt Lake City. Of the Top 15 destination metropolitan communities benefiting from out-of-California Austin tops the list, followed by No. 6 Dallas, No. 8 San Antonio, No. 11 Houston, No. 13 Irving and Plano (tied) and No. 14 Fort Worth.”

The new 2018 Migration Trends study by residential real estate brokerage site Redfin shows California is the top source of people from other metro areas shopping for homes in Austin. KVUE reported that in the Austin area, the biggest generator of inflow (more people seeking to move to area than leave it) was from San Francisco, unsurprising considering both cities are hubs for the technology sector. In Dallas, the L.A. area produced the most potential newcomers.

With the California migrations, it begs the question, how is Austin doing today?

The Austin Chamber of Commerce recently reported:

  • Austin added 36,800 net new jobs, growth of 3.5%, in the 12 months ending in December, making Austin the fourth fastest growing major metro.
  • In Austin, the industry adding the most jobs and growing the fastest is wholesale trade which grew by 6,900 jobs or 12.8% over the last 12 months. Also growing at faster-than-average rates are construction and natural resources (8.1% or 5,000 jobs) and other services (4.4% or 2,000 jobs).
  • Austin’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is 2.9%, up from 2.8% in November. Unemployment has been at or below 3.0% for the last 16 months.
  • For new home construction Austin ranked number 1 in the nation in per capita building permits through midyear 2018 with a projected increase over 2017.
  • Home prices are rising with a median home price increase of approx. 4% in 2018.
  • Incomes are rising with total personal income in the Austin metro growing by 6.4% in 2017, the 5th fastest growth rate among major metros.

We continue to see growth in Austin, and we welcome California transplants to make Austin their home.

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Resources:

Austin Business Journal – https://www.bizjournals.com/austin/news/2018/12/13/1-800-companies-left-california-in-a-year-with.html 

The Kumar Law Firm – https://thekumarlawfirm.com/lawyer/2018/12/31/Business-Law/California-Businesses-Flock-to-Texas_bl36525.htm

KVUE – https://www.kvue.com/article/news/local/california-homebuyers-continue-coasting-into-austins-real-estate-market/269-608008889 

PRWeb – https://www.prweb.com/releases/record_number_of_companies_departing_california_study_urges_more_to_leave/prweb15977005.htm

Redfin – https://www.redfin.com/blog/2018/10/q3-2018-migration-report.html

Culture Map – http://austin.culturemap.com/news/real-estate/10-25-18-homebuyer-interest-in-austin-california-san-franscisco-redfin/

Austin Chamber of Commerce – https://www.austinchamber.com/blog/01-22-2019-job-growth-unemployment

Austin Chamber of Commerce – https://www.austinchamber.com/economic-development/business-climate/economic-perspective

Austin Relocation Guide – http://www.austinrelocationguide.com/Austin-Wins-Big-as-Companies-Leave-California/

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