Migration drives Texas population growth, state comptroller report reveals

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Population expansion and migration were the subject of a new report compiled by the Texas Comptroller’s office that provides insight into state growth.

According to the report, which was released Thursday, the Lone Star State is growing more than twice the rate as the other 49 U.S. states combined, and 32 percent of the growth is credited to migration from other states. Although more Californians moved to Texas in 2015 than from any other state, 2011-15 U.S. Census Bureau data from Travis County lists California as the third-highest source of migrants behind Florida and New York. International immigration also plays a key role at 19 percent, with Texas’ border counties receiving a majority of their new residents from other countries.

Overall state migration gain is also attributed to “natural growth,” meaning more births and less deaths, as the state experienced more than twice as many births as deaths from 2010-16. In addition, many Texas residents who relocate remain in the same county or move to other counties within the state. However, Texans who move out of state move to California more than any other state, according to data compiled by the state comptroller’s office.

Why Texas?

High quality of life is cited as one of the top reasons for migrating to Texas, according to the report, as well as the low cost of living, natural resources and a business-friendly tax and regulatory structure. Location is also significant, because Texas is central in the nation and sits on a national border, allowing the state to “create and sustain competitive advantages in transportation, energy, wholesale and retail trade and more.”

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar credits these advantages for the consistent growth.

“Knowing who comes to our state and where they are coming from can help us understand these migration trends and plan accordingly,” Hegar said in a statement.

The down side to growth

With a projected state population of 60 million by 2050, Texas is expected to face challenges in water demand, housing, transportation, schools and jobs. Rural counties face unique hardships in regards to growth, according to the report, because a decline in residents lends itself to the loss of health care, education and government resources.

Additionally, Texas homeownership rate was the eighth-lowest nationwide in 2016 at 61.5 percent. The decline is attributed in part to rising housing costs partially spurred by the demand from new residents.

From July 2015-July 2016, Texas’ fastest-growing large cities with a population of 50,000 or more accounted for half of the top 10 fastest-growing U.S. cities (including the top three).

Conroe: 7.8%
Frisco: 6.2%
McKinney: 5.9%
Georgetown: 5.5%
New Braunfels: 4.7%

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