If you spend enough time in Texas, you’ll quickly become comfortable with phrases like “y’all,” “bless your heart” and “howdy.” But in recent years, there’s a saying that’s been almost as prevalent: “Don’t California My Texas.”
The phrase, borne of the massive migration of Californians to Texas over the last decade, captures conservative Texans’ political and economic concerns about a very real migration pattern — a trek that several high profile celebrities and business leaders joined in this year.
Joe Rogan’s decision to leave California for Texas became a point of conversation and speculation for months until the UFC host and comedian finally confirmed the move.
And this week, Tesla founder Elon Musk ended speculation around his own move after months of criticizing California for its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and threats to move more of his business operations out of the state. Musk confirmed he had moved to Texas on Tuesday during The Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council annual summit.
Then tech giant Oracle Corp. joined the migration, saying Friday it will move its headquarters from Silicon Valley to Austin, Texas, and let many employees choose their office locations and decide whether to work from home. The business software maker said it will keep major hubs at its current home in Redwood City, California, and other locations.
“We believe these moves best position Oracle for growth and provide our personnel with more flexibility about where and how they work,” the company said in a regulatory filing.
Billionaire tech mogul Musk’s high-profile relocation is the latest of more than 687,000 Californians who’ve made the move to the Lone Star State over the last decade, according to an analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data from 2010-2019.
Californians made up roughly 13% of the entire population that has migrated to Texas since 2010, more than any other single state.
Last year, 82,235 Californians moved to Texas, down just slightly from the 10-year peak in 2018 of 86,164.
It makes sense – the two states are the most populous in the country and are each economic powerhouses. And, of course, many Texans move to California each year as well, although the scales tip in favor of Texas as the top destination.
Factoring in net migration between the two states, about 300,000 more Californians ended up in Texas in the last 10 years than Texans ended up in California.
Texas boasts lower taxes and a more relaxed regulatory environment than California, which is a draw for relocating companies big and small.
U.S. Census Bureau estimates for 2020 aren’t out yet to tell whether between the states has continued during the pandemic. But at least one company that helps with those moves is out with data backing up the trend.
Allied Van Lines, one of the largest moving companies in the world, released its annual report Wednesday on moving trends, and it lists Texas as the second-most-popular destination this year behind Florida. And Austin held on to its title as the top city for consumers.
When it came to corporate moves, Texas was No. 1, topping California, Illinois, Florida and North Carolina as “magnet states,” according to Allied’s report.
Earlier this month, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co., part of one of Silicon Valley’s founding companies, said it is relocating its global headquarters to suburban Houston from San Jose. The company is building a “state-of-the-art” campus in spring to accommodate the 2,600 workers it has in the Houston area. HPE also has operations in Plano and Austin.
“HPE’s largest U.S. employment hub, Houston, is an attractive market to recruit and retain future diverse talent,” the company said.
And in July, Musk picked Austin as the site for Tesla’s largest U.S. assembly plant — a $1.1 billion investment that’ll employ at least 5,000 workers.
It’ll be one of Texas’ largest job-creating projects in the last decade. Toyota invested $1 billion when it moved its North American headquarters and about 4,000 jobs from California to Plano in 2017.
Information from The Associated Press was included in this report.