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Houston is the Leading Destination for California Residents Headed to Texas

Published Oct 19, 2021 by A.J. Mistretta

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More former California residents are ending up in Harris County than any other part of Texas, according to a new report. 

Harris County saw 8,408 new arrivals from California in 2019, an analysis of Census data from StorageCafe shows. The vast majority of those relocating residents—3,263 to be exact—moved from Los Angeles County. It’s unclear whether the dynamics of the pandemic altered that trend or intensified it, but it’s evident that Harris County is an attractive destination for folks looking for options outside the Golden State. 

Between 2010 and 2019, nearly 690,000 Californians moved to Texas, or roughly 190 moves a day. Cost of living is playing a big part in the decision process. For instance, an average home in Harris County is 57% cheaper than in Los Angeles County. Plus, the local unemployment rate is just 7.4% compared with LA County at 10%. 

“I think there’s no question that the main driver is housing prices in California,” said Bill Fulton, Director of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice University. “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.” 

California gave up more than 82,000 residents to the Lone Star State in 2019. Here are the top Texas destination counties for former Californians: 

  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.

San Diego County is the second leading origin city for Californians moving to Texas, the report shows. Many of those residents are choosing Tarrant and Bexar counties. 

Learn more about Houston area neighborhoods and living in the region. 


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