Droves of transplants from all over the country relocate to Austin every year. In fact, the Austin population has grown so fast that a recent analysis found that Austin had the second-highest population growth in the U.S. between 2010 and 2015. It seems like most of those transplants are coming from California, which inspired a study of data from the U.S. Census Bureau to see just how many Californians have moved to Austin. The numbers are pretty impressive.
California Transplants by the Numbers
Based on the study, the Austin metro area attracted an estimated 7,317 new residents each year from California’s 26 metro areas between 2010 and 2014. That equals an annual net gain of nearly 3,000 metro-dwelling Californians. Over the 5-year period, close to 15,000 California transplants relocated to Austin. In turn, 4,353 residents of the Austin area relocated each year to the same 26 California metros.
Los Angeles Leads the Relocation Pack
It may be easy to assume that most of the transplants are coming from Silicon Valley. The California tech hub has supplied Austin a wealth of talented, educated workers who are looking for a lower cost of living and higher quality of life. But a metro in Southern California is sending more transplants to Austin than Silicon Valley. Los Angeles tops the list of California cities with the most residents who relocate to Austin.
Where Californians Prefer to Live
City of Austin demographer Ryan Robinson told Austin Culturemap that Steiner Ranch is a popular neighborhood for people who relocate to Austin from LA and other parts of Southern California. Based on Census Bureau data and anecdotal evidence, the master-planned community that borders Lake Travis and Lake Austin is similar to the Southern California metropolis. “To my eye, the vistas, the rolling hills, and the lake give the Steiner area a look and feel that reminds me of parts of Orange County [California] and beyond,” Robinson says.
Why the California Migration Won’t End Soon
Austin Culturemap also spoke with Rice University’s director of the Hobby Center for the Study of Texas and former director of the Census Bureau, Steve Murdock. He says the exchange of residents between the country’s two largest states is to be expected. Texas and California also have the largest populations and prominent tech sectors.
Robinson says Californians will continue to relocate to Austin in droves “as long as we keep creating good jobs and our real estate market continues to be relatively affordable in comparison to these more expensive markets.”
“We love to complain about collapsing housing affordability in Austin,” Robinson says, “but the truth is that we are still affordable compared to where many of our migrants are moving from. This affordability differential is certainly less than it used to be, but appears to be rather durable nonetheless.”
Top 5 California Metros Supplying Austin’s Population Boom
Here’s the breakdown for the top five California metros sending new residents to the Austin metro area in 2010-2014:
Los Angeles metro area:
- Residents who moved per year from L.A. to Austin: 2,551
- Residents who moved per year from Austin to L.A.: 1,278
- Austin’s annual net gain from L.A.: 1,273 residents
San Jose metro area (Silicon Valley):
- Residents who moved per year from Silicon Valley to Austin: 829
- Residents who moved per year from Austin to Silicon Valley: 461
- Austin’s annual net gain from Silicon Valley: 368 residents
San Francisco metro area:
- Residents who moved per year from San Francisco to Austin: 1,299
- Residents who moved per year from Austin to San Francisco: 555
- Austin’s annual net gain from San Francisco: 744 residents
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario metro area (Inland Empire):
- Residents who moved per year from Inland Empire to Austin: 686 residents
- Residents who moved per year from Austin to Inland Empire: 398
- Austin’s annual net gain from Inland Empire: 288 residents
Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura metro area:
- Residents moved per year from Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura to Austin: 184
- Residents who moved per year from Austin to Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura: 0
- Austin’s annual net gain from Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura: 184 residents
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