Oct 7, 2021 - News
Why people are moving to Texas from California
Welcome to Texas sign
Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

University of Texas at Austin and Stanford University released a joint study comparing the economic policies of California and Texas and how they affect quality of life.

Why it matters: The two most populous states in the country have long epitomized contrasting ideas about government, including policies on taxes, regulation and, more recently, pandemic response.

Context: Even before the pandemic, 50,000 Californians moved to Texas annually, often settling around Dallas.

  • Texas is one of the fastest-growing states in the country and gained two congressional seats in the latest census, while California is growing slower than the national average and lost two districts.
  • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has repeatedly taken aim at California, even campaigning with the motto "Don't California My Texas!"

Details: According to the study, crime rates and renewable-energy production in both states are similar, although California spends more per capita on both police and green energy subsidies.

  • The Lone Star State has lower income taxes, but higher property taxes and a lower percentage of insured residents.
  • The Golden State has much higher income taxes and spends 60% more than Texas on a per-resident basis.
  • California also spends more per K-12 student, but "student outcomes are if anything better in Texas," the study concludes.

By the numbers: The biggest economic difference between the states is the overall cost of living.

  • In California, 57.8% of houses cost more than $500,000.
  • In Texas, that number is only 7.8%. Most homes here are under $200,000.

What they're saying: "Both [states] have much to celebrate," the study's authors write. "Population and employment surged in Texas while California's per-capita income and GDP have soared in recent years."

The bottom line: The study is diplomatic about it, but people come to Texas because it's inexpensive relative to the rest of the country.

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