Golden State to Lone Star State

This is how popular Dallas-Fort Worth is for Californians on the move

This is how popular Dallas-Fort Worth is for Californians on the move

Fort Worth skyline
San Diego transplants are loving Fort Worth. Photo by benedek/Getty Images

The Hollywood-to-Texas population pipeline is overflowing, a new study suggests.

According to a StorageCafé data analysis, California to Texas is one of busiest interstate relocation routes in the United States, only challenged by the New York-to-Florida route. (It should be noted that the migration data is from the pre-pandemic year of 2019.)

"Texas is a magnet for California residents, with the Lone Star State attracting more than 82,000 move-ins in one year," the StorageCafe report says.

Just where are these Californians moving from, and moving to? Four of the seven most popular Texas counties are in North Texas: Dallas (No. 2), Tarrant (No. 4), Collin (No. 6), and Denton (No. 7). 

Houston's Harris County ranks as the No. 1 destination for people relocating to Texas from California. 

A prime reason Californians swapping the West Coast for Texas appears to be housing costs. The analysis shows the median price difference in 2020 between a home in Los Angeles County and a home in Dallas County was $488,000. And even though they’re paying less for a home in Dallas County, L.A. transplants are gaining a median 221 square feet in additional space.

“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,” William Fulton, director of Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research, tells StorageCafé, a self-storage platform.

The No. 1 California place of origin for North Texas newbies is Los Angeles County, followed by nearby Orange County, San Diego, and Alameda, and Santa Clara.

"Among the 25 most popular relocation routes, Santa Clara to Dallas features the biggest list price gap. Santa Clara median home prices are 72 percent higher than in Dallas County," the report says. "The Santa Clara County to Collin County move is the most lucrative, space-wise: a typical home in Collin County is 1,000 square feet bigger than a home in Santa Clara County."

Interestingly, San Diego County residents are favoring Tarrant County — maybe something to do with the laid-back vibe.

Here are the top 10 counties for new arrivals from all California counties in 2019:

  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.

“Elon Musk is well on his way to being the first human on Mars, but he’s far from being a pioneer when it comes to moving to Texas. His recent move to the state is just one among the almost 190 daily moves from California to Texas that occurred from 2010 to 2019,” StorageCafé says.