There are countless indicators that people from all across the country are migrating to Texas in droves. Real estate prices have been bonkers for years; cities are swelling with newcomers; somebody is riding all those dang scooters that keep popping up everywhere from Lubbock to San Antonio. But one of the best sources of information on the subject is the company that many use to actually move all their stuff to their new homes. With the close of 2018, U-Haul released its list of the most popular states among its customers, and—not that you needed further evidence that Texas is a popular destination—our state easily topped the list for the third straight year.
According to U-Haul (which, in its press materials, now refers to its business model as “truck sharing,” borrowing from Silicon Valley parlance), Texas saw more than 50 percent of its one-way rentals coming into Texas rather than out in 2018. That’s a slight dip from 2017, but still better than Florida (number two), South Carolina (number three), and Utah (number four). California, meanwhile, managed to eke out a spot in the top 50 among U.S. states at number 48. (Sorry, Michigan and Illinois!)
Many of the boomtowns are in the suburban areas surrounding Houston, Austin, and the DFW Metroplex. Northeast Houston U-Haul President Robert Abidin said in a statement that, “Since Houston is booming, surrounding cities are seeing growth as well,” specifically singling out the northwest suburb of Spring, home of the new ExxonMobil campus.
Spring doesn’t just top Texas’s list, it comes very close to the top of the list of all U.S. cities experiencing an influx of new residents. (The California state capital of Sacramento takes the top spot—mostly because of people being priced out of the Bay Area, according to the company’s regional president.) As the second most in-demand city for DIY movers, though, Spring is one of two Texas cities to place in the top fifteen, with the North Texas suburb of McKinney at number eleven. The fact that the city destinations include both in-state and out-of-state moves accounts for why cities in states with relatively stagnant growth—like California, New York, and Pennsylvania—place high on the list.
Beyond the Houston and DFW suburbs, the cities in Texas that saw spikes in one-way U-Haul rentals—er, “shares”—were a diverse array of locations. Austin suburbs Pflugerville and Round Rock saw gains. But El Paso, Lubbock, RGV cities Pharr and Brownsville, and Kaufman—between Dallas and Tyler—were also identified as “notable cities with net gains” by U-Haul.
Of course, not everybody who moves to a new place does so by renting a U-Haul. If you’re skeptical of the company’s internal numbers, the results of a study released by the U.S. Census just before Christmas also lists Texas as the fastest-growing state in the country—albeit, as identified by U-Haul, at a slightly slower rate than in 2017. Regardless, however they’re getting here, people are still coming to Texas faster than they’re going anywhere else.