Texas leads the country in keeping its native-born residents home

A report by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas researchers say that economic growth, low taxes and big cities all can keep residents in their home states.

Texas leads the country in keeping its native-born residents home
People sit in Zilker Park on the second night of Austin City Limits Radio’s Blues on the Green concert on July 28, 2021. Credit: Sophie Park/The Texas Tribune

Texas natives are more likely to stick around their home state than people born in any other place in the U.S., according to a new analysis of Census data.

Approximately 82% of people born in Texas still lived there in 2021, research released Tuesday by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas showed, marking a stable or growing population and workforce in the state.

A high level of “stickiness” — or share of people who stay in their native state over time — could signal a strong culture that may attach natives to their home state or high poverty rates that make it hard to move, according to the Pew Research Center.

Both of those factors appear to be at play for Texas, which touts strong state pride among many residents and a growing economy. The state led the nation in new jobs created for the 12 months ending in July, but also currently ranks 47th in unemployment rate at 4.1%.

The sheer geographic size of Texas also raises moving costs and could disincentivize natives from leaving, according to the Dallas Fed’s analysis.

Researchers said that Texas’s status as a “sticky state” indicates that the state remains attractive to workers and that housing costs are relatively affordable, as an increasing cost of living can push natives out of their home states. They also noted that stickier states tend to have big cities, lower tax burdens and warmer weather, in perhaps a surprise to Texans suffering through a sweltering summer.

Texas is by far the “stickiest” state, with North Carolina coming in second at 75.5% of natives sticking around. Georgia, California and Utah are also ranked highly, with over 70% of natives staying in their respective home states.

Natives of states like Wyoming, North Dakota and Alaska are the most likely to leave home, with less than half of them staying, according to the research.

The Lone Star State’s population surpassed 30 million in 2022. Recent population growth in Texas is largely attributable to a large number of domestic migrants coming to Texas from other states, accounting for around half of the population growth between 2021 and 2022.

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This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2023/08/29/texas-native-born-stay/.

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