Americans Are Flocking to Texas

Sixteen percent of all American moving between July 2006 and July 2007 headed to Texas according to Census data released March 27. Four Texas regions were among the top ten destinations, mostly in the South and West.

"Four Texas metropolitan centers were among the biggest population gainers as Americans continued their trend of moving to the Sun Belt in 2006 and 2007, according to Census Bureau estimates to be released Thursday (3/27). Dallas-Fort Worth added more than 162,000 people between July 2006 and July 2007, the most of any metro area.

"Detroit lost more than three times as many people as any other metropolitan center: more than 27,300 residents.

Experts credit much of the growth in the South to relatively strong local economies and housing prices that are among the most affordable in the United States."

The anomaly among the top 10 regions with the highest population gains was Chicago at #7.

"Among other findings:

-- On a percentage basis, the Palm Coast, Fla., area was the fastest-growing in the nation. Population there jumped by 7.2 percent to more than 536,000.

-- New Orleans and its suburbs, recovering from Hurricane Katrina, grew by 4 percent, or nearly 40,000 people, putting it 16th in terms of raw numbers and eighth for percentage growth. During the same survey last year, the population of New Orleans had dropped by nearly 290,000 people."

Full Story: Americans on the move are heading to Texas

Comments

Comments

Texas sprawl = low cost housing and short commute

According to the Demographia Housing Affordability Survey Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston are among the most affordable metropolitan areas in the developed world.

Data from the American Community Survey reveals that commute times for the two large Texas cities are significantly below those of the other largest U.S. cities.

Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston are also, of course, the most sprawled major metropolitan areas in the U.S.

Texas sprawl redux = longer than average commutes.

Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston are also, of course, the most sprawled major metropolitan areas in the U.S.

Commenting on the reliance of pre-chewed analyses from places such as Reason, Cato, auto-promoting websites and FF aside, if we look at the entire areas surrounding D-FW & Houston, we find their commutes are almost all longer than average in the ACS and higher than, say, Portland and Seattle areas, most Bay Area and LA-area counties, and two HOU counties are seconds less than the ATL commute*.

Best,

D

* Save for Galveston Co., which is ~1/2 minute less than average.

Affordability And Total Cost

Of course, Wendell Cox's figures on affordability just look at the cost of housing and not at the total cost of housing and transportation. If you added in the higher cost of transportation in an auto-dependent city, Dallas would look less affordable.

Dewey, you cannot quote Wendell Cox as gospel on this site. You are new to this site, and you don't know that many of his articles have been posted here and have been criticized in great detail. Cox represents a small ideologically-driven minority, and his conclusions are certainly not the last word.

Charles Siegel

Dallas and Houston are more affordable

Charles Siegel,

First, I'll quote anyone I want as long as my posts are not censored. I have great respect for Wendell Cox - and Randall O'Toole also - and I really don't care if you do or not. Further, the information I linked to at Wendell Cox's site was hard data he compiled, not his conclusions.

Please explain how I have a higher cost of living in a Dallas suburb than I did when I worked in New York or Sacramento or Philadelphia. My daily commute burns 480 gallons of gasoline annually. That $1500 annual expense is peanuts compared to the cost of housing and the higher tax burden of other large cities.

FYI, Dallas does have rail transit. But few commuters use it because it is so slow.

What Is Wrong With Cox And Dewey

Do a search for the term "location efficient mortgage" and you will get lots of information about the tradeoff between housing and transportation costs.

Note that I didn't say you shouldn't quote Cox but that you shouldn't quote him as gospel, since he has been much criticized on this site. The most obvious flaw in Cox's reasoning and yours is the following:

Your arguments always take this form: statistical studies show that people are moving to sprawl; therefore people like sprawl; therefore people should live in sprawl.

I can make the same argument about obesity: statistical studies show that Americans are becoming more obese; therefore people like to be obese; therefore people should become obese.

Of course, the flaw is that people want many things, some of which are incompatible. Once you are an adult rather than an impulsive child, you balance the different things you want and make decisions about which are most important.

People like to eat, but they don't like being obese, and they don't like the health hazards caused by obesity. Most people consider their health more important than the immediate gratification they get from eating. So the conclusion "people should become obese" doesn't follow from the premise "statistical studies show that people are becoming obese."

Likewise with sprawl. Many people like having their own houses on large lots, just as many people like to eat. But I think most of these people don't like the sprawl that occurs when everyone lives on large lots, any more than people like the obesity that follows when they eat too much; they like their houses, but they don't like being surrounded by an endless landscape of low-density housing, strip malls, freeways, etc; in fact, they want to live on a large lot to get away from all that ugliness. Finally, and much more important, most people don't like global warming and war for oil any more than they like getting diabetes because they are obese.

In both cases, obesity and sprawl, the question is whether we have the self-control to go easy on the immediate gratification in order to avoid the destructive remote consequences.

It is harder with sprawl, because the people going easy on the gratification are not the same as the people hardest hit by the consequences. Eg, global warming is already causing deaths in Africa, and the shift to ethanol has caused food shortages in Mexice.

Do you think it is more important for you to feed your car than for people in the developing nations to feed themselves? How many tons of CO2 does your car emit each year? I believe Texas has the highest per capita greenhouse gas emissions of any state. Our children and grandchildren will suffer because of your self-indulgences.

Charles Siegel

John Dewey likes sprawl (the opposite of congestion)

Charles Siegel: "But I think most of these people don't like the sprawl that occurs when everyone lives on large lots"

I disagree. I've only had time to read one of the preference surveys you provided, but the questions on it seemed designed to produce the answers desired by sprawl critics. Specifically, the description of a sprawled community included:

- one acre lots;
- no sidewalks;
- 45 minute commutes; and
- no public transportation.

That's not what happened in Texas's sprawled cities, and I'm not surprised those surveyed rejected such an overweighted view of sprawl.

Charles Siegel: "I believe Texas has the highest per capita greenhouse gas emissions of any state."

If that's true, it's likely due as much to other factors as it is to sprawl:
- the enormous geographic size of the state;
- its geographic position as a crossroads of North American transportation;
- the world's largest collection of refineries and chemical plants; and
- the state's energy-intensive agriculture industries.

Charles Siegel: "How many tons of CO2 does your car emit each year? "

Don't know, don't care. I'm not convinced that anthropogenic global warming is a cause for alarm.

Warning: Global Warming Denier

"How many tons of CO2 does your car emit each year? "
Don't know, don't care. I'm not convinced that anthropogenic global warming is a cause for alarm.

Mr. Dewey shows he is on the lunatic fringe as a global warming denier. Our other favorite Texan, George W. Bush admits that anthropogenic global warming is a problem. Of course, the overwhelming majority of the world's scientists also believe that anthropogenic global warming is a problem - but why worry about the scientific evidence when it is so much easier to just adopt the opinion that is most convenient for your "lifestyle."

Note also that he didn't answer my point about the simple logical error he is making by arguing from the premise "statistical studies show that people are moving to sprawl" to the conclusion "we should build sprawl."

To repeat my point:
I can make the same argument about obesity: statistical studies show that Americans are becoming more obese; therefore people like to be obese; therefore people should become obese. Of course, the flaw is that people want many things, some of which are incompatible. Once you are an adult rather than an impulsive child, you balance the different things you want and make decisions about which are most important.

Charles Siegel

AGW denialist FUD.

Sheesh, Charles. This is like flypaper for denialists.

Now we're going to get denialist bot spam about '400 prominent scientists' and 'the sun' and all the other stuff with no evidence but prodigious output on The Internets and newspaper comment boards. Ah, well. Pop some popcorn.

Best,

D

Denier

Dano: I said "denier," which we all know is a silver penny from medieval France. Will that attract as many bots as the "d" word that you just used?

Incidentally, Mr. Dewey's comment:

"How many tons of CO2 does your car emit each year? "Don't know, don't care."

reminds me of this old joke:

Q: Which is worse, ignorance or apathy?
A: I don't know, and I don't care.

Charles Siegel

'Pragmatic' denialism.

Dano: I said "denier," which we all know is a silver penny from medieval France. Will that attract as many bots as the "d" word that you just used?

Well, I'm sure there were numerous words that attract search mode hits: anthropogenic combined with science and denier likely will do it, as would global and warming and scientific and problem. Too bad you didn't mention that Algore is fat or Algore and Nobel, Charles. Who knows what pragmatic fringe denizens we would have gotten then.

Best,

D

Transportation Cost

Is the cost of auto transit really higher than transit when you factor in all the costs (such as opportunity cost, full oerating costs, sales taxes, etc.), not just the face value of the transit pass (figuring in the full, unsubsidized cost of the automobile as well)? Are there any studies out there that back this up as I can't believe this is true outside very dense areas (unless I see then data of course)?

Texas commutes - shorter than other big cities

Greater Seattle is half the size of Houston or Dallas. Greater Portland about a third. Compare Dallas and Fort Worth commutes with other big cities and you'll see that Texas sprawl wins easily.

All but a very few commuters in the Dallas Fort Worth area live in these four counties (with average commute times shown):

Dallas County - 24.3
Tarrant County - 24.4
Collin County - 27.1
Denton County - 25.2

Because the first two are much larger, the weighted average commute for the Dallas Fort Worth metro area is certainly less than 25 minutes. Sprawled Houston has only slightly longer commute times.

How does that compare with other large cities? Here's the other largest counties in the U.S.:

Los Angeles County, CA - 28.7
Cook County, IL - 30.8
Maricopa County, AZ - 24.7
Orange County, CA - 25.6
San Diego County, CA - 25.9
Kings County, NY - 39.7
Miami-Dade County, FL - 29.0
Queens County, NY - 41.7
Riverside County, CA - 30.8
San Bernardino , CA - 28.1
Wayne County, MI - 23.5
Broward County, FL - 26.5
Santa Clara County, CA - 23.4
New York County, NY - 29.8
Middlesex County, MA - 27.1
Alameda County, CA - 27.2
Suffolk County, NY - 29.3
Philadelphia County, PA - 29.4

The counties with commute times approaching and exceeding 30 minutes are the more dense ones which have rail transit. My point is that density and mass transit do not provide shorter commutes.

Michael Lewyn's picture
Blogger

cause and effect issues

But how much longer would Manhattan commutes be WITHOUT rail transit?

Prof. Michael Lewyn
Florida Coastal School of Law
Jacksonville, FL

Michael Lewyn's picture
Blogger

also, I couldn't help noticing that....

Dallas County (rail transit) has shorter commutes than its suburbs (no rail transit). I wonder if this is a national pattern.

Detailed commute tables are at:

http://www.census.gov/acs/www/Products/Ranking/2002/R04T050.htm

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