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10 Reasons Why So Many People Are Moving to Texas

By Tom Geoghegan
BBC News, Washington 

Half of the 10 fastest-growing cities in the US are in Texas, according to new figures. Why?

Every way you look at it, there are a lot of people moving to Texas.

Five of the 10 fastest-growing cities in the country between 2011 and 2012 were in Texas, according to new figures from the US Census Bureau. New York is way out in front in terms of added population, but Houston is second with San Antonio and Austin fourth and fifth.

In terms of percentage growth, it's even more Texas, Texas, Texas. Among the five cities that grew most, as a proportion of their size, between 2011 and 2012, three are Texan. San Marcos is out in front with the highest rate of growth among all US cities and towns - 4.9%.

Some of this Texan population boom is due to a natural increase - more births than deaths - but the numbers moving into the state from elsewhere in the US and from abroad far outstrip every other American state. Why?

1. Jobs
"I don't think people go for the weather or topography," says Joel Kotkin, professor of urban development at Chapman University in Orange, California. "The main reason people go is for employment. It's pretty simple.

Most new arrivals 2011-12 Texas: 210,590 N Carolina: 60,106 Virginia: 40,844
"The unconventional oil and gas boom has helped turn Texas into an economic juggernaut, particularly world energy capital Houston, but growth has also been strong in tech, manufacturing and business services."

Critics have questioned whether the "Texas miracle" is a myth, based on cheap labour and poor regulation.

But Kotkin says Texas has plenty of high-wage, blue-collar jobs and jobs for university graduates, although people looking for very high-wage jobs would probably head to Seattle, San Francisco and New York.

Four of the top 10 metropolitan areas for job growth in 2013 are in Texas, according to Kotkin's website, New Geography.

Texas also has a huge military presence, which grew as defence spending increased in the decade after 9/11. Many retired Texans first came to the state as service personnel.

2. It's cheaper
Once employed, it's hugely important that your pay cheque goes as far as possible, says Kotkin.

Fastest growing cities in US (%) 1: San Marcos, Texas (4.91) 2: South Jordan, Utah (4.87) 3: Midland, Texas (4.87) 4: Cedar Park, Texas 4.67) 5: Clarktown, Tenn (4.43) 6: Alpharetta, Georgia (4.37) 7: Georgetown, Texas (4.21) 8: Irvine, California (4,21) 9: Buckeye, Arizona (4.14) 10: Conroe, Texas (4.01) US Census Bureau, 2011-12.

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