moving to texas from calfironia

Why Are So Many Californians Moving to Texas?


by Kiran Bahl Posted on March 27, 2024

California and Texas are the two largest states in the U.S. after Alaska — and both are massive. But is everything really bigger and better in the Lone Star State? If the ongoing influx in the California-to-Texas pipeline is any indication, the answer may be yes. Why are so many Californians moving to Texas, though? If you’re among those considering forsaking the Golden State for the Lone Star State, here are some pros and cons of moving from California to Texas to help answer that question.

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Pro: Taxes Aren’t So Taxing in Texas.

So why are people moving to Texas exactly? Economics is one of the biggest reasons — particularly when we’re talking about exiles from the Golden State. Californians pay as much as 13.3 percent in state income tax and, depending on local rates, between 7.25 percent and 10.75 percent in sales tax. In Texas, there is no state income tax, and sales tax ranges from 6.25 percent to 8.25 percent. Surprisingly, though, the effective property tax rate in Texas is higher than in California at 1.68 percent vs. 0.75 percent.

In business, too, Texas has an edge. California’s corporate income tax rate is 8.84 percent, and Texas does not have one — but the state does levy a franchise tax in some cases (still, it’s less than 1 percent). These numbers bode well for entrepreneurs wanting to start a business.

A woman is shopping in a Texas grocery store. She’s carrying a green basket filled with eggs and other items.
Shoppers in Texas pay only a 6.25% to 8.25% sales tax — compared to California’s sales tax rate of up to 10.75%.

Pro: The Cost of Living in Texas Is Actually Liveable.

In addition to paying lower taxes, you’re going to have a much easier time finding an affordable house in most Texas towns — Austin, for instance — than in California. 

California’s average home value in February 2024 is around $765,200, up 5.4% compared to a year earlier. Texas homes have an average value of only around $298,600, after a slight decrease in the past year. Of course, these values are state-wide, and local home prices can vary substantially. Still, the difference between the two housing markets is clear — and you can likely expect much more home for your dollar when moving from California to Texas.

The overall cost of living is relatively reasonable in Texas, as well, at about 6 percent less than the rest of the U.S. Not surprisingly, California clocks in at nearly 50 percent higher. Savings on everything from food to gas and childcare can mean thousands of dollars in your pocket each year when moving to Texas from California.

Q: Why are so many Californians moving to Texas? 
To paraphrase a long-ago politico, “It’s the economy.” A stronger jobs market, overall lower cost of living, and more affordable housing market are fueling the exodus from California to Texas. 

Pro: There Are Growing Employment Opportunities.

Texas is a hotspot — in more ways than one! For frequent fliers who travel for work, its central location makes getting to either coast from most major Texas cities fairly easy and less expensive than from many other urban hubs. 

And speaking of work, the strong jobs picture may have a great deal to do with why we’re seeing so many Californians moving to Texas — particularly in this ongoing era of working from home. The Lone Star State has had a record-breaking couple of years when it comes to the labor market, with 27 consecutive months of new highs in the number of people employed. Meanwhile, in California, unemployment jumped to 5.2 percent in January 2024, the state’s highest rate in two years.

Q: What states are most Californians moving to? 
According to the latest data, the top five states that Californians are relocating to include Texas, Arizona, Nevada, Washington, and Oregon. 
A traffic jam on the 5 freeway heading south in Orange County, California.
Like most major metro areas in the U.S., cities in Texas and California have challenges with traffic congestion — but lower gas prices in the Lone Star State may help ease the pain.

Pro: Texas Traffic Isn’t That Bad (Compared to California).

When it comes to traffic, California is notorious — depending on the city, the road, and the time of day, of course. And while Texas may have its bumper-to-bumper moments, the state’s drivers overall fare much better in traffic: The average Los Angeles driver spends 157 hours behind the wheel every year, compared to 113 hours for a Dallas/Fort Worth driver. And to top it off, the average price for regular gas in California is typically at least a couple of dollars higher than in Texas.

Q: What’s the process for getting a Texas driver’s license?
New Lone Star State residents have to make a visit to the Department of Public Safety (DPS) instead of the DMV when it comes time to get a Texas driver’s license. And we’re sorry to report that the state is infamous for its two-hour waits at the DPS, even with a booked appointment time. California, on the other hand, has upgraded to streamlined systems that make it more efficient for Golden Staters — but then again, they might have to spend two hours in bumper-to-bumper California traffic to get there.

Con: You’ll Likely Get a Smaller Paycheck.

There are a few cons to consider before moving to Texas from California. And a lower median household income in the Lone Star State may be one of them, at around $67,000 compared to California's nearly $85,000. Of course, the cost of pretty much everything is higher in California, including taxes, childcare, and groceries. But just prepare yourself for potential sticker shock when you see that first Texas paycheck.  

A yellow lab is drinking water as it’s poured from a plastic water bottle by his owner on a hot summer day.
The heat is on in Texas, where spikes to the 90s and even 100s aren’t uncommon in the sultry summer months. 

Con: Texas Gets Hot!

California is known for its gorgeous weather, especially in the northern regions of the state: not too hot, not too cold, with low humidity. Texas, on the other hand, tends to be very hot and humid in the summer, with an average statewide temp of 86 degrees. Of course, where you are in the state makes a difference — from cities including Houston on the muggy Gulf Coast, where spikes in the high 90s and even into the 100s aren’t uncommon, to the gorgeous riverside neighborhoods of San Antonio. For many Texans, though, the heat is a fair trade-off for a lower cost of living. Chalk it up to the pros and cons of moving to Texas from California — just be sure to have air conditioning, no matter where you live!

Con: You’ll Say Goodbye to Riding the Waves.

The Texas Gulf Coast has waves, but Californians moving to Texas may miss the tumultuous Pacific surf. To ease the disappointment, we recommend you take up a favorite pastime of many Texans: Pack a cooler and go jump in a lake. There are plenty to choose from, particularly in the gorgeous Texas Hill Country between Austin and San Antonio. 

Q: Is it worth moving from California to Texas? 
Whether moving to Texas from California is worth it really depends on your personal circumstances, of course. But with a lower cost of living, culture-rich cities, and its central location, Texas definitely has an edge for some folks over living in California. 

The Best Way To Move From California to Texas

Once you’ve chosen your new city, it’s time to plan your relocation. Item one on your checklist should be choosing your moving company — and there are options to fit every budget, from hiring a full-service moving company to DIYing it with a rental truck. You can also mix and match by renting a moving truck in California and then hiring movers in Texas to help you unload it (Bonus: They’re likely less expensive than movers in California). And finally, there’s the hybrid option of portable moving containers with built-in storage. Let’s take a look at each of these and see what’s best for your move.

Full-Service Movers
If you want someone else to do the majority of the work, hire full-service movers in California to get ‘er done. Keep in mind that this is typically the most expensive way to go. For example, the cost of moving from Los Angeles to Dallas will run from about $3K to $8K or more with a full-service moving company. And if you’re moving to Texas with kids, count on inevitable expenses along the way. 

Moving Truck Rental
If the moving cost from California to Texas is your main concern, renting a truck and doing all the packing, loading, and driving yourself may be the cheapest way to go. Just remember that it takes a lot of work and a lot of time. The cost for that Los Angeles to Dallas move? A much more manageable $1,000 to $2,500(ish) — before you factor in gas, hotels, and food on the road.

A PODS truck is transporting a PODS container out of a California neighborhood to its new home in Texas.
Pack at your own pace with a PODS portable container parked outside your door — and when you’re ready, they’ll pick it up and take it to your new home in Texas. 

Portable Moving Containers
The hybrid option is to have a PODS portable container delivered to your home, where you can pack and load at your leisure. When you’re ready, PODS will pick it up and transport it to your new Texas home. One of the big advantages to moving with PODS is that storage is built in. And if you need more time, you can keep your container at a PODS Storage Center for as long as you want, and access it as needed. 

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PODS City Service
Moving from Los Angeles or San Francisco, or to Dallas? PODS City Service specializes in moves in and out of these cities. No need to worry about getting parking permits, or keeping an eye on your container as you unload from a busy city street. A PODS driver will stay with your stuff to make sure everything is golden.

The Best Way To Move From California to Texas

What’s the best way to transport your car across the country? Your options: drive, tow, or ship. The downside to making the drive is that it takes a lot of time — 1,500 miles, give or take, is a long road trip! Gas is pricey, too. Towing will generally save on the wear and tear to your vehicle, but there’s a learning curve if you’ve never driven a truck with a car hitched to it. Shipping is the best bet for many making the move from California to Texas. And PODS can refer you to trusted auto-transport partners, so you can find the best one for your needs.

Pro Tip: Before you take off for Texas, be sure to read our checklist of must-dos for moving out of state.

Ready To Make Your Move?

From beautiful Pacific beaches to the splendor of wine country and Hollywood glamor, there is so much to explore and enjoy on the West Coast. In fact, there are still some folks moving from Texas to California. For many people, though, experiencing all the Golden State has to offer has become too costly for comfort. Texas is a strong contender to take them in — with lower taxes, a reasonable cost of living, and culture-rich cities, among other benefits. You’ll gain some Southern charm and hospitality, too. Like the infamous Texan slogan says, “Don’t mess with Texas” — move there instead!


Kiran Bahl is a freelance writer who loves discovering how to make something better yet simpler at the same time. She lives happily and peacefully amongst her family and enjoys dessert every day — especially after meeting a writing deadline early.

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The price of homes is so much lower in Texas! The same size house is over a million in CA and here is one for sale right now in the best area near San Antonio for under $500000!
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