Texas Gov. Greg Abbott first warned of the coming scourge in 2015. Ousted Dallas Republican Congressman Pete Sessions spotted it, too, but not soon enough to stave off defeat from Democrat Colin Allred. The real threat to Texas, its economic prosperity and its way of life, at least to Republicans like Abbott, Sessions and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, comes not from within the state, but from outsiders.
“What irony it is that that which we have built has also turned us into a larger metroplex that has gathered people from all over the country, including those from parts of our West who have come to Dallas and perhaps not really understood the true nature of Texas,” Sessions lamented in his late-night concession speech last November.
Dallas has it so good in Sessions' mind that liberals are coming here to ruin it. As strange as it sounds, data from a new affordable housing and migration report by NerdWallet actually backs up the idea. Texas, and Dallas specifically, have been getting "Californized."
Between 2012 and 2016, 280,000 people a year, about 1.4 million total, moved to DFW. While most of those movers came from other parts of Texas, Dallas received its biggest out-of-state influx from Los Angeles. New York and Chicago, two progressive cities in their own rights, sent the second- and third-most transplants the city's way, respectively.
During the same five-year period, only about 850,000 people moved away from the city, according to NerdWallet. Many of those who left went to Houston, Austin, San Antonio or another city in Texas. People who left the state were most likely to head to Oklahoma City, which became home to 20,000 former North Texas residents from 2012 to ’16.
People come to the region to work and find an easier way of life than they might in bigger or more expensive cities, says Holden Lewis, a home expert at NerdWallet.
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“Dallas-Fort Worth has been growing rapidly over the last few years, attracting newcomers with its strong job market, thriving cultural scene and great taco places,” he said. “With plenty of room to grow, the sprawling metroplex has relatively affordable housing, too. DFW attracts lots of newcomers from Los Angeles, New York and Chicago, all of which have higher housing costs for owners as well as renters.”
Over the study period, Dallas' median monthly housing cost for homeowners was $1,650 per month, about 20 percent of the region’s typical household income for those who own a house. In Los Angeles, the average home cost a homeowner $2,470 per month, about 27 percent of his or her income.
For renters, housing costs were a bigger burden, with the region's $1,090 average rent costing the typical renter 28 percent of his or her income, but remained competitive with Los Angeles, where average rental costs were $1,480, or about 35 percent of household income.