Texas is the top choice among Gen Zers for their new place of residence, surpassing all other states

Texas is known for its larger-than-life characteristics, from its oversized hats to vast ranches under clear blue skies. Recently, the state’s appeal has extended to its growing young workforce.

According to an analysis by Zillow Group Inc., a real estate firm based in Seattle, Texas is attracting more Gen Z movers than any other state. The data was sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2022 American Community Survey.

Texas welcomed over 76,000 Gen Z movers, surpassing California and Florida, which ranked second and third with over 40,000 each. The net figure accounts for individuals moving into the state minus those moving out.

The term “Gen Z” generally refers to those aged 12 to 27, as defined by the Pew Research Center.

Edward Berchick, Zillow’s principal population scientist, noted, “Gen Z movers are likely drawn to the job opportunities in these states, despite the higher costs of housing. They may also be in a stage of life where they’re willing and able to be flexible in their standards of living while starting their careers.”

This influx of young talent to Texas positions the state ahead of others in terms of building a future workforce, according to Mallory Vachon, senior economist at LaborIQ by ThinkWhy, a Dallas-based firm that tracks jobs and pay.

Vachon stated, “An increase in the young, working-age population illustrates the strength of the state’s economy and job market. Workers of all ages, but especially young workers, are moving to Texas for the opportunity. And if these young workers remain in the state, they’re part of the talent pool for local businesses for many years to come.”

It ultimately boils down to employment opportunities.

Despite an expected slowdown in employment growth to 2%, Texas has experienced an impressive 31-month streak of job growth, with abundant employment prospects still available throughout the state.

According to an analysis by Deputy, a global scheduling software platform, Texas has added tens of thousands of jobs in various sectors such as retail, health care, and the service industry. The study predicts that Texas is poised to surpass California as the largest retail market in the country.

Ray Perryman, CEO of The Perryman Group, a Waco-based research firm, highlighted, “The key to net in-migration from other states is the opportunities Texas offers.” He emphasized the state’s strong job growth, corporate relocations, high-growth sectors, and other economic advantages.

Regarding housing, Texas outshines states like Florida and California. While California ranks third in the nation for the worst cost of living, Florida sits at 29th. Texas, although not the cheapest, has a cost of living below the national average, placing 19th on the list.

Perryman added, “It’s easier to afford a house and a decent lifestyle in Texas than in many parts of the country, particularly those that are economically prosperous.” He noted that Texas’ lower tax structure, including the absence of an income tax, contributes to financial success and wealth building.

Moreover, Texas excels in talent retention. According to research from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, individuals born in Texas are the least likely in the nation to move out. This unique trait is expected to contribute to Texas’ population growth, potentially gaining up to 5 million people by the state’s bicentennial anniversary in 2036, as projected by Texas 2036, a Dallas-based data research group.

For Texas, this demographic trend is promising. States like Michigan, which are experiencing a net loss of Gen Z individuals, are not as fortunate. As Gen Z is expected to become a larger labor force than baby boomers this year, a young workforce powered by Gen Z will be crucial for any state’s growth.

Vachon noted, “Texas’ prosperity for young people is particularly beneficial for the state’s major cities, as that’s where much of the talent is heading. Texas has four of the 10 largest cities in the country, including Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and Austin, and is generally more affordable. For young people early in their careers, this is a strong selling point.”

In the long term, attracting and retaining younger workers will be vital for growth, as they are more likely to stay, start families, and continue contributing to local economies.

However, this growth also means that Texas’ political leaders in Austin must invest in critical needs to maintain their leading position and prepare for the ongoing population boom, Perryman emphasized. He suggested continuing to support industry growth and expansion, while also investing in infrastructure such as education, highways, broadband, and parks, and avoiding social legislation that might discourage certain groups.

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