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Dallas vs. Houston: What Do Migration Numbers Tell Us About Which City Is Superior?

In the comments to the post about today’s Houston vs. Dallas radio appearance by Tim, frequent commenter RAB wonders what the migration numbers between the two cities might suggest about which Texas city is greatest. So I decided to look.

Thankfully the Urban Institute did most of the work for me just last year. They published a nifty interactive map displaying information about the migration between U.S. metropolitan areas from 2004-2010. The data comes from address changes reported to the IRS, so it would seem that tax dodgers remain unaccounted for. You can see the info for Dallas and Houston here:


The percentages are of the total number of households that migrated to or from the metropolitan area. As you might have guessed, folks most often are coming and going between the other major cities of Texas, though I do wonder what we should make of Los Angeles’ No. 2 spot on Dallas’ inflow list.

During this period, 4.66% of those who abandoned Dallas moved to Houston, while 5.92% of former Houstonians moved away to Dallas. That’s a difference of 1.26%. Therefore, Dallas is more popular in Houston than Houston is in Dallas.

Dallas wins.*

 *(Yes, I realize it’s not actually that simple, but just go with it. We came out on top.)