In The Future, Everyone Will Live in Texas

A blog about business and economics.
June 14 2012 11:05 AM

In The Future, Everyone Will Live in Texas

1339686283837

Houston is the fastest-growing city in America, but what's really remarkable about Houston is that it's not just Houston. The Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin metro areas are all also growing super-fast and so are several of Texas' smaller metro areas. There are many factors inspiring this population growth, but as you can see above one striking thing is simply that Texas is handing out building permits at a rapid clip (data here).

It used to be that California led the nation in building permits. That makes sense. Even though California's not as geographically expansive as Texas it is extremely large. And a whole bunch of factors would lead you to assume that California would add people more rapidly than Texas. They share proximity to Mexico, but California is home to our Pacific Ocean ports and certainly trade with Asia has exploded. What's more, California has better weather than Texas and substantially higher wages. But in the nineties California downshifted its permitting and ran neck-in-neck with Texas for a while. Then starting in the mid-aughts Texas has just gobbled up a bigger and bigger share of America's permitting. The precise legal and economic underpinnings of this are complicated, but the key difference to me is simply a different mentality. Texas politicians of both parties by and large want to see growth. They brag about it. California politicians fear it, as if we're one new building away from dystopia.

Advertisement

And yet though California is certainly more crowded than Texas, it has less than one fifth the population density of New Jersey and a little bit more than half that of Delaware. Considering that unlike those states, California contains the urban cores of several major cities that's still plenty of room for lots of suburban housing and parks and such. But the state would have to want to see growth.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

The XX Factor

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

Trending News Channel
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 21 2014 1:15 PM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 5  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Time Heist."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 21 2014 2:00 PM Colin Farrell Will Star in True Detective’s Second Season
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 21 2014 8:00 AM An Astronaut’s Guided Video Tour of Earth
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.