Tuesday, May 28, 2013

NEW: CA anti-sprawl laws fail, TX low-zoning works

Texas has more balanced migration in older cities

California needs a large influx of international migration to sustain population levels in its older cities, especially the older core of the City of Los Angeles and in the suburbs of San Jose. Conversely, older cities in Texas reflect more balanced sources of in-migration.

Sources of Texas Metropolitan Area In-Migration 2010-2012

Type Metro Area Domestic In-migration International In-migration
City core +96,021 +75,701
Suburb +185,689 +37,213
Unlike California, Texas metropolitan areas had greater domestic in-migration than international migration.

Texas suburbs booming from domestic in-migration

From 2010 to 2012, Texas suburbs experienced a boom mostly from much higher levels of domestic in-migration than international migration. Eight of the 15 fastest-growing cities in the U.S. are located in Texas.

One exception to the Texas trend of domestic in-migration in its suburbs were the suburbs of San Antonio. They are attracting wealthy “business-savvy” Mexicans, comparable to Cubans who after Castro seized power in 1959 sought refuge in Miami. Conversely, California is attracting more Asian international migrants, especially to high-tech areas in San Francisco and San Jose.

Markets, not anti-sprawl laws, work best

California’s political economy is based on high tax rates; rent control and growth controls; inflated housing values, but relatively low property tax rates because of Proposition 13; mandatory inclusionary housing and more jobs for teachers, tax assessors, subsidized solar power technicians, urban planners and environmentalists. Its immigration policies are mostly the symbolic “Dream Act,” anti-deportation laws and “sanctuary cities.”

Texas’ economy is based on low or no business and income taxes, no rent control, few growth controls, higher property tax rates based on lower housing values, inclusionary old inner cities by markets, and tax incentives for private sector jobs. Only El Paso and Houston have sanctuary city policies. An anti-sanctuary city bill died in the Texas legislature in 2011.

California has passed anti-sprawl legislation to try to halt the out-migration from its older big cities. The results would have been miserable if international in-migration had not stemmed the outflow of population.

Texas has accomplished balanced in-migration into its older city centers where California has failed. The Texas incentive model is performing better than the California disincentive model as far as sustaining the center of its older big cities while Texas suburbs are booming at the same time. Texas is accomplishing what 75 years of public housing and lending policies could not in California: an older city core that is attracting a “return to the city” by domestic and international migration and concurrent suburban growth.
Full article and graphs here.

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