U-Haul Runs Out of Trucks as Californians Leave For Texas and Other Republican-Run States

By Jonathan Walker | January 13, 2022
Jonathan loves talking politics, economics and philosophy. He carries unique perspectives on everything making him a rather odd mix of liberal-conservative with a streak of independent Austrian thought.
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New Yorkers load furniture into a U-haul moving truck in New York City.
New Yorkers load furniture into a U-haul moving truck in New York City. (Image: Alexi Rosenfeld via Getty Images)

Recent reports have suggested that California has seen a decline in population in the past year due to declining birth rates and migration, for example. A new report by U-Haul, a moving equipment and storage company, finds that migration to southern states has continued amidst the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021. Texas is the most popular destination.

In the annual U-Haul Growth Index based on transactional data, Texas, Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Arizona were the top five states with the highest number of U-Haul customers. It suggests people moving in big numbers to these states. 

California was ranked at the last spot on the list; Illinois was second to last. These states saw the largest net decline in one-way U-Haul trucks. The company admitted that the net loss of U-Haul trucks was not as severe in California in 2021 as in 2020. However, the company attributed this result to the fact that U-Haul ran out of trucks to rent and could not meet customer demand.

“We see a lot of growth coming from the East and West Coast… A lot of people moving here from California (and) New York. We also see a lot of people coming in from the Chicago markets. I think that’s a lot due to the job growth – a lot of opportunity here. The cost of living here is much lower than those areas. Texas is open for business,” Matt Merrill said in a statement. Merrill is the U-Haul Area District Vice President of the Dallas Fort-Worth Metroplex and West Texas.

In Texas, immigration was “statewide” and some places like the DFW Metroplex saw the biggest gains. Arrivals accounted for 50.2 percent of all one-way U-Haul traffic in Texas last year. Such truck arrivals increased 19 percent over 2020.

Kristina Ramos, the president of U-Haul in South Austin, suggested that one of the main reasons that a larger number of people are moving to Texas is that the state is growing fast. The cost of living is low and the job market is strong, making Texas a “no brainer” to people who wish to move. The fact that Texas does not have an income tax is also critical as it gives families more money to spend on themselves.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott recently tweeted that his state was growing the fastest in the country. “More people are choosing Texas because it is the best state to live, work, & raise a family,” he tweeted on Jan. 6. An image posted along with the tweet claimed that Texas has added 4 million people since 2010, which is more than the states of New York and California combined.

Additional data reflects the overarching trend of Americans moving from Democrat-run states to Republican-run states. 

In December, data from the U.S. Census Bureau revealed that blue states like New York and California saw a decline in population between July 2020 and July 2021. In contrast, the population of red states like Florida and Texas grew during this period. Interestingly, the most restrictive COVID-19 laws were implemented in Democrat-run states like California. Republican states like Texas tried to keep invasive COVID-19 laws to a minimum.

California has been losing people consistently for a decade. Between 2010 and 2020, 6.1 million people left to settle in other American states while receiving only 4.9 million new people. 

“The numbers don’t lie. People are leaving our state because it’s not affordable to live here. One party rule has made it almost impossible to raise a family,” Republican Kevin Faulconer, who served as the mayor of San Diego between 2014 and 2020, tweeted on May 8.