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Gov. Rick Perry touts Texas as a model state that escaped the recession with few battle scars and a lot of jobs, if you're looking for one.
An unemployment rate significantly below the national rate is one reason folks are coming here — 1,000 people daily, according to Perry.
"I am pleased to receive the endorsement of the Southwest Movers Association, which plays a key role in supporting the more than 1,000 people who move to Texas every day," he said Dec. 29. "As our state continues to grow, I look forward to working with members and stakeholders of SMA to ensure that Texas remains a top destination for job seekers."
Matthew Thompson, a senior writer and editor at the Office of the Governor, said the governor's staff divided the state's annual population growth by 365 days to estimate how much the population swells daily. The statistics came from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Between July 1, 2008 and July 1, 2009, Texas gained 478,012 more people — more than any other state (California, still boasting the biggest population overall, was second with 381,000 new people). That's about 1,300 people per day, by Thompson's calculation.
But 478,000 is the net population change. It includes births as well as people relocating to Texas, after accounting for deaths and people leaving the state. So, what part of that net figure represents newcomers?
With help from the U.S. Census Bureau, we learned that about 635 people come to Texas every day, on average. A census official based that number on average daily net migration from other states (393) plus average daily net migration from other countries (242).
A separate estimate of the actual number of people entering the state comes from the Internal Revenue Service, which tracks the addresses of people who file taxes each year, and reports that information to the Census Bureau. The IRS found that 493,840 people switched their residence to Texas between the time they filed in 2007 and when they filed in 2008 — that's about 1,353 people each day. (The IRS' data are slightly older than the figures Perry cites as evidence for his claim.)
In the end, Perry came close to getting it right, though he didn't take into account in-state births or people moving away. Statistically speaking, of course, a set number of people aren't moving to Texas every day because that number varies. But if you rely on IRS data collected in 2007 and 2008, more than 1,300 people on average were relocating here during that time frame.
We rule Perry's claim Mostly True, even if he wasn't using the right data as evidence.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Unemployment rates for states, accessed Jan. 6
Interview with Matthew Thompson, senior writer and editor for the Office of Governor, Jan. 6
Interview with Robert Bernstein, U.S. Census Bureau public information officer, Jan. 7 and Jan. 11
Internal Revenue Service, 2007-2008 State-to-State Migration rows - INFLOW, Excel chart
Internal Revenue Service, 2007-2008 State-to-State Migration rows - OUTFLOW, Excel chart
Press release from Texans for Rick Perry, Southwest Movers Association Endorses Gov. Perry, Dec. 29, 2009
U.S. Census Bureau, Census Bureau: Texas gains the most in population, Dec. 23, 2009
U.S. Census Bureau, Components of Population Change, July 1, 2008 to July 1, 2009
U.S. Census Bureau, Rates of Components of Change, July 1, 2008 to July 1, 2009
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