Actually, most newcomers to Austin aren’t rich Californians


The Californication of Austin has been greatly exaggerated. From an analysis by Farm&City:

The people who are coming are generally not Californians (currently 4% of the region’s growth) but instead are predominantly the children of people living in this region already and Hispanics from across Texas moving to Austin. 72% of the region’s growth over the next ten years will be from adding people of color.

These stats are of course meant to counter the narrative pushed by anti-growth political forces that adding more housing only serves well-to-do newcomers, at the expense of humble, long-time residents of modest means. Laura Morrison has made not-so-subtle appeals to that reasoning: “It’s time for a leader whose priority is the people who live here now.”

The stats don’t include information about income, but I’m going to go out on the limb and say that the vast majority of the newcomers do not have a cushy six-figure job with unlimited vacation and a break room with a foosball table and microbrew on tap.

Skepticism of newcomers might be a viable political message if Austin liberals are convinced that newcomers are tech bros. The more they become aware that that’s not the case, the less comfortable they will be supporting the Make Austin Great Again message. It will seem a little too familiar to the message they are dedicated to #resist.

Leave a Reply