‘Gone to Texas’ slogan might be appropriate again, says U-Haul

Texas flag 

GTT or “Gone to Texas” was used by many American immigrants to Texas in the 1800s. Many reported seeing empty cabins with the GTT paints or scratched into the doors of abandoned homes.

That might be the case again, nearly 200 years later as Texas is the No. 1 U.S. growth state for 2016, according to the latest U-Haul migration trends report.

That makes for quite a turnaround from 2015, when oil prices had dropped and Texas became a net-loss state, ranking No. 39 on this list. The year-over-year arrival of one-way U-Haul truck rentals rose 4 percent last year in Texas while departures held steady.

Florida, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Missouri complete the top five growth states. Illinois continues to rank 50th the top net-loss state, preceded by California’s slide to No. 49 after cracking the top five for 2015.

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Growth States are calculated by the net gain of one-way U-Haul truck rentals entering a state versus leaving a state during a calendar year. Migration trends data is compiled from more than 1.7 million one-way U-Haul truck rental transactions that occur annually.

While migration trends do not correlate directly to population or economic growth, U-Haul growth data is an effective gauge of how well states are attracting and maintaining residents, according to the Phoenix-based company.

Arrivals outpaced departures 50.8 to 49.2 percent in Texas last year thanks to locations such as Austin, the No. 2 U.S. Growth City in the 50,000-plus population category behind Madison, Wis.

Granbury, McKinney, Richardson, Temple, New Braunfels, Dallas and College Station are other notable Texas growth cities to see a bump in U-Haul arrivals in 2016, according to the data from U-Haul.

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“Everything in Texas is growing exponentially,” said Zane Rowland, U-Haul Company of North East Dallas president. “Our market is strong. Lots of major companies are moving to Texas because of the tax breaks. Between the low cost of living, the abundance of job opportunities and the ability to start a business, many people want to move to Texas.”

The Lone Star State has gained large operations, or seen expansions of existing operations, with the likes of Toyota, Apple and Amazon to increase employment opportunities.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tipped his hat to the U-Haul data.

“I am proud that Texas continues to be the state of choice for those looking for expanded economic opportunities,” he said in response to his state’s U-Haul growth ranking. “In the Lone Star State, we recognize that increased regulations and higher taxes are barriers to success for businesses, individuals and families. That is why, as governor, I will continue to work to ensure we promote a pro-growth environment across the state that gives everyone the opportunity to thrive, leading to a more prosperous Texas.”

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In 2016, U-Haul registered a net gain of about 80 neighborhood dealers across the state, making it more convenient for customers to access U-Haul trucks, trailers, self-storage, moving supplies, hitches, propane and many other products and services.

“When a customer comes to a U-Haul store, something significant is happening in their life,” said Kenneth Birch, U-Haul Company of Fort Worth president. “Maybe they just got married, they’re moving a child to college, or they got a new job. People come to us because they need help, and our services allow them to move at an affordable cost.”

U-Haul is an authority on migration trends with an expansive network that blankets all 50 states and 10 Canadian provinces. The geographical coverage from more than 21,000 U-Haul locations, including neighborhood dealers and company-owned and -operated stores, provides a comprehensive overview of where people are moving like no one else in the industry.

Releases on each of the top 10 growth states and the top U.S. Growth Cities are available at myuhaulstory.com.

U-Haul 2016 Growth States

1. Texas

2. Florida

3. Minnesota

4. Wisconsin

5. Missouri

6. Maine

7. Idaho

8. Louisiana

9. Vermont

10. Arkansas

11. Colorado

12. Tennessee

13. Iowa

14. New Hampshire

15. Delaware

16. Washington

17. Connecticut

18. South Dakota

19. District of Columbia*

20. Kansas

21. Alabama

22. South Carolina

23. Nebraska

24. Oregon

25. West Virginia

26. Wyoming

27. Montana

28. Alaska

29. Mississippi

30. Virginia

31. Kentucky

32. North Dakota

33. New Mexico

34. Oklahoma

35. New York

36. Rhode Island

37. Maryland

38. Utah

39. Indiana

40. Ohio

41. New Jersey

42. Massachusetts

43. Nevada

44. North Carolina

45. Pennsylvania

46. Arizona

47. Georgia

48. Michigan

49. California

50. Illinois

* Washington, D.C. is its own U-Haul territory and is listed among states for migration purposes. Hawaii is not included since state-to-state truck rentals are not applicable.