Emails, Lloyd Potter, Texas state demographer, Sept. 8 and 10, 2013

5:02 pm

Sept. 8, 2013

According to the 2011 American Community Survey (ACS), there were an estimated 109,887 net migrants to Texas from within the U.S (excluding Puerto Rico, U.S. Territories, and foreign countries). Thus, there would be approximately 301 net migrants to Texas from other states each day in 2011. Of those migrants, about 19.9% were from California, 9.3% from Florida, and 15.5% from New York.

Texas had an estimated net out migration in 2011 to States such as Oklahoma (-11.2%), Louisiana (-4.3%)and South Carolina (-4.1%).

It is possible that all or a large percent of the migrants coming to Texas are Republicans and those leaving are Democrats, but the ACS does not provide a basis to determine this. I’m not sure what % of adults in each of these states is Democrat and Republican, but if you assume the migrants reflect the party composition of the state they are leaving, it would suggest that Texas send out more Republicans than Democrats, and CA, FL, and NY are sending more Democrats than Republicans. Of course it could also be that streams are more likely to reflect the state of destination, and thus we’d see more Republicans in the stream from CA, FL, and NY, while Texas may be sending Democrats to other states. Again, no way to know this from ACS.

Note: I did not calculate the sampling margin of error for the estimate of net migrants to Texas so it’s important to realize that the true number is within a +/- range.  

Lloyd B. Potter, PhD, MPH

Texas State Demographer

Director, Institute for Demographic and Socioeconomic Research and Texas State Data Center

Professor, Department of Demography

University of Texas at San Antonio

9:22 pm

Sept. 8, 2013

Also you should look at the Census Bureau’s population estimates that are broken out by components of change.

They estimate net domestic migration by state (using sources in addition to ACS such as IRS filing data). Between 2011 and 2012 they estimate TX had 141k net domestic migrants ( or about 386 migrants per day (ACS for 2011 had it at about 301 per day – referring to a different but slightly overlapping time period). The population estimates don’t break it out by flows between states. None-the-less both sources put the number of domestic migrants below 1,000-1,300. He may be referring to population change when using those numbers.  The Census Bureau estimated that natural increase (births-deaths) for TX was 215k (or 589 per day – which refers to births over deaths) between 2011 and 2012.  Certainly, some of those will grow up to be Republican, but given that they tend to be of Hispanic descent, they may be more likely to grow up to be Democrats. The balance are international migrants who aren’t eligible to vote until they attain citizenship. I don’t know about the political leanings of international migrants.

So he seems to be using the population increase numbers which include natural increase, net domestic migration, and international migration and drawing assumptions from this. It’s unlikely that there are 500 domestic migrants per day in Texas. A substantial proportion of 300-390 daily domestic migrants are not eligible to vote (i.e. less than 18 or non-citizens) and some of the domestic migrants are likely to be democrats, libertarians, and maybe even a green party member to two.  While Republicans moving to the Texas is one way to offset the trend of increasing democrats resulting from a growing minority population relative to slow growth and an eventual likely decline in the non-Hispanic white population in Texas, given the estimates of domestic migration from two different sources are substantially less than 500, I’m a bit doubtful of the claim that 500 registered Republicans are moving in each day.

From: Selby, Gardner (CMG-Austin) []

Sent: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 5:36 PM

To: Lloyd Potter

Subject: RE: Following up


Thanks. I understand your point that it’s unlikely that there’s a net gain of  500 Republicans a day. But we are checking this statement—that 500 Rs move into the state every day (in other words, only one end of what you are speaking to, I think).


Do you also think it’s highly unlikely that 500 Rs are moving in daily? If so, why? If not, why?

7:44 pm

Sept. 10, 2013

I think that statement would be difficult to definitively argue against without a source of information about the party preference of in-migrants. If you have 1,400 people moving in each day, it does seem quite feasible that 500 could be adult, citizen, Republicans. It’s also feasible that, there are 500 adult citizen Democrats moving in as well. We really don’t have a basis from Census Bureau data to determine the preferred political party of in-migrants or to know if one party is out-numbering the other in the inflow of migrants.