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Despite Fast-Paced Growth, 55,000 People Are Leaving Austin Every Year

Patrick Dentler/KUT
Austin apparently draws an estimated crowd of around 110 new residents everyday.

The number 110 gets thrown around a lot in the context of Austin's fast-paced growth – that’s the estimated number of people that move to Austin on a daily basis.

Sure, when you’re on the road it may feel like every one of those neophyte Austinites is right there on the road with you. But, while 110 people a day is impressive, so is the number of people leaving the city.

Austin Nall and his family are a part of that ever-increasing cohort leaving Austin. As he frantically assembles his moving boxes, Nall says they’re leaving for better paying jobs in San Antonio. His seven-year-old helps with the tape.

Austin real estate agent Jeff Plotkin finds that most of his clients who have left town recently have done so under circumstances similar to the Nalls': They found better job opportunities elsewhere.

Besides that, there are thousands of UT graduates that leave Austin every year.

“I just had a University of Texas student who had bought a condominium when he started the school and now he just graduated,” Plotkin says. The graduate ended up selling the place and made a nice profit, he says.

Plotkin's data on who leaves may just be anecdotal, but Texas' state demographer Lloyd Potter bases his data on census numbers.

He says census takers often ask a simple question: Where did you live last year? From that comes this estimate.

“We estimate that in 2014 there were almost 73,000 in-migrants,” Potter says. “But a little more than 55,000 people moving out.”

Of course, why they leave is harder to tell. Certainly, some who leave, like Nall, do so reluctantly.

“Hopefully, we'll be back in a few years,” Nall says. “That's the plan.”

Perhaps by then, Austin's growth will have slowed down. 

Texas Standard reporter Joy Diaz has amassed a lengthy and highly recognized body of work in public media reporting. Prior to joining Texas Standard, Joy was a reporter with Austin NPR station KUT on and off since 2005. There, she covered city news and politics, education, healthcare and immigration.
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