(The Center Square) – Nearly half a million people moved to Texas over the past year, more than any other state.

In 2023, 473,453 people moved to Texas, according to 2023 population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. That’s nearly 40,000 a month, or nearly 1,300 a day.

While a record, it also continues a trend of inbound migration that began 200 years ago. After Stephen F. Austin led a land grant initiative orchestrated by his father, 300 families, known as the Old Three Hundred, had purchased land grants and resettled to Mexican colonies in what is now Texas by mid-1824. Survivors of the Panic of 1819, those fleeing various situations or wanting to purchase inexpensive land, also moved to a land then known as Spanish Texas, which fell under Mexican rule in 1821.

So many were moving to Texas in the 1820s and 1830s that the letters, “GTT,” posted or scrawled on the doors of vacant homes, cabins and even on fence posts in U.S. states, became a well-known cultural phenomenon: “Gone To Texas.”

Historians described that residents from other states “appended the initials to the name of every rascal who skipped out, and that in Texas many newcomers were suspected of having left home for some ‘discreditable reason;’" some viewed them as having “‘gone to the devil,’ or ‘gone to the dogs,’” the Texas State Historical Association reports.

These settlers, and their descendants, would later declare independence from Mexico, launch a revolution and win, ultimately form a new Republic of Texas on April 21, 1836, and support statehood on December 29, 1845. They’d help found the only state to have been its own country, and after the Civil War, the only state to have been governed by six governments, represented by the “six flags of Texas.”

The modern-day meaning of GTT, the University of Texas explains, is that Texas is seen as “a place of opportunity, of fresh promise, of a bold new start.”

This new start, with more people moving to Texas, was also the trend in 2022, including residents fleeing Blue states. A large number, more than 102,000 Californians and 30,000 New Yorkers, moved to Texas last year, according to Census data.

Modern-day GTT movers cite high personal income taxes, high property taxes, high costs of living, high crime, and other factors as their reasons for leaving their states and moving to Texas, according to multiple reports over the last few years. People are flocking to Texas because it has no personal income tax, a state government that supports law enforcement, its businesses are leading the U.S. in job creation and growth, and its economic expansion, among other factors, Gov. Greg Abbott argues.

"Texas dominates as America's jobs engine," Abbott said after the state broke multiple records again last month, as it has every month for two years. "Texas serves as a beacon of opportunity, proving that when given the freedom to aspire and the foundation to succeed, businesses flourish and people prosper."

This year, Texas again dominated in energy production, with its oil and natural gas industry breaking three major production records. "2023 was a remarkable year for Texas oil and gas producers. From breaking production records to innovations to reduce environmental impacts, our operations are a testament to the promising future of oil and gas," Texans for Natural Gas said as the industry "led a decade-long downward trend in methane intensity.”

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas reported this year: “Texas remains unique. If Texas, an energy powerhouse, were a country, it would rank third globally in crude oil and in natural gas production. Also dominant in downstream energy, Texas produces 30 percent of the nation’s gasoline and 75 percent of its petrochemicals. Texas also rules renewables.”

Texas also reported the third-highest percentage of population growth this year of 1.6% from July 1, 2022, to July 1, 2023, behind South Carolina and Florida, according to the Census data. By July 1, 2023, Texas’ population totaled more than 30.5 million, the second largest behind California.

By contrast, eight states, nearly all led by Democratic governors, reported population losses in 2023: California (-75,423), Hawaii (-4,261), Illinois (-32,826), Louisiana (-14,274), New York (-101,984), Oregon (-6,021), Pennsylvania (-10,408), and West Virginia (-3,964).

Collectively, they lost 249,161 residents this year, according to the Census data.

Blue state population losses in the last few years have resulted in gains for Texas and other southern states. Combined, six southern states added more to the national GDP than the entire northeast in 2020-2021, The Center Square reported. A “flood of transplants” from the northeast to Texas and these states “helped steer about $100 billion in new income to the Southeast in 2020 and 2021 alone, while the Northeast bled out about $60 billion,” Bloomberg News first reported.

After the 2020 Census, Texas gained two congressional seats, whereas California and New York lost one each, The Center Square reported. After the 2030 Census, California is projected to lose four additional congressional seats, Texas is expected to gain four, The Center Square reported.

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