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Dash of Pepper

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GTT still means "Gone to Texas!"
The Gazette Staff
My husband once told me that in the 19th century, when people from Tennessee and other Southern states left to seek their fortunes in Texas, they left a sign on the door. It simply said "GTT" and the neighbors knew they had gone to Texas.
Apparently, the trend continues. According to census bureau estimate released recently, four Texas metropolitan areas were among the biggest gainers as Americans continue their tendency to move to the Sun Belt in 2006 and 2007.
Dallas/Fort Worth added more than 162,000 residents between July 2006 and July 2007, more than any other metro area. Three other Texas areas - Houston, Austin and San Antonio - also cracked the top 10, according to an Associated Press report.
Atlanta saw the second-largest population jump with just over 151,000 new residents. Phoenix was third with more than 132,000 and is followed by Houston, Riverside, California, Charlotte N.C., Chicago, Austin, Las Vegas and San Antonio.
Of the 50 fastest-growing metro areas, 27 were in the South and 20 were in the West. Two were in the Midwest and one, Fayetteville, Arkansas, straddles the South and Midwest. There were none were in the Northeast.
Detroit lost more than three times as many people as any other metro area - its population declined more than 27,000. Other areas that lost more than 5,000 people were Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Columbus, Ga., Youngstown, Ohio and Buffalo, N.Y.
Experts credit much of the growth in the South to relatively strong local economies and housing prices that are among the most affordable in the nation.
"People are running away from unaffordable housing and from the economic slowdown," said Karl Eschbach, a state demographer in Texas. "I would expect Texas to stay at the top of a slowing game."
According to figures compiled by Eschbach, 16 percent of Americans who moved to other states between July 2006 and July 2007 came to Texas, which led the nation for the second straight years in that category.
The AP story leaves out some other factors I think influenced the newcomers. A major one is the absence of a state income tax. The benefits of this are substantial for a growing middle-class family. Once here, they will slowly discover something else: as state governments go, ours is quite efficient, and, when we set aside funds to build a highway, we actually build a good one. Not to mention a state government that actually has the foresight to keep a Rainy Day Fund in place.
Additionally, our real estate prices have remained fairly stable. One couple from Pennsylvania moved their family to Fort Worth after seeing spacious homes in Texas for under $200,000. I wonder what she'd be able to buy in East Texas!
From Toyota in San Antonio to aerospace firms across the state, to hi-tech, medical, and even retail, the jobs section of the Dallas Morning News Classified continues to burgeon. Then there is oil - further swelling state and individual coffers and our huge agribusiness sector.
Climate may also play a part. People dwell on our hot summers and they are hot. But the two longest seasons, spring and fall offer lengthy stretches of open-window comfort. Winter is short although once in a while, an ice storm keeps us on our toes. Largely, with the exception of the Panhandle, winter is just a two or three-day opportunity for kids to build a snowman.
There are also benefits newcomers will discover that are not monetary: the Texas work ethic, plus the prevailing friendliness, good manners and honesty of the general population.
The Texas economy keeps rolling merrily along and this is completely ignored by the national media although they do manage to diss the President and get in plenty of "cowboy" insults. That's probably good for Texas. It may serve to insulate us from the maladies that infect the Northeast, and they shouldn't mess with Texas - we really, really like our cowboys.
Anyway, people just keep coming to Texas. The lady from Pennsylvania said, "It's just amazing how much home you can get down here. It's just incredible."
I guess no one told her everything is bigger in Texas!
Last Updated on Friday, 12 June 2009 14:50  

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