California vs Texas Empirical Research

About five years ago I posted some research about the relative demand for moving from Oakland, CA to Austin, TX and vice versa. The data is based on a suggestion by David Burge (@iowahawkblog). Here is my California vs Texas empirical research.

The idea is simple. Measure demand by the prices of renting a standard U-Haul truck to move from one city to the other. For this exercise, I used a 15 foot truck. U-Haul claims this will handle stuff from a one-bedroom house to a two-bedroom apartment. I did not elect the option to tow a car. The description continues:

  • Inside dimensions: 15′ x 7’8″ x 7’2″ (LxWxH)
  • Door opening: 7’3″ x 6’5″ (WxH)
  • Deck height: 2’9″ Length: 12’5″
  • EZ-Load Ramp

This is a standardized product. The price should reflect demand and scarcity.

Here are the results. Renting this truck to move from Austin to Oakland has a price of $686.

Austin to Oakland

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Renting an identical truck for the Oakland to Austin trip carries the hefty price of $2,143.

Oakland to Austin

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I conclude that demand for leaving California for Texas is about 3.1 times as great as demand for moving in the other direction. In this case your mileage will most likely not vary.


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