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Big and Bright? Texas Outshines Broadway's Lights

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The stars at night are not big and bright deep in the heart of Manhattan.

Though the city lights often drown out visibility of the night sky, a growing number of New Yorkers may be transplanting to major Texas cities for better economic prospects, according to the Center for an Urban Future.

The New York City-based think tank released data that showed New Yorkers who had relocated to counties in Houston, Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth and San Antonio jumped 33.9% from 2004-2005 to 2009-2010.

"The reality is New York City has had out-migration patterns for years. It's a high cost of living in New York and a lot of middle-class and working-poor people move, particularly when they have kids or when they do well enough that they want to have a little more space," said Jonathan Bowles, executive director at Center for an Urban Future.

The center's data showed that New York City residents who relocated to Harris, Dallas, Travis, Tarrant, Bexar and Fort Bend counties rose to 3,957 in 2009-2010 from 2,955 in 2004-2005. The rise in relocation to these Texas counties contrasted with the decline in New Yorkers who moved to counties in Atlanta, Charlotte, Philadelphia and others, said Bowles.

The think tank broke down the numbers by New York borough and found that the greatest increase of transplants to Texas counties was in Staten Island (52.8%, or 55 residents up from 36) and the Bronx (50.6%, or 586 residents from 389). Manhattan and Brooklyn saw increases of 43.9% (1,419 from 986) and 38.7% (924 from 666), respectively, while Queens migration was just a 10.8% increase (973 from 878 residents).

When asked if the number seemed relatively small, Bowles admitted the majority of New Yorkers still move locally to surrounding areas like Weschester, N.Y. ,and Jersey City, N.J.

The think tank chose to focus on county-level relocation instead of state-level.

Harris county, in Houston, boasted the largest influx of New Yorkers, which Bowles said could be explained by a few characteristics: "It is growing, it's a very diverse city, there are large immigrant communities, and it's a major metropolitan area, there's a fairly diverse economy; I think Houston is a natural destination and your money goes a lot further there."

But does this uptick in New Yorker transplants to Lone Star State cities suggest a trend?

"Is 4,000 people or 3,957 a whole lot? You know, I mean, it's a fairly small number, but it's on the rise, and I think that's the only thing we're saying," said Bowles.

-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.

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