Home to almost 30 million residents, vibrant local economies and internationally renowned for innovations in art, culture and business, there are plenty of reasons why every year thousands of American citizens decide to relocate to the lone star state in search of a better life for their families.
Whether you’re interested in the plentiful job opportunities and bustling communities found in a big city like Houston or Dallas, or longing for a simpler and more affordable life amongst the rural charm of Murphy or McKinney, with a budget in mind, Texas can be a great home to just about anyone.
If you’re thinking of moving to Texas for the first time or are an existing resident looking for a more affordable place to call home, this guide will take a deep dive into life in America’s 2nd largest state to uncover the facts about the Texan job market, cost of living, quality of life and the best cities to live in.
Are you considering moving to Texas? Here’s what to know.
- The cost of living in Texas is 1.5% lower than the national average
- Texas has created more jobs than any other state in recent years
- The state is filled with iconic landmarks, beauty spots and world heritage sites
- The climate is moderate featuring warm summers and mostly mild winters
- Texas has a rich culture filled with music, food and sports events year-round
A lot of cities with a lot of character
With over 1,200 incorporated cities currently recognized by the state of Texas, newcomers may find it a little overwhelming when trying to zero in on an ideal community. Typically, life in metro areas like San Antonio and Fort Worth will be appealing to working residents due to exceptional rates of job growth and well-funded infrastructure, but what’s it actually like to live there?
Featuring a population of over 1.4 million, San Antonio ranks as the 2nd largest city in Texas, boasting a thriving local economy and a growing housing market. Though life in San Antonio cannot be fairly represented by economic data alone, especially in a city filled with so much diversity and character.
For lovers of history, San Antonio is home to the legendary Spanish mission and fortress compound known as The Alamo, with the Hispanic influence originating from this site continuing to have an impact on the area. Designated as a Creative City of Gastronomy by UNESCO, San Antonio is filled with vibrant local restaurants and eateries specializing in award-winning Tex Mex and Spanish foods.
Arts and culture are also permanently woven into the fabric of the city, with a wide variety of classic and modern art museums, theaters and galleries to visit, but it’s San Antonio’s growing contemporary art scene that may interest budding creatives with several council-backed grants and funds available.
Texas’ 3rd largest city, the Dallas metropolitan area has one of the fastest growing populations in the US, with the city itself home to just under 1.3 million residents. Tourism has long been a major contributor to the area’s growing economy, welcoming an estimated 22.5 million visitors annually.
In 2021 alone, tourism generated an economic impact of $7.2 billion to the benefit of Dallas’ already impressive rate of job growth, with increasing numbers of leisure and hospitality roles waiting to be filled as local businesses continue to expand, meaning finding work shouldn’t be too hard of a task.
In terms of culture, Dallas is well known for its successful sports franchises such as the Dallas Cowboys and FC Dallas, but the city also offers excellent amateur and youth sports programs to ensure that residents of all ages are well catered for. Dallas also has an active music scene, with regular events and festivals held across the city’s stadiums, bars and parks throughout the year.
Houston is the most populated city in the state of Texas, currently home to almost 2.3 million citizens. The city of Houston is a major contributor to Texas’ wider economy, with several booming local industries including healthcare, biomedical research, energy and around 500 aerospace companies.
The Houston area has connections to 10 of the largest aerospace manufacturing companies in the US, including NASA, Lockheed Martin and Boeing, whilst also containing the single largest medical complex in the world (Texas Medical Centre) that employs a staggering 376,000 healthcare workers.
Aside from a healthy job market and growing local economy, Houston has great links to the National Park Service. Beautiful natural landscapes such as Big Thicket National Preserve and Padre Island National Seashore are only a few hours away, with over 200 green spaces in the Houston area itself.
Fort Worth is a little quieter than the 3 previously mentioned Texas cities, with a population of around 900,000, though census data indicates that the city has grown by around 25% in the last decade. The cost of living in Fort Worth is estimated to be 4% lower than the national average, with housing in the area around 16% cheaper than the US average, but utilities cost a bit more than in other Texas cities.
Major industries in the Dallas-Fort Worth area include finance, manufacturing, oil and gas as well as aviation and aerospace, with the largest employers in the region being American Airlines, AT&T and Bank of America. Alongside Dallas, employment rates in Fort Worth have been steadily rising since 2020.
Fort Worth also has a thriving cultural district filled with a wide variety of art galleries and museums, as well as a dedicated equestrian facility that regularly hosts shows and events including the Annual Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo with zoos and botanical gardens dotted around the same district.
Good weather . . . Most of the time
Texas has a bit of a reputation for being a particularly hot, dry and sunny place to live, but in reality, the climate can be a little more complicated. Summers across the state typically bring warm weather and temperatures of around 85-90 degrees, with winters rarely dipping below freezing, though it’s the frequency of weather-related events like wildfires, tornados and storms that can cause some worry.
There are two fire seasons in Texas, one in late summer and one in the fall, though the state does have a dedicated government service designed to prevent and suppress these events. Tornadoes are also common in north Texas between April and May, so if you’re considering a move to somewhere like Tarrant, Denton or Dallas, it’s advised to put some work into protecting your home.
Winter storms are seemingly becoming slightly more common between January and February, though some experts believe that the likelihood of severe cold snaps remains at only a 2% chance during any given year. Still, it’s worth learning how to prepare your house in advance to avoid potential issues.
For the most part, however, residential areas in Texas are well-prepared for local climates. Provided you have an AC unit and some fans running during the drier and muggier summer months, it’s likely that most new residents will be pleasantly surprised by lower frequencies of rainfall or overcast weather. In fact, most areas of Texas enjoy between 200-250 sunny/partially sunny days in an average year.
Lower cost of living
Everything is bigger in Texas, right? Though this adage can apply to the character and culture of most Texan cities, perhaps surprisingly, the cost of living across the state is generally much lower than much of the US. For example, the cost of a new home. As of 2021, housing prices in Texas were 8% lower than the national median, and though home values across the country are steadily rising, data shows that the median home price in Texas remains around $25,000 cheaper than the US median.
This pattern extends to a variety of other common expenses including rent, car insurance and healthcare, just take a look at the data below:
|Expense||Texas ($ per month)||National Average ($ per month)|
Booming job market
In recent years, there have been many local and national news stories about residents of nearby states like California relocating to Texas in large numbers. These claims are supported by data showing between March 2020 and January 2022, over 90,000 former Californians were seen to forfeit their driver’s license in Texas, with California’s population dropping by 500,000 over a similar period.
When looking at metrics like unemployment, it’s clear to see why a move to the lone star state could be economically wise for many citizens. For example, the unemployment rate in Texas currently sits at 3.9%, whilst in California that figure is at 4.2% and rising. Texas has also created more jobs than any other state in the last year alone, adding over 650,000 new positions to the workforce in 2022.
Much of this employment growth can be attributed to the many booming industries rooted in Texas. The energy industry in the state produces more than any other area in the US (12% of the nation’s total production), Texas has the most hospitals of any state whilst also hiring the second largest number of healthcare workers and Texas leads the nation in aerospace and aviation employment with internationally renowned companies like SpaceX and NASA both having facilities in the state.
In fact, there are numerous local industries and businesses in and around Texas’ major cities like Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio and Houston currently experiencing impressive job growth:
- Leisure and hospitality – 6.6% annual growth
- Mining & logging – 13.2% annual growth
- Private education & health – 4.8% annual growth
- Manufacturing – 6.5% annual growth
- Goods-Producing – 6.4% annual growth
Additionally, Texans are not required to pay state income tax on their earnings as outlined in the Texas Constitution, though as a result, sales tax and property tax rates can be higher than the US average.
A housing market to desire
Another increasingly attractive aspect of Texan life is the state’s desirable housing market. Though house prices across the US are rising, with some areas of Texas like El Paso being amongst those experiencing the greatest increase, average house prices in Texas can still be as much as 15% cheaper than the rest of the country. The cost of living across the state is also 8% lower than the national average.
Real estate in Texas is also considerably less expensive than in comparably popular locations like New York and San Francisco, which is perhaps why so many residents of these cities seem to be relocating to Texas (and other southern states like Florida) in record numbers. Also, due to the larger availability of land in Texas, homeowners can expect a much more attractive price per square ft ratio.
|Texas||New York||San Francisco||US Average|
|Price per square ft||$150||$2,080||$1,200||$169|
|Average house price||$289,255||$622,026||$1,238,021||$327,514|
The average price of rent across much of Texas is also a little lower than most of the US, with the cost per month to rent a home in several major cities such as Houston, San Antonio, Dallas and Fort Worth all being notably lower than the national average, which currently sits at just over $1,700.
To cater for residents looking to rent in Texan cities, developers have constructed over 52,000 new apartments in recent years, though as crime rates can be a little higher in cities like Houston, San Antonio and Dallas, it’s worth looking for a place with a good apartment building security system.
Robust culture and lifestyle
If job opportunities, affordable housing and (mostly) glorious weather aren’t enough to sway you into calling a moving company, perhaps a look into the culture and lifestyle of Texas will. The state is, of course, home to several iconic landmarks and attractions like The Alamo, Space Center Houston and beauty spots like Caddo Lake and Gorman Falls, but there’s much more to modern Texan culture.
For food-lovers, the state is well known for being home to a wide variety of BBQ, Tex Mex and Creole-inspired restaurants, with most major cities hosting regular food festivals including the annual Houston BBQ Festival, the Taste of Dallas weekend as well as many smaller events across the state.
Texas also enjoys a rich music and arts culture, stemming mostly from the area’s roots in country music, blues and jazz. Today the state plays host to numerous internationally recognised art and music festivals such as Austin City Limits, South by Southwest, Kerrville Folk Festival and Float Fest.
Sports also play an important role in Texan culture, with major football, basketball and baseball teams located in most big cities. Notable examples include the Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs basketball teams, as well as the Texas Rangers baseball team and Dallas Cowboys football franchise.
The people of Texas are also famous for their southern hospitality and strong sense of community, with these values extending into aspects like the school system. Over 87% of school districts in Texas possess an A or B grade accountability rating intended to measure the overall performance of schools in the state, with authorities continually spending to improve security using technologies such as cloud-based school cameras in facilities.
Texas may have a reputation as a larger-than-life state, though whilst this can apply to the culture, community and economy of the area, thankfully, it can be a very affordable place to live. With house prices, utilities and other essentials often less expensive than the national average, and a healthy job market across the state’s major cities, relocating to Texas could be a smart move for many citizens.
Aside from financial benefits, Texas (for the most part) enjoys a desirable climate filled with beautiful landscapes and vibrant communities, as well as incredibly active music, art and sports scenes. For families, professionals and just about anyone looking to start anew, Texas may be your ideal new home.