The fastest growing economy in the nation, Texas has a lot to offer its dwellers. Not only do the Texans boast of their diverse topographical regions, but they are also proud of their highly affordable living and not to forget, their heavenly food. In addition to three of the country’s biggest urban areas, Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio, Texas offers an astounding scope of choices to accommodate your ideal way of life.
While there may be a lot of similarities between California, the biggest state in the nation, and Texas, who follows right behind, moving from the Golden State to the Lone Star State is a tricky choice. But fret not, because here are a few pointers to help you get a better understanding of both these places and what you could be expecting while making the move from California to Texas.
Things to Know Before Moving from California to Texas
Like their enormous size, the two states share a similar climate as well. While California’s climate changes from city to city, the vast majority of the state has a Mediterranean-like environment. The summers are dry and warm, while the winters are mellow, with little snowfall besides in sloping areas of the state.
Similarly, though different parts of Texas experience a varied climate, the biggest part of the state has a more subtropical climate. From the dry fields of West Texas to the sea Gulf Coast, you’ll find distinct environment variations across Texas. Summers in the Lone Star State is really hot with the average temperature between 80 – 110 (F). Winter lows are for the most part around the mid 30s and 40s. Snowfalls are evident mostly in the northern fields of Texas, where places like El Paso and Amarillo get around 6 inches of snow a year.
Along with seeing its fair share of hurricanes, Texas also averages more tornadoes every year than any other state in the US. California, on the other hand, experiences seismic tremors, flooding and out of control fires.
The one thing that both the Golden state and the Lone Star State have in common is the growing population trends in both the states. While California is the most populated state of the US, Texas is right behind it at the second position. The Golden state has a whopping total population of 39,512,223, with no single ethnic group forming the majority. Around 37.5% inhabitants of California are whites, 5.5% are black or African American and 14.1% are Asians. With around 38.9% of Hispanic and Latino population, California is one of the four majority – minority states in the US.
Out of a total population of 28,995,881, Texas has around 42.3% white people, 39.2% are Hispanic or Latino of any race, 11.7% are black or African American, 4.6% are Asian and 2% are multiracial. With no particular ethnic group dominating the state, Texas also is recognized as a majority – minority state, just like California. New Mexico and Hawaii are the only other states in the nation to fall under the same category. 17% of the inhabitants of Texas are foreign born while you will find around 26.9% of the people in California to be foreign born, as per neighborhoodscout.
Language And Culture
Well don’t be surprised if you are suddenly greeted with a ‘Howdy’ instead of a normal ‘Hello’ in the Lone Star State. You may have probably heard the expression from Woody, the cowboy from Toy Story, but in Texas, it is just an informal way of asking how you are doing. Although English remains the predominant primary language in both states, Spanish is the second most spoken language in the two states, with approximately 29.5% of the population preferring to speak Spanish at home in Texas and around 43% in California, a proportion far higher than any other state in the United States.
While the Golden State is often seen as a melting pot of cultures as it integrates food, customs and traditions from places all around, the people in Texas are more in touch with their roots. Friendly people with a traditional base, Texans take full pride in their culture and some of their slogans like ‘The Friendship State’ and ‘The Great State of Texas’ very evidently showcase that.
Economy And Employment Opportunities
California’s economy is mainly based on a variety of businesses like the travel industry, films and entertainment, horticulture and technology. With Silicon Valley situated in the southern segment of the Bay Area, the state is home to some of the greatest tech organizations including Google, Apple, Facebook and Tesla. But even with a growing economy, the unemployment rate in California stands at a high of around 9%, with the average monthly net salary being around $4,500, as per numbeo.com.
On the contrary, one of the main reasons for the rise in the number of people shifting from California to Texas is the flourishing job market offered by the Lone Star State. The economy of Texas is the second largest in the US and its exports grossed more than the combined exports of both New York and California. Petroleum and natural gas, agriculture, education, and hospitality and tourism are some of the major industries in Texas. Apart from being home to over 55 Fortune 500 companies, the state also hosts several headquarters of giant organizations like American Airlines, Keller Williams, Dell, Tenet Healthcare, Livestock Investors Ltd, and many more. So it comes as no surprise that the capital city of Texas, Austin, is ranked among the top ten fastest developing economies in the country. As of December 2020, the unemployment rate of Texas is around 7.2%, which is significantly lower than California.
Purchasing A House
One of the biggest attractions for you to move from California to Texas, is the highly affordable housing that this State offers. By and large, housing prices in Texas are almost 60% lower than that in the Golden State. According to neighborhoodscout.com, the average median home value in California is around $557,388, which is almost triple the average home value in Texas, at around $178,424. This of course varies from city to city, keeping in mind how vastly spread both the states are. But in almost every case, you’ll be saving immensely on housing costs, when you move from California to Texas.
Renting A House
For most people, finding a house in their budget is genuinely a tough task. But Texas is one of the highly affordable states in the US, especially when it comes to housing. While the average lease for a house in California is around $2,220/month according to neighborhoodscout, the same in Texas is around $1,301, keeping in mind that this rate differs from area to area in the entire state.
If you are moving from say San Francisco to Houston, you would probably be saving over 70% on your renting expense, as per nerdwallet. The same amount that would get you a 1-Bedroom house in California, can very well get you a 3-Bedroom in Texas, without much of a stretch. The Lone Star State can easily help you find some place to call your home.
The average monthly electricity bill for Texas is around $122.47, as compared to California’s $101.49. While the average monthly water and internet bills for the two states is similar at $70 and $60 respectively, a slight difference can be seen in the natural gas rates. In California, where the average monthly gas bill is around $62.51, the same in Texas is around $73.96.
Probably one of the biggest perks for people to move from California to Texas is the huge difference in their tax rates. You are definitely in for a pleasant surprise when moving from California to Texas, as it is one of the seven states that waive off tax on personal income, while the same in California is at a high of around 9.3%. Sales tax in the Golden state ranges from around 7.25% to 10.25%, while the same in Texas is between 6.25% to 8.25%. With regards to property tax, even though California’s tax rate lies below the national average, the overall benefit still lies with Texas as the property prices here are some of the lowest in the United States.
Education in California has diverse options, in the sense, that it is home to many music, art and film schools as well as some religious and special-purpose institutions. This gives the inhabitants many unique educational and entertainment opportunities to choose from. The educational system in the Golden State consists of public, NPS, and private schools. There are some well-established universities as well, including the public University of California, California State University, CalArts institute and California Community Colleges systems.
Texas ranks fifteen on the list of quality of education in the 50 states of the US. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) is responsible for overseeing the public school systems as well as the charter schools. The TEA’s actual jurisdiction becomes limited because of the independent nature of the school districts. Along with being the largest employment sector in the state, higher education facilities are excellent in Texas. The state has more than 200 colleges and universities, with some of them being Baylor University, The University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University, Southern Methodist University and Texas Tech University.
One more aspect in which the two states are similar is their high crime rates. A division between violent crimes and property crimes shows the breakdown of California’s crime rate to be 4.41% and 23.31% respectively. This takes the total crime rate per 1000 residents to around 27.72 % in the Golden State, as per neighborhoodscout. Following closely are the Lone Star State’s crime rates. With 4.19% accounting to violent crimes and around 23.91% accounting for property crimes, the total crime rate per 1000 residents in Texas stands at around 28.10%.
The agency responsible for the maintenance of Texas’s immense highway system, aviation and public transportation systems of the state is the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). A governmental agency, its purpose is to “provide safe, effective, and efficient movement of people and goods” throughout the state.
- By Road: Roadways is the most popular mode of transport in both the states of California and Texas. The Golden State has a well organised system of expressways and highways. Some of the main north – south arteries are the US Route 101 or US 101, which travels from Downtown LA, across the famous Golden Gate Bridge, to the Oregon state line. Another one is Interstate-5 which travels inland from the Mexico – US border to the Oregon state line, thereby bisecting the whole of California. Local transit services are also easily accessible in most cities of the state.
One unique characteristic of Texas’s freeways are its access roads, popularly referred to as frontage roads. The state is the only one in the nation to widely construct such roads along its highways, even in the most remote areas. Frontage roads provide easy access to the freeway from businesses alongside, including gas stations and retail outlets, and vice versa.
- Railways: With car culture prominent in the state, most people in California are seen using their own transport over a public vehicle. But a number of local and regional passenger rail systems can still be found in the Golden State. These are accessible in different cities including San Francisco, San Diego and Sacramento.
In Texas, Dallas Area Rapid Transit or DART was the only one to maintain light rail systems in the state until METRO Rail opened up in Houston in 2004. Along with DART, Trinity Metro, together operate the Trinity Railway Express (TRE) commuter rail line, which connects downtown Dallas to downtown Fort Worth. Texas Eagle is another rail service that is available in the state, which connects Chicago, Illinois and San Antonio.
- Airways: In California, Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and San Francisco International Airport (SFO) are major hubs managing both international and transcontinental traffic. Apart from that, San Jose International Airport and Sacramento International airport are some of the prominent ones in the state.
The Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), located nearly equidistant from downtown Dallas and downtown Fort Worth, is the largest airport in the Lone Star State and the second largest in America. American Airlines is headquartered at this airport. Some of the other prominent airports of Texas are Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, San Antonio International Airport and El Paso International Airport.
- Ferries: The Bay Area in California has a number of ferry services for commuters to travel from San Francisco Bay to other regions in the Bay Area. You can also access the ferry service for commuting from San Diego to Coronado. Apart from that, the port complex of Los Angeles and Long Beach along with the Port of Oakland are some of the major sea hubs in the Golden State.
The Port of Houston in Texas, replaced Galveston and today is the busiest port in the United States in foreign tonnage. Galveston’s Port Bolivar ferry and Rio San Antonio cruises are a few luxury cruises that one could get an experience of.
While the coastal state of California has a few ferries to use for daily commuting, you will not find many such services in the Lone Star State, since hitting the road is the preferred choice of most Texans.
See also: Moving to Texas – Relocation Guide
Popular Cities To Live In Texas
One of the main contributors of the thriving economy of Texas is its capital city, Austin. Considered to be one of the best places to live in America, Austin is a dream destination for many. Found right at the core of Texas, the Live Music Capital of the World, is a reforming and liberal city. Similar to Los Angeles in California, you are only a short drive away from a host of sea shores, countryside, climbing trails, and big cities, when living in Austin. While the average utility bills per month in LA would be somewhere around $150.57, the same in Austin would come up to around $141.15, according to numbeo.com. All in all, with ample job opportunities and reasonable cost of living, Austin is an ideal area to raise a family.
- Median home value: $365,196
- Average market rent: $1,636/month
- Average monthly net salary: $4,436.26 (After Taxes)
See also: Moving to Austin TX
A perfect blend of repose and suburban lifestyle, Dallas will give you a feel of everything that California was missing. Along with being a modern metropolis, the city is also a commercial and cultural hub of Texas. With affordable housing and huge city conveniences like cafes, bars and pro athletic groups, Dallas can give a tough competition to a city like San Francisco in California. Your average monthly utility bill while residing in Dallas would be somewhere around $154 as compared to San Francisco’s $167. Dallas has a metropolitan vibe as well as a lot of amusement, yet the Friday night football match-ups are a not to miss for their Texan pride.
- Median home value: $192,832
- Average market rent: $1,339/month
- Average monthly net salary: $5,020.55 (After Taxes)
An oil and gas hub, the city of Houston is home to many healthcare and manufacturing industries in the state. Even after being the most populated city in the state, Houston still has a cozy feel, similar to that of San Diego’s in California. A comparison between the two cities shows that the rent prices in Houston are around 38% lower than that in San Diego, as per numbeo.com. To add to it, the city is packed with incredible eateries and is also home to some great attractions like the Space center, Houston Zoo, Downtown Aquarium and Houston Museum of Natural Science. You would be spending approximately $155/month on your electricity and water bills collectively while residing here in Houston.
- Median home value: $166,307
- Average market rent: $1,195/month
- Average monthly net salary: $4,373.12 (After Taxes)
Is It Worth Moving To Texas From California?
Fast growing economy, fried food and BBQ, warm hospitality and reasonable cost of living are some of the benefits of the Lone Star State over California. On the other hand, if unpredictable weather and higher transportation costs are things that bother you, then moving to Texas from California may not be an easy choice to make.
However, if economic benefits are the reasons for your move, then moving to Texas from California could be worthwhile for you. From groceries, childcare, insurance to housing, the overall cost of living in Texas is almost 31% lower than California. Finding a job in the flourishing economy of Texas may also be comparatively easier.
See also: List of Cheap States to Move to
How Much Does It Cost To Move From California To Texas?
Keeping in mind the various factors like size, route and timing of the move, that determine the total cost of moving, the approximate cost of moving from California to Texas would be somewhere between $2,150 – $4,200.
Hiring a professional moving company to save on time and to take off some of your stress is a good choice but would be more expensive. The average cost of moving from California to Texas with the help of a moving company would be somewhere around $1,600 – $6,300. Renting a truck on the other hand would definitely save a hole in your pocket but will also require you to put in much more efforts. The average cost for renting a truck would be around $1,050 – $2,000, exclusive of the food and parking costs, if any.
Related: Try our Moving Cost Calculator Tool!
Is It Better To Live In Texas Or California?
Not only do both the states of California and Texas have similar landmass and population trends, but they also have their own perks to offer. While California’s beauty and pleasant climate is not easily found elsewhere in the nation, the fast booming economy of Texas is something to look out for.
If raising a family or settling down comfortably after retirement are some of your goals, then living in Texas could be an ideal choice, especially when the state has no personal income tax. Overall entertainment costs are also around 5% cheaper in Texas when compared to California, though there’s a lot to be said about the entertainment options in California as well.
Choosing either of the two states to live in, is certainly a tough choice to make. But depending on what suits your needs and desires the most, an informed decision can be taken.
Is Moving To Texas A Good Idea?
You may have heard the saying ‘Everything is bigger in Texas’. That is true to quite an extent. Texas, as a state, has a lot of things to bring to the table, with its size being the standout.
From sports and food, to traveling, you will find an array of options open for you in Texas. The Dallas Cowboys and the mouth-watering BBQ will even make you feel at home. But at the same time, the poor healthcare infrastructure and the high crime rates of the state are something to pay heed to.
Let’s face it, the decision to move to Texas may not be any easy one to make by only looking at the pros and cons. But probably knowing, what you are looking for and what ultimately suits you the best, can help you make an informed choice.