When you think about The Lone Star State, your mind instantly goes to Tex-Mex Food, Oil, the best barbeque, the best Chilli and even cowboys. While all of that is definitely true for Texas, there’s a lot more to the Lone Star State than what’s advertised of this powerhouse.
You would not be wrong to think that Texas is one of the best places to move now within the US. This 28th state of the country has many fun facts to its credit. Couple of them being Dr. Pepper was first invented in Texas, apart from the first frozen Margarita Machine.
Texas is the only state that has six flags of the six countries that have ruled over it. If that wasn’t enough, the state has its own power grid, which is separate from the US. Top that off with the fact that Texas is home to the fastest road in the US, and you can see how moving to Texas can be a mouthwatering prospect for many. So here’s all that you should know!
What should I know before moving to Texas?
Texas is the 28th state of the US and is the largest state in terms of area, except for Alaska. The fact that Texas is the second most populated state in the country is clearly reflected in its population of 28,995,881. There’s no denying that Texas has come a long way from its cowboy memories. Today, it is a centre for great agricultural wealth, natural gas, oil, industry and finance, stretches of high prairie and ranges devoted to cotton and cattle.
Texas is very tax friendly with the lowest taxes in the USA. One distinct thing about Texans is their fiercely independent attitude and their patriotism for Texas, sometimes far superseding the American identity. Originally, the state was ruled by Spain, then Mexico played its part, and later in 1836, it became its own nation for 10 years. Eventually, the time came for Texas to be annexed by the United States, which happened in 1845.
Considering how massive the state is, having a car here is a must. Texas is bordered by the US states of New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana and the Mexican states of Tamaulipas, Neuvo Leon, Coahuila and Chihuahua, so you definitely got road trip options aplenty.
Crime Rate In Texas
In 2018 alone, Texas was considered one of the only two states along with California with more than 100,000 violent crimes. Texas’s crime rate stands at 410.9 per 100,000 people, which is slightly higher than the national rate of 380.6 per 100,000. Texas gives very harsh punishments for criminal offences. It is one of the few states that practices capital punishment. Texas also has strong self-defense laws, allowing its citizens to use lethal force to defend themselves, their families or property. Keeping such factors in mind, the crime rate in Texas could certainly seem as not half as bad.
You just need to know the massiveness of the state to understand that Texas experiences highly variable weather because of the intersection of the multiple climate zones. The Gulf Coast has milder winters as compared to the Panhandle of the state, which has colder winters. The mountainous areas of West Texas and Panhandle, North Texas and Central and East Texas do see snow falls multiple times each winter.
The summer months here witness an average maximum temperature from 26 degrees C in the mountains of Texas, and up to 38 degrees C in the Rio Grande valley. But the larger parts of Texas see an average summer temperature of about 32 degrees C.
Texas also has a varied pattern of precipitation, with El Paso averaging about 8.7 inches annual rainfall. Parts of southeast Texas average about 64 inches precipitation, while places like Dallas experience about 37 inches rainfall.
The northern and eastern parts of Texas frequently witness thunderstorm strikes. Texas generally sees tornadoes in the months of April, May and June. Tornado Alley, in the northern parts of Texas experiences the most tornadoes in a year. About 139 tornadoes a year to be precise. The driest region in Texas is the Trans – Pecos and the wettest is the south east.
Winters in Texas can be frigid, to say the least. Especially in the extreme northern region. The temperatures can drop as low as 1 degree Celsius too.
Is It Expensive to Live in Texas?
To begin with, Sales Tax in Texas is between 6.25% and 8.25%. Medicines and over the counter prescriptions medicines are exempt from sales tax. Also exempt are food and food seeds. Although your restaurant food could very well be slapped with sales tax.
Cost Of Living in Texas
Considering how everything is bigger in Texas, it is surprisingly affordable. The average cost of living is 8% lower than the national average, although discrepancies may happen in between cities. Groceries in Texas range from 24% lower than the national average. The average salary for a Texan is around $53k.
Healthcare in Texas ranges from 21% lower than the national average in Plano, to 26% higher in San Marcos. Whereas Midlands, a city in Texas, sits in the middle range with health care costs with 4% lower than the national average.
In Texas, miscellaneous costs such as common restaurant foods, clothing, entertainment, activities and personal care costs range from 24% lower than the national average in Harlingen, to 13% higher in Midland. Odessa is a city in the west of Texas and is a reflection for most of the miscellaneous costs, which is 6% lower than the national average.
Buying A House
Texas has been growing exponentially in the job opportunities front, almost at the rate of 4% in 2015. So naturally, moving to Texas became the second most attractive place for people to move to. Just the same, affordable real estate prices became the second most important reason for people to move to Texas.
In June 2020, median home prices in Texas were $310,000 – about 9% lower than the national media of nearly $342,000.
Renting A House
And the median monthly rental for a two bedroom apartment in Texas was nearly 11% lower than the national median of $1,200. However, the costs are all varied, depending on which city you prefer to live in. All these costs are approximations and completely depend on the size and the neighbourhood in which you decide to rent a house.
Texas is the leading producer of the nation’s four different types of energy; crude oil, natural gas, lignite coal and wind energy. Utility costs like energy and phone use in Texas range from 14% lower than the national average in the western city of El Paso to 41% higher in Corpus Christi on the Gulf of Mexico.
The average electricity bill in Texas is $140.88. Similarly, the average monthly water bill here can be about $25 to $30. Thanks to the electricity deregulation approved by Texas Senate Bill, 85% of Texas power consumers get to choose their service providers.
Texas Economy and Employment Opportunities
Texas has a large and diverse economy, thanks to an abundance of natural resources, thriving cities, large population and leading centers of higher education. The state’s economic growth has led to an urban sprawl. There is a wide array of high tech industries that have developed in Texas. Austin is nicknamed as Silicon Hills and Dallas is called the Silicon Prairie.
Companies like Dell, Texas Instruments, AT&T etc. are all located in Texas. In fact, large multinationals and high tech companies have moved their headquarters too. Texas also attracts a large commercial sector consisting of retail, wholesale, banking and construction industries. Despite the growth of many manufacturing industries, Texas continues to rely heavily on oil and natural gas.
Texas is also famous for its other national, international and corporate headquarters, such as the Johnson Space Centre, an installation of NASA in Houston, and many federal air installations including large military bases. The growth of health industries have also diversified the opportunities in Texas. Here in the Lone Star State, the median household income is recorded to be around $59,206 annually.
One of the things about Texas that’s not as attractive is the fact that the state ranks 43rd in educational attainment. Unfortunately for families planning to relocate to Texas with their children, even the quality of education here is not considered to be the most desirable. But that would depend on the city you choose to move to. For instance, Austin is known to be Texas’ most educated city.
Rice University Houston, University of Texas at Austin, Southern Methodist University Dallas and Texas A&M University are considered some of the best colleges of the Lone Star State. Interestingly, the University of Texas at Austin is believed to be the 21st best university in the country, with Texas A&M University ranking at 41. So all is definitely not too glum in Texas when it comes to education.
Getting Around In Texas
Texas has a well developed federal and state highway system, which is concentrated in the more heavily populated east. However, it is supplemented by an extensive network of roads throughout the state. Dallas – Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio are focal points for civilian air transportation. The Dallas-Fort Worth airport is one of the busiest in the country. Houston is serviced by two major airports.
The easiest, fastest, cheapest way to get around in Texas is by air. Another practical way to get around in Texas is by car. Roads are well maintained, and well-marked and a car is often the most convenient and economical way to get somewhere. Once you leave the interstates, there is a wide web of roads that will take you just about anywhere. Traffic can be frustrating in cities such as Houston, Dallas and Austin and distances are great.
Now, you can quite well imagine that a place the size of Texas and given its rough terrain, transportation and moving around would pose a dilemma. But that has been taken care of as Texas today can boast of having the largest highway and railway systems in America.
Since the first freeway that opened in Texas called the Gulf Freeway in Houston in 1948, 79,535 miles of public highway crisis crossed all over Texas by 2005. If you were looking at revving your wheels, then the southern section of State Highway 130 in Central Texas has a speed limit of 85 miles per hour, which is the highest in the nation. Texas today has 17 toll roads and many more in the pipeline that will not only help maintain the highways, but also pave additional growth in the state highways.
See also: Texas DMV Change of Address
Texas has many credits to its name, all by virtue of its sheer size and number of passengers served. Texas has the second most airports of any state in the nation and that is 730 airports! DFW or Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport is used as the largest and the main hub by American Eagle. Dallas South Field is also the headquarters of Southwest Airlines. George Bush Intercontinental Airport at Houston is the second largest air facility in Texas.
Today it serves as the largest hub for United Airlines, which is the world’s third largest airline. Texan airports serve almost three million passengers annually, cumulatively through its five other airports that include Austin Bergstrom International Airport, William. P Hobby Airport, San Antonio International Airport, Dallas Love Field and El Paso International Airport.
Now wouldn’t you be surprised if we told you that Texas also led in terms of the Railways? Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART), Denton County Transportation Authority and Trinity Metro are the three public transit agencies that provide rail service in the Dallas – Fort Worth area. Texas also has a limited intercity passenger that is provided by Amtrak. Soon, one of the nation’s first high speed rail lines may make its foray into Texas, plans for which are underway.
Best Cities To Live In Texas
1. Austin, TX
Austin has a tech culture and it’s one of the best cities of Texas for the younger people. The city has a higher cost of living than the national average. Home prices are higher than the national average, and yet compared to the other major cities in the US it is still less.
Median Home Value: $353,246 and rent would be around $1,107. Energy Bills could stretch you up to $147.05 per month, phone bills for up to $156.74 and gas bills up to $2.44 per gallon. Food and grocery prices are 2% lower than the national average and healthcare in Austin is 1% lower than the national average. Overall, the cost of living is about 3% lower than the national average.
See also: Moving to Austin
2. Dallas, TX
Dallas is a very job friendly place and has a glitzy downtown. Moreover the city is well equipped with all kinds of amenities. Dallas has a cost of living that is lower than the national average and hence is very liked and preferred by the newcomers. The home prices are also affordable and hence making it very friendly and affordable for families.
Cost of living is almost 2% higher than the national average which is reflected in its housing, utilities and transportation. Housing expenses are 5% higher than the national average with a median house price of up to $364,003 and a monthly rent of around $1,140. Even utility prices are 4% higher than the national average. You could be paying anywhere up to $174.87 for Energy Bills, $186.40 on phone bills and $2.50 on gas bills.
See also: Moving to Dallas
3. Houston, TX
Houston is known for its job market, barbeques and cultural opportunities. Houston too, just like Dallas is very affordable for its homes and is preferred by the newcomers for its convenience and growth opportunities.
Houston’s cost of living is 2% lower than that of the national average but its housing is 5% higher than the rest of the country with median house prices of up to $363,656 to buy and $1,139 to rent per month. Utility prices are 11% higher than the national average with your energy bill of up to $185.43, phone bill of $197.66 and gas bill per gallon is approximately $2.54.
See also: Moving to Houston
4. San Antonio, TX
San Antonio is one of the most popular destinations in Texas and it is preferred more so because the average cost of living here is about 14% lower than the rest of the country. Known for its affordability, unique architecture, historic attractions and fantastic food, San Antonio is also affordable in terms of housing and real estate.
San Antonio’s housing expenses are a whopping 24% lower than the rest of the country with median home prices at $262,332 and average monthly rent here being $821.77. Utility bills are also an attractive 12% lower than the national average, with energy bills at $147.04 and phone bills at $156.74 per month.
See also: Moving to San Antonio
Is Texas A Good Place To Live?
Since the last three decades of the 19th century, Texas has seen exponential growth in development and economic affluence. Cattle industry, railroad and shipping, finding natural oil and gas and influx of immigrants, all of this has cumulatively ushered in an era of new economic surge. Electronics, aerospace, chemicals, IT and finance have all been the 21st century industries for job opportunities and civic developments. It bodes well for anyone wanting to settle down in Texas that it has an exceptionally low cost of living.
Texas has a diversified economy which creates an amazing opportunity for newcomers. It has some of the best asset protection laws in the country and an overall lower tax burden. Texas does not collect any income tax either and that’s a saving grace on the pocket, Amazing weather notwithstanding, Texas definitely is a great place to live.