Article Overview: Pros & Cons of Living in Texas | Moving to Texas
Are you thinking about moving to Texas? I think I can help. I’ve been living in Texas for the past 10 years and wanted to share some insight.
I’ve watched the state’s popularity grow like mad, somehow captivating folks on both sides of the aisle equally. Yet even with the inevitable growing pains, the state’s unshakable culture remains vibrant and rich (oozing that famous southern charm).
Plainly put, Texas wins people over. I mean, there’s a reason 29 million people call the The Lone Star State home. In fact, Texas is the second-most populous state in the United States (after California).
Strangely, I’ve even had a handful of old friends reach out asking me what all the fuss is about (“should I be moving to Texas?”). The popularity keeps surging but the locals can hardly act surprised (we know it’s a great place to live).
But you know the drill: There’s always a disgruntled lifelong local eager to complain about the rise in housing prices and random appearance of avocado toast on menus around town. Yet for every die-hard “born and bred” Texan, there’s an equal amount of transplants smitten by their new home state, wondering why they didn’t move to Texas earlier.
Life is about choices and people aren’t born with roots. We’re allowed to discover, learn and move around. So if you’re considering living in Texas, I say welcome. There’s no way this gem of a state would have stayed secret for long and all are welcome here.
So without further ado, allow me to share my personal list of the pros and cons of living in Texas.
Editor’s Note: As long time readers of this website will know, the fun lives in the comments. Don’t forget to take a look below to see what your neighbors are saying. We update this post regularly based on feedback received. Cheers!
Pros & Cons of Living in Texas
Table of Contents: Pros & Cons of Living in Texas
Living in Texas
- Pros & Cons of Living in Texas
- First, the Pros of Moving to Texas
- Cons of Moving to Texas
- #1. You’ll Need a Car While Living in Texas
- #2. The Summer Heat is a Bear
- #3. Home Prices Are Rising
- #4. Healthcare Leaves Much to Be Desired
- #5. Sky-High Property Taxes
- #6. Locals May Not LOVE Your Moving Here
- #7. The Bugs!
- #8. Prone to Allergies? Moving to Texas May Not Be for You
- #9. Hurricanes are a (constant) threat
- Neutral Things You Should Know Before Moving to Texas
- Retiring in Texas FAQ
- Pros & Cons of Moving to Texas (Post Summary)
First, the Pros of Moving to Texas
#1. Locals Are Genuinely Friendly
I can tell you definitively, above everything else, the warmth and hospitality of the people is the biggest perk of living in Texas. That southern charm is like a soothing balm on chapped summer lips, you can’t imagine life without it after being exposed.
Prior to living in Texas, I lived in New York City. The Big Apple is known for being one of the most social cities in the country. It’s all about connections, overpriced alcohol and qualifying for the fast-walking Olympics (regardless of where you’re going).
Hell, you can be en route to Yoga class to “find your zen” and I wouldn’t be able to separate your pace from a spouse on their way to see their first child being born. That’s New York baby, and it’s a beautiful thing (until it burns you out).
Anyways, while living in NYC it’s easy to assume that making friends would not be hard (all those transplants!) but that wasn’t the case for me. And before you ask — yeah, I do shower daily. Regardless, making friends in NYC was challenging, so I assumed the same would be true after moving to Texas.
How wrong I was (thankfully!). Meeting new people and being able to establish friendships hasn’t felt like an impossible task while living in Texas. It’s been — dare I say — enjoyable?
Now, I don’t want to paint a false picture. Making friends in adulthood is never an easy task (hell, it requires nothing short of a miracle), but if you’re open to striking up conversations you’ll find that Texas is a very friendly place.
People are generally laid back and strive to live a normal, no-frills life, which makes everyone approachable and kind. Plus, those southern manners don’t hurt. You’re still bound to across your fair share of jerks, but those seem to the exception rather than the rule.
With some effort, expanding your friend circle while living in Texas is a doable task, making it one less thing to worry about.
#2. Year-Round Sunshine
Who couldn’t use a little more sunshine in their life? Studies have proven, time and time again, that sunshine boosts moods. Luckily, Texas shines (some pun intended) in that department.
If you’re a fan of sunshine and warmth then you’ll find living in Texas enjoyable (almost) year round. If you’re the active sort (so happy for you) you’ll be happy to know that the great outdoors are ripe for exploration, largely thanks to the blissful weather and year-round sunshine.
Winters in Texas are mild, warm and sunny. Snow is rare, which is probably the biggest reason so many people end up retiring in Texas. But as you can imagine, pleasant winters typically mean unbearably hot summers and it’s true. Between the oppressive humidity and heat, Texas summers are brutal (I’ll cover this in depth shortly).
But truth be told, I’d happily sacrifice 3 months of hot temperatures for 9 months of pure bliss.
Spanning 268,596 square miles, Texas is the largest state in the contiguous US. This means the climate changes drastically depending on where you live in Texas.
- East Texas is subtropical with humid summers, akin to the deep south.
- West Texas is very similar to the Southwest with expansive desert landscapes and arid weather.
- North Texas feels like it spans forever, with buttes and wildlife galore.
- South Texas is hot and humid, the area is heavily inspired by the lively and colorful Mexican culture.
#3. There’s No State Income Tax in Texas
Perhaps one of the biggest perks of moving to Texas is the lack of state income taxes. That’s right, Texas is one of only nine US states without an income tax.
What does this mean for the average Joe? Well, your take-home pay will be much higher simply by living in Texas. Use that hard-earned cash to which can be used to save, invest, or spend as you please.
Additionally, the absence of a state income tax makes Texas a more attractive place for large employers. In fact, there was a huge migration of businesses moving to Texas even after the pandemic due to generous tax incentives.
Obviously all states collect taxes one way or another and Texas chooses to do so through high property taxes (we’ll get to that too) and a sales tax that is higher than surrounding states. But even still, the maximum combined tax rate is 8.25%, which is very low.
#4. The Booming Job Market
Texas has one of the strongest job markets in the country and doesn’t show signs of slowing anytime soon. I guess this is one of the biggest reasons so many millennials are moving to Texas as of late.
Texas currently ranks first place for job growth in the country, which shouldn’t be taken lightly. Whether you’re moving to Texas for a new job, or moving with the hopes of growing your career you’ll be in good hands.
Texans are finding ample opportunities in the robust and diverse job market, which can’t be said for all cities and states in America.
Hell, job growth in Austin alone is predicted to grow by 47% over the next 10 years, thanks to companies like Google and Tesla relocating.
The state’s excellent job growth is attributed to generous economic policies that appeal to large businesses. These policies, and the overall easy way of life, makes moving to Texas a no-brainer for both employers and employees.
If helpful, here’s a roundup of the top industries in Texas:
- Oil & Gas: Texas is the Big Daddy of oil production (more than 1.5 million barrels a day!). The oil and gas industry is a major contributor to the state’s economy. As such, there’s tons of job opportunities (and secret political handshakes) to keep the gas companies happy and fed.
- Manufacturing: From vehicles and aerospace to medical and transportation, something’s always being made in Texas.
- Healthcare: The healthcare industry in Texas is ever-growing. Healthcare accounts for many jobs in Texas, with the largest employers being University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Tenet Healthcare.
- Technology: Texas is home to a thriving technology industry, with many major tech companies based in the state, including Dell and IBM.
- Tourism: Being the popular tourist destination that it is, the tourism industry offers amply employment opportunities for those living in Texas. From theme parks and historical sites to hotels and restaurants — tourism accounts for a lot of jobs in Texas.
#5. The Affordable Cost of Living in Texas
The biggest reason I ended up moving to Texas came down to the affordable cost of living. Frankly put, my earnings go a lot further in Texas than any other state I’ve lived in.
But don’t just take my word for it, according to data from the Council for Community and Economic Research the cost of living in Texas is about 5% lower than the national average.
Houses are affordable, land is still cheap and you don’t need to work two jobs to get by. Better still, salaries in Texas are getting more competitive thanks to the influx of new tech companies.
That being said, the cost of living can vary significantly depending on where you end up living in Texas. As you know, the cost of living in urban areas like Austin and Houston will be a lot higher than in smaller cities or rural areas.
It’s also worth mentioning that the cost of living in Dallas-Fort Worth is on the rise due to population growth and economic development. I’m sure the overall cost of living in Texas will continue to rise and the state will become less affordable. However, as it stands, your dollar will go a lot further after moving to Texas.
I’m convinced that the reason everything is “bigger in Texas” is because people have more money to spend.
Did you know? Texas is home to five of the fifteen most populous cities in the United States: Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Austin, and Fort Worth.
#6. Texas is a Diverse State
According to the United States Census Bureau, Texas has the second-highest population of Hispanic or Latino residents (more than 10 million people).
Many cities in the state are heavily influenced by the vibrant Latino communities that call Texas home. There’s a rich mix of Mexican, Central American, and Caribbean influences.
In addition to the Hispanic and Latino population, Texas is also home to a large number of African Americans, Asian Americans and Native Americans as well. These groups make up about 12%, 5%, and 1% of the state’s population respectively.
The diversity of Texas is reflected in its culture and cuisine. You’ll find some of the best Mexican food in the country while living in Texas. I mean, Tex-Mex was invented here, people! Need I say more?
Did you know that Texas is the second most diverse state in America? Most people don’t realize that before moving to Texas, but it’s true. Texas’ rich culture is deeply impacted by Latino influences.
#7. Texas State Pride is a Real Thing
I’ll be the first to admit that state pride had never been a consideration for yours truly before moving to Texas. Like, who has time for that stuff? Right?
So it never occurred to me that people could fall in love with their state the way they fall in love in high school. Rose tinted glasses and all.
Turns out that state pride is a big deal for those living in Texas, and they’ll make that crystal clear to you. Locals are keen to share the state’s history, culture, and traditions — and they often express this pride through their everyday actions and words.
It’s not uncommon to see the Texas State flag flying high alongside (or instead of) the US flag. That baby is flying wild and free in every zip code in the state! On homes, businesses and government buildings, you can’t throw a stick without hitting a flagpole inadvertently.
That’s rather unusual, especially for those moving to Texas from western states (most people just fly the American flag at home, but not in Texas).
So in many ways, Texas feels like its own country – from the vibrant and bold culture to the phenomenal festivals and entertainment. People love living in Texas and they want you to know it.
All in all, being proud of your state is an important part of living in Texas. There’s not a lot of room for complaints and whining. State pride unites Texans and defines the state’s identity and culture.
#8. Homes are Still Affordable in Texas
I don’t have to tell you that buying a home is not attainable for most Americans. The housing market across the nation has exploded to a point where starter homes aren’t even in the same timezone as affordable.
It’s possible to live near (or even in) a city after moving to Texas. This in turn makes Texas a great option for young families that want to set down roots by buying a home and becoming involved in the community.
Believe me, home ownership is a perk of living in Texas that simply can’t be overstated.
#9. World-Class Barbecue
I got called out by a reader for not including the food scene in my list of the perks of living in Texas. It was an embarrassing mistake on my end because it shows how spoiled I’ve become. At this point, I don’t think twice about having access to incredible barbecue and forgot most people don’t get to enjoy the gold standard weekly.
To the dear reader I say: “touché.” You are right. The barbecue in Texas deserves a mention (and a deep round of applause). You need not be an expert in much to know that Texas is the premier state for tantalizing BBQ.
Our specialty is traditional Texas BBQ which entails perfectly seasoned smoked meets (think beef brisket, pork ribs, sausages) tenderly cooked over wood until the meat falls off the bone. Dressed in sweet sauces that span the gamut, this stuff is life changing.
Cons of Moving to Texas
#1. You’ll Need a Car While Living in Texas
Let’s start with the obvious. Living in Texas without a car is like joining a sailing race with a surfboard under your arm. It’s not going to work out very well.
Simply put, you’ll definitely need to own a car while living in Texas because things are spread far apart and public transportation is unreliable. The state is massive and if you plan to take advantage of the great outdoors, you’ll need to drive.
Likewise, even daily errands (grocery shopping, etc.) will require driving. The city sprawl is real for those living in Texas, and the suburbs offer even less hope. There’s no way around it, daily life will revolve around a car after moving to Texas — don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Also worth mention, the traffic in the larger cities (Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin) often ranks as some of the worst in the country. So if you’re moving to one of those gems, prepare to get a lot of alone time with your car.
For perspective, Houston’s traffic is ranked third worst in the country for traffic. It’s estimated that the average commuter spends 49 hours a year sitting in traffic, which is a hell of a lot of time.
Here’s some interesting facts about driving in Texas:
- Texas has the second-highest number of licensed drivers in the United States, with over 18 million people holding a driver’s license.
- With more than 300,000 miles of public roads, Texas has the second-largest state highway system in the country.
- The speed limit on most highways in Texas is 75 mph, making it the highest speed limit in the country. However, some rural highways have a speed limit of 80 mph.
#2. The Summer Heat is a Bear
It doesn’t take long to learn that Texas’ intense summer heat is no joke. This is largely due to the state’s close proximity to the equator. The humidity and heat can be overwhelming and downright shocking for those moving Texas unprepared.
This isn’t your mama’s summer weather (unless your mama lives in Texas, of course).
Most Texans stay inside their AC’d homes and offices 24/7 during the summer months because the heat is intolerable. For perspective, the hottest temperature on record clocked in at an impressive 120°F. Imagine!
It’s not uncommon for summer highs to exceed 100°F and thunderstorms are all but guaranteed come spring. Hurricanes are also quite common in Texas and cause property damage year after year.
My advice? Don’t make plans that don’t involve water during the hot summer days while living in Texas.
#3. Home Prices Are Rising
Although there’s no denying that affordable home prices are a big impetus for those moving to Texas to start a family, the trend doesn’t seem like it will last long.
Texas’ housing market it nuts right now and doesn’t show signs of slowing anytime soon. For example, when we originally wrote this article in spring of 2022, the median price of a home was $300,000. But at the start of 2023 (six months later), the price has increased to $315,000. That’s not an easy market to keep up with.
In Austin alone, average home prices have increased by 30% over the past year — the highest increase in the country.
All this to say, if you think moving to Texas is inevitable (or imminent for you), I suggest doing so sooner rather than later. I mean, who knows if homes in Texas will be affordable 5-10 years from now?
#4. Healthcare Leaves Much to Be Desired
By and large, the quality of health care while living in Texas leaves much to be desired. Texas often ranks as one of the worst states in America for proper healthcare. Let that sink in.
This is a huge caveat for people considering moving to Texas for retirement.
Likewise, Texas has the highest rate of uninsured residents in the country (18.4%), which is alarming when considering its one of the most populous states, to boot.
Keep this in mind if you’re moving to Texas for retirement. Existing health concerns may be more prone to neglect. Plus, the probability of illnesses being un-diagnosed may increase while living in Texas. I don’t want to be a wet blanket, but I do want to give you some hard facts to that you can plan accordingly.
Texas has a number of top-ranked hospitals and medical facilities, but the overall quality of healthcare depends on location, location, location. If you’re serious about moving to Texas with health concerns, try to find a place in a large city to have better access to healthcare.
#5. Sky-High Property Taxes
Let’s not sugarcoat it. Texas has some of the highest property taxes in the country. Ouch.
Property taxes are determined by several factors. Chief among them are the value of the property, tax rates set by the local government and any exemptions/deductions that a homeowner may be eligible for.
Property taxes will vary by county, but in general
Property taxes will vary by county, but in general, the property taxes in Texas fall between 1.75% and 2.3%. One of the highest rates in America. Which really sucks for those living in Texas.
If helpful: Property taxes typically paid on an annual basis. The exact due date will vary depending on the city, but it’s typically in the fall.
#6. Locals May Not LOVE Your Moving Here
Listen, I know this sentiment is not unique to life in Texas, but it warrants mention.
Like with any recently discovered place, locals aren’t too keen on transplants and treat newcomers with weariness. The unexpected popularity of living in Texas comes with growing pains, to be sure.
Some locals will give you the cold shoulder and blame you for the uptick in traffic and housing prices. But let’s get real, this mentality/thinking is prevalent in many growing cities across the country. Try not to take it personally, we’re all merely chasing the best version of our lives and it’s okay to move around.
Just know that Texas is not immune to the infamous tug-of-war between lifelong locals and newcomers. New ideas, policies, political preferences, food sensitives, avocado toast toppings and dog size preferences. Everything under the sun is up for debate while living in Texas, but take it in stride and you’ll be just fine.
#7. The Bugs!
Texas is one of the buggiest states in America! Between the massive cockroaches, intolerable mosquitos and hellish fire ants, the constant bombardment of bugs is one of the biggest cons of moving to Texas.
There are many different types of bugs that call Texas home, some of the most common are beetles, mosquitos, moths, fire ants, wasps and spiders. The most common suspect is the infamous cockroach, which can be a major nuisance for homeowners.
Hell, the German cockroach (one of the most common species of cockroach), is often referred to as the “Texas State Bird” due to its prevalence in the state.
In addition to cockroaches, Texas is also home to many different types of mosquitoes, which can carry diseases such as West Nile virus and Zika virus. In fact, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services, there were over 2,000 reported cases of West Nile virus in Texas in 2018 alone.
While some of these bugs are harmless, others are a real pain in the ass (looking at you fire ants, mosquitos and cockroaches). As such, you’ll need to budget annual pest control into your budget before moving to Texas.
#8. Prone to Allergies? Moving to Texas May Not Be for You
Texas is one of the worst states to live in for allergy sufferers. Based on firsthand experience, I can confirm that allergies are a bear to deal with while living in Texas.
I’ve had several coworkers mention that they didn’t start getting allergies until moving to Texas. I find that peculiar, but I’m guessing they’re telling the truth. Regardless, I guarantee that every household has allergy medicine and nasal sprays.
We’re popping antihistamines like candy over here.
There are many different causes for allergies while living in Texas. Chief among them are pollen, mold, dust, and animal dander. Expect to hear a cacophony of sneezing, congestion and runny nose every spring, fall and summer season.
#9. Hurricanes are a (constant) threat
One of my least favorite things about living in Texas is the constant threat of tropical storms from June through November.
Big storms tear through Texas on occasion, and some of these hurricanes have made national headlines (Hurricane Harvey 2017 and Hurricane Ike 2008 come to mind).
Hurricanes and flooding are something that cannot be avoided when living in Texas because it’s in a high-risk hurricane zone. As such, you’ll need to consider flood insurance (depending on where you live) if you’re moving to Texas in the hopes of purchasing a home.
Neutral Things You Should Know Before Moving to Texas
#1. Texas State Politics
Texas is a red state and even with the recent influx of liberals, Texans by and large tend to be proud Republicans. Expect to see republican-themed apparel and flags in every town, practically every storefront and every restaurant.
Those that sway with Republican policies will feel comfortable and welcomed while living in Texas. Liberals will also be welcomed, but it may be harder to find your footing for a while. However, it’s definitely possible and Texans are a kind bunch.
#2. Gun Culture
As you probably know, Texas is a loud and proud gun carrying state. It’s not uncommon to see people openly carrying firearms while running errands. It took me a while to get used to this, but after living in Texas for 10+ years, I barely notice it now.
It’s not uncommon to get invited to gun ranges by friends and coworkers. Admittidely, this may take some getting used to if you’re moving to Texas from a more liberal city like NYC, LA or San Francisco.
#3. Football is a Way of Life
Texas has two religions: Religion and football. Everyone and their dog roots for one team or another so you better be prepared.
Texas has some pretty awesome professional sports teams, like the Dallas Cowboys, the Houston Astros, and the San Antonio Spurs. These teams have tons of fans, and many Texans will fight to defend their honor.
The passion isn’t reserved just for professional teams though. You’ll need to pick a favorite college team and maybe a high school team for good measure.
The exhilarating sports scene is alive and well in Texas, make no mistake about it. It makes living in Texas very fun (especially during football season). Visit one of the local sports bars and see what all the fuss is about.
Retiring in Texas FAQ
Is Texas a good place to live?
Moving to Texas seems to be on a lot of people’s minds lately. Hard to blame them! Friendly locals, affordable housing, access to nature and year-round sunshine. Texas is a great place to live, as long as you find the city that fits your needs and have a good-paying salary so that you can enjoy all the Lone Star State has to offer.
Is Texas a good place to retire?
If you’re considering retiring in Texas, you’re not alone. Although the right city for retirement varies by person, there are some perks to retiring in Texas:
- Cost of living: The cost of living in Texas is generally lower than the national average, but varies on the city you settle down in. By and large, housing costs tend to be lower then the national average, making Texas an attractive place for those on a fixed income.
- Weather: If you enjoy warm weather, retiring in Texas fits the bill. Hot and humid summers make way for mild winters, you’ll get sunshine year-round. However, if the idea of temperatures hovering above 100°F makes you sweat, consider looking elsewhere.
- Affordable housing: Moving to Texas for retirement with the hopes of buying a home is not unrealistic. The median home price is $315,000 which means that depending where you’re moving from, you may find a home within budget.
Is marijuana legal in Texas?
Marijuana is not legal for recreational use in the state of Texas. Possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use is considered a criminal offense in Texas, and it can be punishable by fines and imprisonment.
However, Texas has a limited medical marijuana program that allows certain patients with specific medical conditions to use low-THC cannabis products with the recommendation of a doctor.
Pros & Cons of Moving to Texas (Post Summary)
If you’re planning on moving to Texas, here’s a quick recap of the pros and cons of living in Texas. I hope you found this post helpful.
- The locals are friendly
- Access to outdoor recreation
- Constant sunshine
- No state income tax in Texas
- Booming job market
- Texas is diverse
- Affordable cost of living
- Homes are still affordable in Texas
- The world-class barbecue
- Home prices are rising
- You’ll need a car to get around
- The summer heat
- Healthcare leaves much to be desired
- Some of the highest property taxes in the USA
- Local’s won’t love your moving here
- The bugs
- The politics
- Gun culture
- Football is a way of life
- Hurricanes are a (constant) threat
Questions about living in Texas? Let us know your two cents below. It’s always nice to hear from you!
Hope you enjoyed this roundup of the honest pros and cons of living in Texas. Cheers!