You’re not the only one who has thought about moving to Texas. The Lonestar State is the third fastest-growing state in the country with a 13.36% population growth rate.
While Texas certainly has a reputation (everything is bigger in Texas!), it’s an enormous state with an eclectic mix of urban, suburban, and rural environments, and a diverse range of people and activities for residents. If you’re thinking about moving to or buying a house in Texas, allow us to help you make a more informed decision with this piece breaking down what you need to know about moving there.
Texas celebrates its state history perhaps more than any other state. The area that we now know as Texas, has been claimed by six countries (not to mention countless American Indian tribes): France, Spain, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the U.S. Confederacy, and the United States of America. Unsurprisingly, the history is far too complicated to fully dig into in this article, so let’s focus on the historical moment that has given Texas an enduring sense of pride.
After Mexico won its independence from Spain in 1821, Mexican Texas was part of the deal, making Texas part of Mexico. However, driven predominantly by racist attitudes towards Mexicans and the desire to be a slaveholding territory, Texans fought and won their independence as the Republic of Texas in 1836. The most famous battle of this conflict is the Battle of the Alamo, where Davey Crockett and 200 settlers held off the Mexican army for 13 days before being slaughtered, initiating the battle cry “Remember the Alamo!” which would rally Texans to eventual victory.
In 1845, the United States annexed Texas, making it the 28th state in the union. However, Mexico would not recognize Texan independence until 1848, after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
Texas is predominantly a desert state and is flatter than much of the rest of the American Southwest. It’s home to two National Parks: Big Bend National Park and Guadalupe Mountains National Park.
The American Grand Prairie stretches across Northern Texas while the desert south features the Rio Grande Valley.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Texas has a population of just over 30 million people. That makes it the second most populous state, behind just California.
Many of these people live in Texas’s multiple metropolitan areas, including Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, Houston, and San Antonio. Houston is the largest city in Texas (and the fourth largest in the country) with a population of 2.3 million people. It’s roughly the same size as Chicago, IL.
Texas has the reputation of one of the most staunchly Republican states in the Union. If California is the Big Blue state, Texas is the Big Red one. However, the state has become increasingly purple in the 21st century as urban centers grow and increased diversity from both international and domestic migration infuse the state and its suburbs with more liberal voters.
Today, Texas has 85 Republican, 64 Democrat, and one Independent representative, two Republican senators, but went Republican in the 2020 presidential election by just a 52-47 margin, a 3% gain for the Democratic party from the 2016 election.
Like most parts of the US, urban centers like Austin, Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, and San Antonio tend to be more liberal, while rural areas are more conservative.
Texas ranks 35th among U.S. states according to U.S. News and World Report. This puts it firmly in the bottom half of all states. While Texas receives a boost from ranking 8th in economy, it’s drawn down by its opportunity (47th) and natural environment (40th) rankings. It ranks fairly well in infrastructure (13th) and fiscal stability (16th), but does poorly in healthcare (32nd), education (35th), and crime and corrections (36th).
As of October 2023, Texas’ unemployment rate is 4.1%, higher than the national average of 3.5%. Approximately 626,000 people in the state are unemployed.
As of September 23, Texas’s housing market is one of the few in the nation that is actually slowing. The $347,000 median home sale price is 0.14% down year over year, and below the national median price of $406,700.
Despite the lower cost of homes, however, Texas has some of the higher average closing costs in the country, coming in at $4,548, comparable to states like Arizona and Maine.
Looking to buy or sell a house in Texas? Check out our San Antonio market report.
Texas has been an especially popular destination for people relocating from coastal states due to its low cost of living. With a cost of living index of just 94.2, the cost of goods and services are about 5.8% lower in Texas than the national average.
As of 2022, the median household income in Texas is $76,480. That’s a bit above the national median household income of $69,717, making Texas a rare state with a below average cost of living and an above average household income.
While the median household income is high, Texas also has an especially high poverty rate of 14% — 1.2% above the national poverty rate of 12.8%. Poverty rate examines the percentage of the population living below the poverty line determined by the federal government. Texas’s high poverty rate illustrates an inequitable economy in which there are many high earners, but also many people are out of work or earning miniscule wages.
Texas is hot. While it’s an enormous state, most of Texas is desert, with swaths of Great Plains in the North. Texas summers are long, dry, and very hot (and getting hotter). The mean temperature across the state in August is 86.5º, but that’s practically cold compared to southern cities like Austin (97.8º mean temperature) and San Antonio (96º).
The rainy season across the state is typically from March to May, and sometimes September to October. Storms tend to be short and very intense, which can lead to stress on infrastructure, evidenced by the 2021 Texas power crisis when winter storms completely overwhelmed the state’s power grid leaving millions without power.
Some of Texas’s well-regarded universities include:
While Texas rates poorly for work opportunity against other states, it’s still a major hub for some of the nation’s biggest employers. The biggest employers in Texas include Amazon, American Airlines, Boeing, AT&T, ExxonMobil, Lockheed Martin, and Southwest Airlines.
Texas is one of the biggest and most diverse states in America. As such, it has an eclectic mix of activities depending on where you are that always keeps things interesting.
Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio all have professional sports teams, and Austin is home to the University of Texas Longhorns, one of the biggest collegiate athletic programs in the country.
The Houston Texans (football) play at NRG Stadium, the Astros (baseball) play at Minute Maid Park, and the Rockets (basketball) play at the Toyota Center.
The Dallas Cowboys (football) play at the new AT&T Stadium, the Texas Rangers (baseball) play at Globe Life Field, and the Dallas Mavericks (basketball) and Stars (hockey) play at the American Airlines Center.
Finally, the San Antonio Spurs (basketball) play at Frost Bank Center.
Texas has one of the best food scenes in the entire country, propelled by the fusion classic Tex-Mex cuisine and good old fashioned Texas barbecue. But Texas has far more than Mexican-inspired and Southern-inspired food. Houston, in particular, has become a hotbed for culinary innovation, with inspirations from New Orleans (crawfish), southeast Asia (thanks to a booming Vietnamese population), and other parts of the world.
Texas has never been more diverse, and the food has never been better.
Texas has such a rich music history that there’s an entire show dedicated to it. Mostly folk and country, some of the most famous musicians to come out of the state include Willie Nelson, Kenny Rogers, Roy Orbison, and Waylon Jennings.
But such an enormous state naturally has an eclectic music scene, and some other massive artists who got their start in Texas include Beyonce, Selena, Kelly Clarkson, Janis Joplin, ZZ Top, and Erykah Badu.
Texas is far too large a state that one could easily devote an entire article to attractions and points of interest. However, the most popular destinations include San Antonio’s The Alamo and RiverWalk, Dallas’s Arboretum and Botanical Garden, Houston’s Space Center and Museum of Natural History, Big Bend National Park, and Guadalupe Mountains National Park.
For people moving from coastal states like New York and New Jersey, they’ll find that the combination of big urban centers with easier access to wide open natural spaces may appeal to them. (Plus, it’s a lot closer to Las Vegas, the entertainment capital of the world.)
With attractions that appeal to museum-goers, outdoor recreationists, foodies, music lovers, and more, Texas truly has something for everyone.
Here are a few more details about moving to Texas.
Only you can answer that question! Everybody has specific feelings about different parts of the country, and Texas certainly has a reputation that it’s not remotely shy of. While Texas doesn’t rank particularly well in education, economy, or natural environment, it does offer a lower cost of living and the potential for a good income if you’re established in your career.
Learn more about buying a house in Texas
Texas is one of the more affordable states in the country, and one of the few that offers that affordability without sacrificing culture. With vibrant cultural scenes across the state and one of the most diverse populations in the US, you can expect to find outstanding food at reasonable prices all over the state. You can live a good life on a good budget.
That said, the climate is unforgiving, the high unemployment rate and poor education system make it a less than ideal place to raise children, and despite the state having some of the highest health care expenditures in the country, Texans have a below average life expectancy, indicative of the high crime rate and frequency of unhealthy lifestyles.
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