Living in Texas

By Najah Ayoub

Living in Texas (Austin)“Everything’s bigger in Texas” is not just a saying. Coming in at 268,820 square miles, it’s the second largest state in the US behind Alaska. As a resident of Texas, you’ll come to learn that it goes big in other ways as well.

The outsized offerings include the state’s famous barbeque and Tex-mex cuisines, live music events, higher education opportunities, and more. Before you make your decision to kick off your cowboy boots and make yourself at home though, it’s good to get familiar with both the pros and cons of feeling at home in the Lone Star state.

Living in Texas: Highway, nature and mountains

Quick State Stats

You’ll be sharing your plate of BBQ and the state with 29.5 million Texans. It’s the second most populated state in the country (California is #1). The majority of residents identify as white (78%). However, about 12.9% identify as African American, 39.7% as Hispanic or Latinx, and about 5.2% as Asian.

In terms of politics, Texans report being about equal proportions of left and right leaning. About 39% lean to the right as Republicans and about 40% as Democrats. Interestingly, 21% report not leaning one way or the other. The majority of Texans have voted for Republican Presidential candidates since 1980.

Everything is bigger in TX and big cities are no exception. The cities with the biggest populations include Houston (2.3 million), San Antonio (1.4 million), Dallas, (1.3 million), Austin (961,855), and Fort Worth (918,915).

Pros & Cons of living in Texas

Pros of living in Texas

  • There’s no income tax. Texas is one of 8 states that does not collect taxes on individual income. So, you won’t have to shell out additional dollars no matter what your take-home pay is while working in this state.
  • Big beautiful BBQ is a style all it’s own. It’s no secret that Texas is known for its barbeque. Beef is the centerpiece of the Texas style BBQ rather than pork or a particular type of BBQ sauce. That said, there are regional style differences within the state. For instance, Central Texas features brisket cooked slow and low over an indirect heat source. Down South though, you’re more likely to find barbacoa and to the East, chopped beef may be the specialty. If you’re hankerin’ for a hunk of beef, you’re likely to find your flavor (or have fun finding your favorite).
  • From Austin City Limits, South by Southwest, and beyond, Austin, TX is a live music hub. This hip city is frequently referred to as the “Live Music Capital of the World.” It boasts 250 venues from coffeehouses, bars, clubs, and concert halls. And there’s a bevy of live music festivals on the calendar as well. There’s a tune playing here for each and every Texan.

Living in Texas: Big Bend National Park

  • Exploring the outsized landscape. After you’ve fueled up on barbeque, you can set your course for adventure in many parts of this state. You can float down the waterway on the Rio Grande or check out the diversity of wildlife in the wooded wilderness at Big Thicket National Preserve. Or, maybe you’re ready to walk in the tracks of dinosaurs at Dinosaur Valley State Park. With 14 national parks and over 80 state parks, there are big outdoor discoveries to be made.
  • You can find affordable housing. Many things are big in the state, but a price tag to purchase a home doesn’t seem to be one of them. The median home cost is almost $50k lower than the national average in Texas (at $243,600 vs. $291,700). So, you may not have to pay a pretty penny to put up a Lone Star flag next to your front door.
  • Things are looking up in the job market. Many jobs have been added in the past few years — just over 698,000 since November 2020. Currently, the state is at 5.2% unemployment. The state’s major industries include Manufacturing; Aerospace, Aviation, & Defense; Biotech & Life Sciences; Energy; Information Technology; Petroleum Refinement and Chemical Products; Corporate Services; and Creative Industries (Film, TV, and Music are among them). The state is also home to 49 Fortune 500 company headquarters, including Exxon Mobile, Southwest Airlines, Hewlett Packard, Oracle, and Texas Instruments.
  • There are many top-tier Texas universities. Operating since 1876, the state’s oldest public institution is Texas A&M University in College Station. The University of Texas system is the state’s 135-year old public university system with 13 campuses. One of the campuses, UT Austin, is ranked #28 out of the top universities in the country — and it’s a big one, too with more than 40,000 students. Rice University, a private institution located in Houston, is ranked #17 nationally. Southern Methodist University and Baylor University also rank among the best schools in the state.

Cons of living in Texas

  • Property and sales taxes are high. Though the actual rate is based on what county you live in, the average property tax rate in the state is 1.8%. It is the 7th highest property tax rate in the country. As you’re filling your home with goods, you may also want to be aware that the average combined state and local sales tax is 8.19%, which is a bit higher than most other states (though not the highest).
  • Hot temperatures are common, but weather of all types is possible. For instance, January can get up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit (F) in the southern Rio Grande valley, but the northern part of the state has reported road-blocking blizzards during the same month. Snow and freezing temperatures are rare in the Southern part of the state. However, the Southeastern region of the state is reportedly the wettest. The Gulf coast region is prone to hurricanes, so it’s best to be prepared if that’s where you’ll be hanging your 10 gallon hat. On the other extreme, El Paso is among the top 10 sunniest cities in the world, with 302 days of sunshine a year!
  • Getting around may be a big drive. The average commute to get to work is under 30 minutes. However, if you’re excited to explore the state, get ready to log a lot of miles because the major cities are quite spread out. For instance, a driving distance between Austin and Houston is about 165 miles and that could take just over 3 hours one-way. Making a road trip from El Paso to Dallas requires over 9 hours of drive time via I-10 E and 1-20 E.
  • Fire ants are sharing the Lone Star state with you. Accidentally introduced in the 1930s, fire ants have aggressively spread around the state since the 1950s. They tend to swarm and once one stings, the other ants follow suit. A small number of people are particularly susceptible to severe reactions to fire ant stings. There’s not much to do if one stings you, however. Healthy individuals can keep an eye out for excessive swelling, itching, or redness that may indicate an allergic reaction.
  • Living in certain areas of the state may impact your internet connectivity. If you’re a fan of streaming services or work from home that requires you to use the internet, this one may be particularly of interest to you. Your ability to connect to high-speed internet, taken for granted in many places, can be impacted depending on where you live in the state. About 2 million Texan households don’t have access to broadband internet. Among the cities with the worst connection in the country are Laredo, TX and Brownsville, TX.

Moving to Texas

Ready to make your move to Texas?

After weighing the pros and cons of living large in Texas, look no further than professionals at Piece of Cake Moving and Storage to make your next big move an easy one — from supplying moving supplies, packing, unpacking, custom crating, and more. Our five-star services are just what you need to saddle up and make the Lone Star state your home.


Ready to make a move? Get in touch today for an obligation-free guaranteed flat price moving quote.

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