One of the biggest decisions we make in our lives is deciding where to live. There is a constant struggle to balance personal desires with employment opportunities; to maximize salary while simultaneously maximizing our own happiness and preferences.
The American promise to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness guarantee our citizens the freedom to choose where they live and how they live. Buying a home is a milestone in that storied American journey towards prosperity, however, deciding where that home should be located can be a difficult and stress-inducing process.
One global trend is clear above all the rest, Texas, the Lone Star State is the place where everyone wants to be. Texas is growing exponentially at about 1,000 people per day as reported by State Demographer Lloyd Potter.
Half those new Texas are newborns, and the other half are migrants, who, like our readers, had to make the tough decision on figuring out where in the Lone Star State they can call their new home. U.S. Census data shows that Texas’s population grew by 187,545 people between July 2017 and July 2018 (even after accounting for people leaving the state).
Now that the #1 state to move-to has been established, the next step is to figure out where in Texas to buy a home. This is where we come in. Our team has done all the legwork and has come up with a comprehensive list of the 25 best places to live in Texas.
We looked at stats such as population growth, household incomes, house prices, violent crime rates, food quality, public parks, affordability and commute times in order to help you make the most informed decision for you and your family.
1. Fort Worth
Fort Worth is a beautiful North Texas oasis. It enjoys all the same urban perks of its sister-city Dallas, without many of the downsides such as high violent crime rates, low growth, and unaffordability.
Fort Worth bolsters the youth, income, and intellect of its workforce by serving as the home to one of Texas’s premier universities, TCU. TCU’s football team is consistently ranked in the top 25 in the country. In addition, Fort Worth hosts the world’s first and largest indoor rodeo!
Median Housing Price: $154,300
Yearly Population Growth: 22.1%
Known For: Fort Worth is the home of the TCU Football team. Go Frogs!
Plano is the greenest and most prosperous suburb in all of Texas. Its premier park system places Plano far above the rest of the pack. 75% of Plano residents are within a ten-minute walk to the nearest public park.
With the highest Quality of Life rating on this list, Plano residents benefit from high median incomes, a relatively low rate of violent crime, and shorter commute times. Dallas is a short drive south from Plano for residents who want access to the theaters, restaurants, and museums of the big city.
Median Housing Price: $291,300
Yearly Population Growth: 10.7%
Known For: Plano is corporate headquarters central! Dell Services, Frito-Lay, Rent-A-Center, Pizza Hut, and Cinemark Theatres have all chosen Plano as the home base for their respective companies.
Austin is a unique city deep in the heart of Texas. This metropolis serves as the seat of the Texas state government, and often finds itself as the epicenter of social change, political movements, and gives resident’s a front-row view of the future of the state.
Austin is by far the greenest urban region in the entire state and holds the #2 spot of all cities in Texas from the Trust for Public Land’s Annual Park Ranking. For those who consider themselves foodies, Austin holds the #1 spot for the best food in Texas according to Wallethub’s ranking of the best foodie cities in the U.S. residents can wake up, treat themselves to world-class cuisine, then go for a hike in the Greenbelt or a run in Zilker Park.
Median Housing Price: $312,300
9-Year Population Growth: 22.1%
Known For: Austin is the proud capital of the Lone Star State. Known for live music, bar crawling on 6th Street and the University of Texas football program.
Frisco is the fastest-growing city in the entire state, and the numbers speak for themselves. Frisco has the highest median household income in Texas with the median household raking in $127,133 annually.
Frisco also has the lowest violent crime rate out of all the cities on this list, which makes it one of the safest cities in the whole state. If wealth and safety are priorities for your family, then Frisco is the city for you.
Median Housing Price: $368,000
9-Year Population Growth: 71.1%
Known For: Frisco is home to FC Dallas, The Star (the Cowboy’s practice facility), and major employers such as T-Mobile, Oracle, IKEA, Amerisource.
5. Round Rock
Round Rock sits comfortably north of Austin. With the fifth-highest growth rate and the fourth-highest median household income in the state, residents pull-in $80,637 annually.
For prospective residents with technological backgrounds, the Austin suburb is the perfect place to enjoy all the cultural perks of Austin while avoiding Austin’s traffic and congestion.
Median Housing Price: $230,100
9-Year Population Growth: 33.3%
Known For: Dell Technologies chose Round Rock for their massive 157,000 employee HQ campus, so Round Rock has one of the most technologically advanced workforces in the entire state!
This Dallas-Fort Worth suburb is one of the most well-rounded cities on the list. Irving has good food, and it’s relatively affordable compared to its neighbor, Dallas. 64% of residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park.
With good growth and a median household income of $61,937 per year, residents of this city enjoy proximity to Dallas while avoiding its high rates of violent crime.
Median Housing Price: $165,000
9-Year Population Growth: 10.9%
Known For: Many Fortune 500 companies call Irving home, such as ExxonMobil, Kimberly-Clark and Fluor Corporation.
7. San Antonio
This South Texas metropolis is home to one of the most important historical monuments in Texas history, the Alamo. San Antonio is the perfect blend of Mexican and Texan cultures, a melting pot that gives us a glimpse into a potential future for the state.
With the #3 ranked local foodie scene in the state, San Antonio is the perfect city for those who are seeking authentic Mexican dishes, breakfast tacos, and some of the best BBQ in the country. With a #10 ranking in affordability, San Antonio prides itself in being the most affordable major urban center in the state. Its dispersed outward growth allows residents to enjoy the benefits of a large city while still feeling like they live in a small town.
Median Housing Price: $136,800
9-Year Population Growth: 16.7%
Known For: San Antonio is the proud home of The Alamo, the most important historical battleground from the Texas Revolution.
Dallas is the center of North Texas culture and the anchor that allows for the prosperity of all the Dallas-Fort Worth suburbs to occur in the upper ranks of our list.
Dallas has some of the best public parks in the state, and 71% of residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park. Dallas also is excellent for foodies and ranks #4 in our local cuisine category, right behind San Antonio. Dallas is home to some of the best museums, galleries, and cultural accomplishments the Lone Star State has to offer. For residents who hail from major Northeast urban centers, Dallas is the Texan city that will feel the most like home.
Median Housing Price: $169,400
9-Year Population Growth: 12.2%
Known For: Considered by many to be the financial hub of Texas, Dallas has one of the busiest airports in the world, and hosts the annual Texas State Fair.
If you’re after the Texas you always imagined from Old Western movies, this charming city has the perfect saloon for you to hang your cowboy hat in. As the only representative of West Texas in our top 10 and the only city that does not reside in a major metropolitan area, Midland is unique.
Its prosperity is tied to the Permian Basin and the lucrative oil/natural gas industry that makes its profits by drilling the resources in the area. Cacti, roadrunners, coyotes, rattlesnakes, tumbleweeds; West Texas has it all for those looking for the Texan cowboy lifestyle.
Median Housing Price: $204,800
9-Year Population Growth: 31.3%
Known For: Midland is famously known to be the oil capital of Texas due to its location in the Permian Basin.
Georgetown is the third Austin-area city to make our list—and in our opinion the most underappreciated. However, Georgetown is also the #2 fastest-growing city in the entire state!
Georgetown’s “quality of life” ranking is top five in the state. Residents enjoy a median household income of $71,410, and in addition, Georgetown is the third safest city on our list according to violent crime rates. Similar to Round Rock, residents can enjoy all the perks of Austin without having to live in the thick of the action.
Median Housing Price: $255,300
9-Year Population Growth: 67.6%
Known For: Georgetown is the Red Poppy Capital of Texas. Georgetown's Red Poppy Festival, which attracts up to 30,000 visitors annually, is held in April each year on the historic square.
McKinney is the fifth fastest-growing city in the state. Analogous to its ranking neighbor Georgetown, McKinney residents have the luxury of easy access to all of the world-class restaurants, museums and culture of Dallas, yet they get to avoid the worst aspects of Dallas such as a high violent crime rate and a low median household income.
McKinney residents enjoy the third-highest median household income in the state while raking in $89,964 per year. The city also is one of the safest in the state as well.
Median Housing Price: $281,300
9-Year Population Growth: 51.9%
Known For: McKinney’s proximity to Dallas and its roots as an early settlement for pioneers makes this a unique Texas suburb.
12. Corpus Christi
This laid-back coastal Texas city is the definition of chill, and the culture in Corpus Christi can best be described as running on “island time”. Corpus Christi has the third-best park system in Texas, and due to that, 75% of residents live within a 10-minute walk of a public park.
For those who are looking for more value to their dollar but also love the Texas coast, Corpus Christi is your city. With a median household income of $55,709 and one of the lower median house prices, Corpus Christi provides residents with excellent value.
Median Housing Price: $133,200
9-Year Population Growth: 7%
Known For: Pop legend Selena, “Queen of Tejano Music,” was born and raised in Corpus Christi.
Killeen is a military town through and through. In fact, their main employer is the U.S. Army. Situated in the Bell County area, Killeen is a short drive to both Austin and Dallas.
Fort Hood is the most populous U.S. military installation in the world, housing around 65,000 soldiers. In terms of scale, Fort Hood exists on 214,000 acres (87,000 ha), making it one of the largest military bases in the world by area.
Median Housing Price: $121,500
9-Year Population Growth: 18.7%
Known For: Fort Hood, the most populous U.S. military installation in the world!
14. New Braunfels
New Braunfels is a beautiful city in the Texas Hill Country. This summer oasis lies Northwest of San Antonio and is famous around the state for its Germanic roots dating back to the 1800s. New Braunfels’ Germanic heritage manifests itself in the local cuisine, its renowned dance/live music venue, Gruene Hall, and in the city’s most popular annual event, Wurstfest. Wurstfest draws in crowd sizes of more than 100,000 over its ten-day span.
During the summer, New Braunfels attracts huge crowds of Texans who want to escape the heat and cool off at the city’s own waterpark, Schlitterbahn, or float down the city’s two rivers, the Comal and the Guadalupe.
Median Housing Price: $199,700
9-Year Population Growth: 56.4%
Known For: New Braunfels is known for hosting Wurstfest, one of the biggest festivals in the world dedicated to celebrating the German festival, Oktoberfest, with beer, good food, and vibrant German music.
By population, Houston is the largest city in Texas and the 4th largest city in the United States. Judging solely by its sheer size, it is a shock to find Houston so far down in the ranking on our list. However, with immense size also comes a lot of issues. The two main factors working against Houston were violent crime rate (Houston has the highest rate per 100,000 residents in the state) and median household income (Houston’s median household earns $51,140 annually).
However, two categories do not negate all the wonderful aspects of the city! Houston ranks #2 in Texas on Wallethub’s rankings of the best foodie cities in the U.S. Houston has some of the best cultural institutions in the country and draws in over 7 million visitors annually to its Museum District. This diverse metropolis is also known as the epicenter of hip-hop culture in Texas.
Median Housing Price: $161,300
9-Year Population Growth: 10.7%
Known For: Houston is home to NASA’s Johnson Space Center, the headquarters of NASA’s human spaceflight and space shuttle program, which has earned it the moniker of ‘Space City USA’.
Arlington is a North Texas city nestled nicely between Dallas and Fort Worth. Well rounded, and affordable compared to its neighbors; Dallas, Frisco, Plano, McKinney, Denton, and Irving. Arlington is also relatively safe with a lower rate of violent crime than Dallas or Fort Worth.
Arlington’s two highlight categories were its parks and food, where it ranked #9 in both. Arlington Stadium is also home to the Texas Rangers baseball team, so it would not be a stretch to call Arlington a sports-oriented city.
Median Housing Price: $157,600
9-Year Population Growth: 9.2%
Known For: Arlington is home of the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium, also known as Jerry World, which is the 4th largest stadium in the NFL.
Garland’s shining category in these rankings was their parks. The Trust for Public Land Annual Park Ranking has Garland with the 83rd best park system in the U.S. which places Garland as the #8 best park system on our list. 63% of residents live within a ten-minute walk of a park.
According to 2016 Census data, Garland has the 14th largest Vietnamese population in the United States, so if you are a lover of authentic Vietnamese food and culture, this may be the city for you.
Median Housing Price: $146,200
9-Year Population Growth: 5.7%
Known For: Garland is famous for its signature “Firewheel” – a wildflower that flourishes across the area in spring and summer.
18. El Paso
Due to its proximity to the Rio Grande River and the border with Mexico, El Paso is flush with Hispanic culture and tradition. Every year, they host a festival called Fiesta de las Flores which roughly translates to Festival of the Flowers. With around 30,000 attendees and 80 booths, Fiesta de las Flores is one of the largest and oldest Hispanic festivals in Texas.
El Paso has excellent parks and food, plus it’s very affordable. It would be higher on our list if it weren’t for its low median household income. The median household income in El Paso is $45,656 annually.
Median Housing Price: $123,900
9-Year Population Growth: 5.2%
Known For: El Paso is known for being the farthest Western point of Texas, across to border and sister-cities with the famous Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
Laredo is a major trade hub and is the largest inland port on the U.S.-Mexico border. Laredo has a rich history and culture, and it was even once the capital of the short-lived Republic of the Rio Grande in 1840.
Laredo’s top categories were affordability and food. The median household income for the residents of Laredo is $43,341, but a low median housing price offsets that number making Laredo the 8th most affordable city on our list. Laredo also has a full array of authentic Mexican cuisine that helped it earn the #10 spot for the best food in Texas.
Median Housing Price: $122,900
9-Year Population Growth: 11.3%
Known For: Laredo is one of the oldest crossing points along the Mexico–United States border, and the nation's largest inland port of entry.
McAllen is by far the safest city in Texas and is perfect for security-minded prospective homeowners. With an annual violent crime rate of 104.4 per 100,000 residents per year, McAllen beat out all other Texas cities in terms of safety.
McAllen is also located on a major migratory path of birds between North and South America, which is perfect for birdwatchers and ornithologists. Being in the Rio Grande Valley, McAllen is a melting pot of Mexican and American cultures.
Median Housing Price: $123,900
9-Year Population Growth: 8.9%
Known For: McAllen is a border town and is directly north from Reynosa, Mexico.
Amarillo is one of the few cities on this list located near the Texas panhandle and is the northernmost major city in Texas. Amarillo’s best qualities are its amazing foodie culture and its affordability. Amarillo is ranked 5th best foodie scene in Texas and is the 4th most affordable city on our list.
Amarillo is home to Cadillac Ranch, an outdoor art installation of classic Cadillacs that are buried halfway into the ground and painted bright colors. A photoshoot at the Cadillac Ranch is a perfect opportunity to spice up your Instagram and or have a creative photoshoot.
Median Housing Price: $127,200
9-Year Population Growth: 4.6%
Known For: Amarillo is known for its Route 66 District, Cadillac Ranch (an outdoor art installation), and its V-22 Osprey hybrid aircraft assembly plant.
Lubbock’s purpose and reason for creation was mainly to serve as a home to Texas Tech University. Its economy is extremely intertwined with the university, which isn't necessarily a bad thing when the university is as well known as Texas Tech.
Lubbock’s main attraction is its affordability. With a median household income of $48,701 and a median housing price of $131,500, paying your mortgage isn’t a concern for a majority of residents.
Median Housing Price: $131,500
9-Year Population Growth: 12.6%
Known For: Lubbock is the home of the Texas Tech Red Raiders and the city where Patrick Mahomes, 2018 NFL MVP and 2019 Super Bowl Champion, moved his football career into the national spotlight.
Denton is becoming more popular as other cities in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area are seeing their growth stagnate. Denton has the 9th highest growth rate over a 9-year period in Texas.
Denton’s North Texas State Fair and Rodeo bring in over 100,00 attendees annually. It’s also home to the University of North Texas and boasts an active arts and music community.
Median Housing Price: $196,900
9-Year Population Growth: 21.7%
Known For: Denton is known for its annual Denton Arts and Jazz Festival has seven stages, 2,300 artists and 250+ arts and crafts booths which bring in over 200,000 jazz and art enthusiasts every year.
Mesquite is an excellent bargain for those who want to live near Dallas but don’t want to pay Dallas prices. With a median household income of $56,074 per year and a median housing price of $129,100, Mesquite is the 3rd most affordable city on our list.
Don Gay, eight-time Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) world champion bull rider, calls Mesquite home.
Median Housing Price: $129,100
9-Year Population Growth: 0.9%
Known For: Mesquite is known as the host city of the Mesquite Championship Rodeo. The city is generally known as the "Rodeo Capital of Texas."
Now that we have reached the end of the list, it is only proper that the 25th best city in Texas is also the most affordable! With the lowest median household income of $36,499 and the lowest median housing price of $87,600, the cost of living in Brownsville is very low.
In 2014, Elon Musk and SpaceX announced that their new Texas commercial space launch site would be located east of Brownsville. This development has brought a lot of high-skilled jobs and investment into the Brownsville area.
Median Housing Price: $87,600
9-Year Population Growth: 4.6%
Known For: The Chisholm Trail began in Brownsville, and the city was one of the most critical military posts during the Texas Revolution due to its location in the southernmost tip of Texas.
The Benefits of Living in Texas
With small-business friendly laws, no state tax, more space for lower prices, a culture of Southern charm, and rich traditions, the Lone Star State provides the perfect blend of urban & rural life in an affordable package for anyone searching for opportunity & prosperity.
* Low State Taxes: The Texas Constitution forbids personal income taxes. Texas’ tax situation makes it an attractive location to those who live in heavily taxed states such as New York and California.
* Maximum Square-Footage for your Dollar: Texas’ median listing price per square foot: $129
* Friendly Neighbors: Southern culture is real, and it’s especially sweet here in Texas. Almost everyone says “please” and “thank you”. Strangers smile and say “hi” to you when they’re walking by. And yes, some residents really do bring pies and treats over to greet new neighbors. Once you try a fresh homemade pecan pie, you can never live in another state again.
* Rich History and Culture: Texas is one of the few states in the U.S. that was once its own nation. The Texas Revolution is remembered in the stories of the Alamo, Santa Anna, and the brave Texian soldiers who fought for independence in 1836. The popular amusement park franchise, Six Flags Fiesta Texas is named to reference the six flags that the state of Texas has flown under: France, Spain, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the Confederate States of America, and the United States. With such a diverse background, Texas has served as a cultural melting pot over the course of its existence.
* Texas is the Perfect Balance of Urban & Rural Life: Due to the wide availability of cheap land, Texas’s urban centers have had the privilege to expand outwards rather than upwards. As more and more issues continue to arise from America’s hyperdense cities such as New York and San Francisco, Texas urban cities have largely avoided these issues due to our unique growth patterns and our genuine connection/symbiosis with the land and our surrounding rural areas.
Of the top 10 from our list, 9 cities were from dense urban-metroplexes. The lesson that can be drawn from these findings is that the continuous urban networking of large Texan cities with their surrounding areas over the years has led to some outstanding results.
These metropolises and their surrounding suburban areas are benefiting from their proximity to one another, and those benefits are manifesting in higher growth, higher household incomes, greater affordability, lower violent crime rates, manageable commutes, delicious local cuisine, and greater access to public parks.
However, there are always exceptions to the rule and Midland is one of them. Due to its dependence on the oil/gas industry, Midland has been able to successfully defy the trend and find prosperity out in sparsely-populated West Texas. As for the rest of us, the numbers show that our cities develop and perform better when they are clustered around each other.
If you’re looking to relocate to Texas, feel free to reach out to the experts at Better Homes and Gardens HomeCity. We can find you the perfect Texas home to fit your needs!