Texas has a reputation that rivals its size. There's a lot that makes this state memorable, from the Alamo to Big Bend National Park and the Guadalupe Mountains—and even more that makes it such an interesting and desirable place to live.
And, if you're like millions of other Americans, deciding on where to relocate can be challenging. This is especially true in Texas, which has a number of distinct urban areas. Dallas, located on the state's northern border, and Austin, located somewhat farther south, are two of the most popular destinations for those looking to relocate to Texas.
Dallas and Austin are two incredibly popular cities in Texas. They are the third and fourth largest cities in the state after San Antonio and Houston. While geographically similar, these two cities each have their own unique identities and charm, making them two common options if you’re thinking of moving to Texas.
Which one is best? Which city will be right for your family? In this article, you’ll find an in-depth comparison of both Dallas and Austin cities as well as trends and statistics to help you choose which city is right for you to settle in.
One of the most important factors to consider in picking a place to move is the job market. Both Austin and Dallas have outpaced the nation in job growth recently. Wallethub ranks Austin 23rd out of the 180 largest U.S. metropolitan areas in terms of employment prospects, even after the COVID-19 outbreak. Dallas, on the other hand, came in the 112th position.
Austin, in particular, has seen unprecedented growth, powered mostly by the tech industry. Austin has lower unemployment and higher predicted future job growth, with job growth increasing by more than 46 percent over the last ten years. Austin is also home to a large number of tech employers. Amazon, Google, and Facebook are among the major corporate inhabitants. Tesla Motors has also built a headquarters in Austin.
However, the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex provides inhabitants with easy access to several large employment areas. Fort Worth is located at the western end of DFW, which has had similar job growth to Austin in recent years. The DFW metroplex, in particular, is home to nearly 10,000 company offices. Several other significant corporations, including Texas Instruments, Verizon, Lockheed Martin, and JP Morgan Chase, are also located in the metroplex.
Winner: While Dallas is home to multiple companies, Austin is a clear winner thanks to its current booming economy and tech industry.
One of the significant factors of moving to a new city is housing costs. Both Dallas and Austin's real estate markets are continuously altering, but Dallas continues to outperform in the housing market.
The median price for homes in Dallas is roughly $352,750, and the average rent for a 1-bedroom is around $1,442 per month. The median property price can also vary substantially based on the location, so be aware that living in a more desirable neighborhood will cost you more.
The median property price in Austin is substantially higher, around $470,000, and the average rent for a 1-bedroom is similarly higher, around $1,571. While this is a considerable sum of money, it may not be enough to make or break your decision. You should just be aware that residing in Austin will cost you extra money in terms of housing. However, buying a home in one of the Austin suburbs may help you find better deals.
To land a house in this competitive market, you’ll need the help of a top Austin real estate company.
Winner: Dallas is a better choice for budget-conscious purchasers looking for a property that will appreciate in value, thanks to a bigger number of properties for sale and lower pricing.
Cost of Living
Before deciding between Dallas and Austin, consider the local cost of living. The total sum of all basic living expenses, such as food, clothing, housing, and transportation, is referred to as the cost of living.
Knowing how much your essentials will cost is critical when looking to move to a new city. So, what is the cost of living in Dallas and Austin? Overall, the cost of living in Austin is 119.3, which is 19.3 percent higher than the U.S. average of 100. This means that it costs residents of Austin $119.30 to buy the same amount of goods and services that cost $100 in the U.S. on average. Austin is ranked 71 on a list of 500 U.S. metro areas when it comes to the cost of living.
Dallas on the other hand boasts a cost of living that is higher than the national average and Austin. The cost of living in Dallas is 7.7 percent higher than the national average, but it still costs less to live here compared to several metro cities.
Winner: One of the first considerations you’ll likely have is the cost of living. Austin definitely wins out here for affordability.
Both Austin and Dallas have highly regarded school districts; three Dallas-area high schools made U.S. News and World Report's list of the top 10 high schools in Texas, while one Austin school made the list. According to a list of public schools compiled by GreatSchools.org, dozens of schools in both Austin and Dallas have ratings of 8/10 or better.
In terms of higher education, the Dallas area is home to 37 colleges and universities, including Southern Methodist University and the University of Dallas. While Austin has fewer universities in its metro area (only 15), the Lone Star Capital has a greater "college town" reputation than Dallas, owing to the University of Texas's flagship campus in Austin.
So, whether you’re moving to Austin or Dallas, you and your kids are sure to receive quality and affordable education across levels.
Winner: Both areas are excellent educational centers, but Austin’s status as the home of UT academics and the Eanes School District which ranks as the best school district in Texas gives it a slight edge.
When it comes to prioritizing health, Austin is well-known as a health and fitness-focused city. According to a study by WalletHub, Austin ranks 7th among the healthiest cities in the United States and first in Texas. On the one hand, Dallas was ranked 102 among the healthiest cities in the country. The cost of health care is nearly identical, with Austin being about 3.6 percent more expensive.
Austin residents spent around $6,160 yearly on healthcare, more than the US median of $5,641. You can expect to pay, on average, around $120 to see a doctor or dentist.
On the other hand, Dallas residents spend about 13 percent more on healthcare than the US median of $5,641. You can expect to pay around $120 to see a doctor or dentist here as well.
Costs aside, access to hospitals and healthcare facilities plays a role. Austin is home to many highly-rated hospitals, as is Dallas.
Winner: For this category, Austin wins when it comes to prioritizing health thanks to its multiple healthcare facilities.
Both Dallas and Austin are car-centric cities, with the majority of commuters utilizing personal vehicles to get around. Dallas has one of the worst commute times in Texas, at 26.7 minutes, according to current data. Austin has the ninth-longest travel time in Texas, at 24.8 minutes.
In terms of public transportation, the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) system operates a network of buses, light rails, streetcars, and trolleys throughout the city and into the suburbs. Meanwhile, Austin's CapMetro system connects downtown Austin with suburbs such as Leander through Metro Rail trains and buses. Austin is particularly well-known for its scooter and bike-share programs.
Jump Bikes, B-Cycle, Lime, and Bird are just a few of the options for Austinites on the go. Dallas' foray into bike-sharing has been hampered by opposition from local businesses and citizens. Because of its smaller size, Austin's transit system does not have to cover as much ground as Dallas'. Meanwhile, the Dallas transportation system relies mainly on personal vehicles, with mass transit primarily serving a few destinations around the DFW Metroplex.
Winner: Thanks to its slightly shorter average commute time and its greater supply of bike-sharing options, Austin gets the win here.
While a place may be glamorous, enticing, and full of culture, safety isn’t something you should sacrifice. Like every city, there are safer areas and less safe parts in Austin and Dallas respectively.
In 2021 Austin reported 4,981 violent crimes and had a crime rate of 511.66 per 100,000 residents. Austin’s crime rate is 28 percent higher than the national average and is on par with cities like Portland, New York, and Fort Worth. In comparison, Dallas had the 31st highest violent crime rate in the country, with about 774.64 incidents per 100,000 residents. It also ranked 60th for Property Crime rate in the country, 3185.09 per 100,000 residents.
According to NeighborhoodScout, you have a 1 in 114 chance of being a victim of violent crime in Dallas. Compare that to 1 in 77 chance in Oakland, 1 in 55 chance in Detroit, and 1 in 52 in St. Louis. If you look at Austin, you have a 1 in 245 chance of being a victim of violent crime, which is twice as few.
When making a decision on which city to move to in Texas, it is important that you check the city’s safety ratings and crime rates before deciding to move.
Winner: On average, you'll find that most data ranks Austin as being slightly safer than Dallas, but the difference is fairly small.
The Food Options
Texas is famed for its mouthwatering cuisine, and you'll find wonderful food in both of these cities, with the key distinction in the culinary scene in Austin and Dallas being the type of food each town excels in.
Austin has trendier culinary offerings, with options such as brisket tacos, gourmet BBQ, and even ramen available to hungry Austin locals. This dining scene combines traditional Texas cuisine with modern Texas trends. From the “best BBQ in the universe” of the legendary Franklin’s to the bold Tex-Mex dishes at Polvo’s, there’s something to please every Austinite.
Dallas, on the other hand, favors traditional southern cuisine. While street tacos and brisket remain popular, you'll also find more classic southern fare like biscuits and gravy, as well as a variety of other comfort foods at renowned restaurants like Ms. Mary's Southern Kitchen.
Winner: Both Austin and Dallas are justifiably proud of their cuisine and culture scenes, but Austin's iconic role in both cannot be underestimated.
Austin is well-known for its nightlife, breweries, and live music scene. 6th Street, in particular, is well-known for its numerous hangouts and events. The Elephant Room in the city is a jazz club positioned below street level providing a more relaxed atmosphere.
Stubb's is another well-known establishment that serves Texas barbecue alongside live musical acts. Some of the top new alternative music bands pass through Emo's, which has an adjacent beer garden where you can enjoy the show outside. The Roosevelt Room, a 1920s-themed pub and dance club, is another popular hangout.
Don't count Dallas out when it comes to having fun. Dallas locals can visit the Deep Ellum district, which attracts musicians of various genres due to its numerous venues. The Texas Live complex in Arlington houses multiple restaurants and bars as well as several stages where local and visiting artists perform.
You can also visit venues such as the Granada Theater and The Bomb Factory, which contribute to the city's thriving music culture, while Citizen provides a hip and stylish choice for casual drinks or dancing. If you have any remaining energy, make your way to Cowboys Red River for a true Texas honky tonk experience.
Winner: While both Austin and Dallas are large cities with plenty of nightlife opportunities in both, Austin may have a slight edge on the competition due to the ease of accessibility.
While Austin and Dallas are fairly similar, each city has its own distinct cultural experiences that set it apart.
Austin is well-known for its art scene and ingenuity. Aside from the music industry, Austinites enjoy a variety of art and cultural activities, such as the well-known South by Southwest festival, the Art in Public Places tour, and The People's Gallery, a celebration of Austin's diversity. History fans will also love the Bullock Texas State History Museum and the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library and Museum.
Dallas is also home to a number of cultural institutions, including the Dallas Museum of Art. The city is also well-known for its art galleries, including the Nasher Sculpture Center, and for honoring its diverse population and the art they make. The Frontiers of Flight Museum explains why Dallas is known as "The Aviation Capital of the World."
Winner: Both Dallas and Austin are winners in this category when it comes to cultural options. There’s a lot to see and do, from museums to art galleries to points of historical interest.
Both Dallas and Austin have mostly pleasant weather all year, allowing for outdoor activities and enjoyment. Austin is known for its breathtaking landscape and 'Instagrammable' places all across the city. If you want to go boating or swimming, consider Lake Travis, Barton Springs, or Lake Austin. Mount Bonnel may be more your style if you prefer to climb a mountain or have a picnic outside.
Outdoor activities abound in Dallas, including the wildly popular Dallas Arboretum Botanical Garden and Fair Park. The Katy Route is another well-known trail in the area, and if you're willing to go to nearby Fort Worth, you can experience more natural beauty, such as the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens. In addition, residents have access to multiple world-class zoos. The Dallas Zoo is considered a top zoo, but DFW residents can also access the Fort Worth Zoo.
Winner: There are many weekend getaways in the city of Austin and Dallas if you’re in the mood to explore your surroundings. However, Austin is the winner here.
While both towns have a lot to offer sports fans, Dallas has the advantage when it comes to professional teams. Several professional sports teams call the DFW metroplex home, including the Dallas Cowboys, Texas Rangers, Dallas Mavericks, and FC Dallas. Bars and eateries that cater particularly to sports fans surround the stadium areas. DFW has hosted some of the world's major sporting events, including the Super Bowl and World Series.
Austin is primarily focused on collegiate athletics, with the University of Texas football team being a prominent draw. With such strong rivalries in the area, the games are always exciting. It is also the home of the professional soccer team Austin FC and the Round Rock Express, the Houston Astros' AAA affiliate. Austin is also the home of the Austin Spurs, an NBA affiliate of the San Antonio Spurs.
Winner: While both cities offer spectator sports fans plenty to cheer for, Dallas takes the win due to its many professional teams and being host to multiple world-class sports events.
The Bottom Line
So, which is it, Dallas or Austin? Irrespective of your choice, these two cities in the state of Texas provide prospective residents with two distinct living experiences. While both have similarities, there are differences in housing, entertainment, and culinary expertise. And no matter where you end up in Texas, you deserve to buy a great home in an excellent neighborhood.
That's where BHGRE HomeCity comes in, making it simple for you to choose the ideal house for your housing needs. We can even assist you in finding affordable condos ensuring you'll be happy living in the neighborhood you've chosen.