One of the pros of living in Houston is the impressive city skyline.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Living in Houston, Texas?

Houston Texas

by Matt Lyons Posted on July 24, 2024

If you’re ready for a change of scenery, the thriving city of Houston, TX, may have just what you’re looking for. Houston is one of the fastest-growing metropolises in the U.S. In fact, in 2023 alone, H-Town welcomed more than 11,000 new residents, bringing the population count to 2.3 million. And with a median age of 35, it’s perfect for young professionals and families alike — not to mention the city prides itself on its diversity. But, like all cities, there are pros and cons of living in Houston, Texas. So what is Houston like and what are the disadvantages of living in Houston? Here’s our list of what we think you should know about life in H-Town.

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Fun Facts About Living in Houston, Texas

Pros and Cons of Living in Houston — FAQs

Q: Is Houston a good place to live?
Millions of people certainly think so! Perhaps because Houston has a lower cost of living, lots of job opportunities, and a great entertainment scene — just to name a few perks. 

Q: Why is Houston so cheap to live in?
The overall cost of living in Houston (e.g., housing, food, transportation) is lower than the national average and the average in many other major cities.

Q: What is a comfortable salary to live in Houston?
According to MIT’s Living Wage Calculator, if you live alone, you would need around $43,300 annually before taxes to live comfortably in Houston.

Q: What's the safest area to live in Houston?
The Woodlands and Sugar Land are considered to be two of the safest places in the Houston area. 

These Are the Essential Pros and Cons of Living in Houston, Texas

Ready to dive into what makes Houston so great (and sometimes not so great)? Here are 14 pros and cons of living in Houston.

A couple is sipping coffee together at a cafe in Houston, Texas.

One of the biggest pros of living in Houston, Texas, is the relatively low cost of living.

Pro: The Houston Cost of Living is Low.

One of the biggest pros of living in Houston, Texas, is that it has a relatively low cost of living — especially when you consider that it’s the fourth most populous city in the U.S. It has a 96.9 cost of living index score, which is more than three percent lower than the national average. 

Houston isn’t the only popular city in Texas, though, which leaves many people wondering, “Is Dallas or Houston better? And what about Austin?” Dallas is a nearby Texas city that’s smaller than Houston; however, it’s more expensive to live there, with a cost of living index score of 100.2. And Austin has a population of about 962,000 but a cost of living score that’s much higher than Houston at 129.1. The average home in Austin costs around $544,600, and in Dallas, it’s around $318,700, while in Houston, the average home value is around $272,100. That’s a lot more bang for your buck!

Dallas vs. Austin vs. Houston Pros and Cons

If you’re specifically curious about the Dallas vs. Austin vs. Houston pros and cons, the major one is the cost of living difference. If you want to make your salary go further and find a more affordable home, then Houston is definitely the way to go. However, if you want to be a part of a thriving music and cultural scene, then Austin may be your go-to city. If shopping and nightlife are more your thing, you may want to check out Dallas. All cities, however, deal with extremely hot summers with high heat indices and humidity levels. 

Con: Houston Has High Sales and Property Taxes.

While the overall cost of living is low, and there may not be any state income taxes, there are higher sales and property taxes in Houston. The sales tax for the state of Texas is 6.25 percent; however, counties and cities can also add in sales tax, and for Houston, that ends up being 8.25 percent total sales tax. Most food items are exempt from sales taxes, but items like pet products, paper products, clothing, books, and personal care items, among others, are taxed. What’s more, property taxes in Harris County are at 2.13 percent, compared to the almost one percent national average.

Pro: Houston Offers Lots of Jobs in All Kinds of Fields.

Not only does Houston have a lower cost of living than cities like Austin and Dallas, but it also has a thriving job market. There are lots of oil and gas industry jobs available, as it’s one of the major employment industries in Houston. Companies like Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Valero Energy Corp, and Occidental Petroleum are all headquartered in Houston. But it isn’t just about the oil! There are plenty of engineering, research, and other science-related jobs in Houston, thanks to companies like NASA, Hewlett Packard, and Sysco. Additionally, there are plenty of service industry jobs, as well as opportunities in the hospitality sector, thanks to the popularity of Houston as a tourist spot. 

A dark, cloudy sky above a bridge in Houston, Texas, signals an incoming storm.

Hurricanes and tropical storms along the Gulf Coast can cause significant rain in Houston.

Con: There’s Extreme Weather in Houston.

One of the worst things about living in Houston is the chance for extreme weather. Houston is on a floodplain, which means there is a chance of severe flooding when there is heavy rain. Hurricanes and tropical storms along the Gulf Coast bring a risk of rain and flood damage, like during Hurricane Harvey in 2017 — the last time it happened before Harvey, though, was in 2008. Houston doesn’t typically experience the threat of tornadoes, though, unlike Dallas. 

As for summers, they can be very hot and humid, and for some folks with respiratory issues, this can be difficult to deal with. From June to September, temperatures can reach into the 90s and 100s with high humidity. 

However, most of the year, you can enjoy more pleasant weather in Houston — including mild winters with only small chances of ice precipitation. And while the summer season has intense heat, the remaining part of the year from October to May is very mild, with highs in the 60s and 70s, and lows that don’t hit below the 40s.

Pro: Houston Is Known for Its Amazing Entertainment Scene.

Another one of the major pros of living in Houston is that there’s always something fun to do. Because the city is so diverse, it means there’s a variety of activities that appeal to all kinds of people. You’ll find fun Texas activities, like the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, and cultural attractions, like the Theater District, with options like the Lynn Wyatt Square for the Performing Arts, the Bayou Music Center, and the Houston Grand Opera. And the kids will especially love the Houston Zoo and the Children’s Museum Houston

Catch live music and other community activities like yoga and Zumba in one of Houston’s many parks, as well, such as Hermann Park, Sam Houston Park, and Eleanor Tinsley Park along Buffalo Bayou. And you’ll easily find events to explore Houston’s variety of cultures, like the Black History Month Culture Fest, the Indian Film Festival, and the Houston Latin Fest

Con: Houston Has a Higher-Than-Average Crime Rate.

As with many large urban areas, answering questions like, “Is Houston dangerous?” or “Is Houston safe?” can be challenging. While Houston does have a crime rate that’s higher than the national average, that rate is on the decline in several key areas. Also, there are many safe neighborhoods in Houston that have tons of amenities and are appealing to families. These include Kingwood Area, Addicks Park Ten, and Lake Houston.

Pro: Houston’s Close to Other Major Texas Cities.

While there’s lots to do and see in Houston, it’s nice to know you have options when it comes to day trips or extended weekends in a new city, as well. One of the most popular places for folks to visit, especially in the hot summers, is the coastal city of Galveston, which is only about an hour away. You can be on the Gulf shores in no time and enjoy a change of scenery at the beach.

Additionally, Houston is close to Austin (3 hours), San Antonio (4 hours), and even Dallas (4 hours). That means you can visit any of these fun cities (as well as check out smaller towns along the way) in just a few hours and explore what they have to offer. 

Con: Houston Isn’t Known As a Walkable City.

One of the major cons of a city the size of Houston is that it isn’t very walkable outside of the central business district and the city center of downtown. Different Houston neighborhoods and suburbs themselves are very walkable, with green spaces to enjoy, but it’s hard to walk anywhere in between. Because the city was set up to accommodate drivers and cars, there are lots of well-designed interstates that connect the various parts of the city, but it’s just not feasible to walk. There are buses and a rail system, but residents find that their routes are limited. If you’re moving to Houston from a very walkable city like New York, Philadelphia, or Chicago, this may take some getting used to — especially the traffic congestion that comes with all the cars. 

A mother and her two young sons enjoy a trip around a lazy river in The Woodlands, Texas.

Houston has a lot of vibrant neighborhoods and safe suburbs to call home. 
(Source: Visit The Woodlands via Facebook)

Pro: Houston Has Some Great Areas To Call Home.

Houston has a lot of vibrant neighborhoods and safe suburbs to call home. No matter what you’re looking for, Houston is bound to have an area that appeals to your situation and needs.

For Retirees

If you want a safe suburb that has a slower pace of life and lots to offer retirees, you can’t go wrong with DeCordova or Shenandoah, both ranked by Niche as some of the best places to retire in Texas.

For Families

If you want to settle down and raise a family, or if you’re moving to Houston with the kids in tow, you want to definitely check out all the amenities that places like The Woodlands and Cinco Ranch offer — whether it’s A+ schools, outdoor activities, or fun places to explore on the weekends.

For Young Professionals

Moving to Houston for a job and want to be at the heart of all the action? Young professionals have been flocking to neighborhoods like Fourth Ward, Museum Park, and Neartown-Montrose, where they’re close to coffee shops, parks, and some fantastic bars and restaurants.

A player for the Houston Astros is leaping horizontally through the air to make a catch during a game.

The Houston Astros are just one of several pro sports teams that call H-Town home.
(Source: Houston Astros via Facebook)

Pro: There’s an Awesome Sports Scene in Houston.

If you’re a sports fan or coming from a sports-centric city, chances are you want to root for your new hometown’s teams. In Houston, you’re in luck, because you have a lot of choices when it comes to sports:

You’ll find it’s easy to start following any of these professional sports teams, but don’t forget about the college teams like Rice University and the University of Houston, too, with lower ticket prices and even more sports to watch!

Con: Houston Home Prices Can Be Steep.

While the cost of homes in Houston is lower than the national average at around $272,100, there are recent trends that make it harder to find affordable housing. This includes high interest rates and an increasing local population (which can create more competition for homes). In turn, this can make it more difficult to find housing, especially if there are buyers willing to outbid you. Affordable housing can be found, you just may have to wait longer for something you can afford to come on the market.

Pro: There’s a Great Foodie Scene in Houston.

Residents of Houston rave about the food scene, and it really is one of the best in the country. Because there are so many different cultures that call Houston home, you can find new restaurants popping up all the time. You’ll not only find Korean, Vietnamese, Mexican, and Indian restaurants all around you, but they’re also incredibly affordable. And don’t forget about Texas BBQ — Houston is home to some of the best around. Whether you want to find a hole-in-the-wall restaurant, a food truck, or a five-star, sit-down restaurant, you can expect that the quality of food will always be top-notch. 

Houston Foodies Love:

  • Indian food at Amrina
  • Asian fusion at Jūn
  • Feges BBQ
  • Aerial view of Rice University in Houston, Texas.

    Rice University is one of several private schools in Houston, Texas. 
    (Source: Rice University via Facebook)

    Con: Private Education in Houston Can Be Expensive.

    There are a lot of private schools in Houston that you can choose to send your kids to, but it’s important to note that private education sometimes comes with a high price tag. The tuition costs vary depending on what suburb or neighborhood the school is in, but if this is something you’re interested in, be prepared to include a significant new line item on your family’s budget.

    There are also lots of places of higher education in the city with higher tuition rates, including private schools like Rice University, Houston Christian University, and the University of St. Thomas.

    Pros and Cons of the University of Houston

    Instead of attending a private college, you could always attend the public University of Houston. Some of the pros of this school include its highly ranked education program, research centers, and city campus. Its cons are that parking can be difficult, classes tend to fill up fast, and some neighborhoods around campus are prone to flooding.

    There are a lot of pros and cons of living in Houston, but in the end, you need to do what’s right for your situation. Houston certainly has a lot going for it, like warm weather, lots of cultural cuisine, and a thriving job market. And while there are disadvantages to living in any city, Houston’s pros outweigh the cons, especially if you’re looking to find an affordable place to live where there’s always something fun to do. 

    When you’re ready, use PODS to move to Houston. Pack up your storage container on your schedule, and PODS will deliver it to your new Houston home. And the best part? One month of storage is included in every move. 

    Editor’s note: For ease of reading, monthly rental prices were rounded to the nearest $25, and home values were rounded to the nearest $100.
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