Finding one of the best places to live in Texas is a big job, which only makes sense when you're talking about the second most populous state in the U.S. (behind California) and the second largest state in the U.S. geographically (behind Alaska.)
In fact, the Lone Star State is so big, it takes almost 15 hours to drive across it.
As big as Texas is, the state offers some of the most unique and even smaller, more quaint places to call home in the U.S. as economic growth, no state income tax, a warm climate, and proud residents beckon more and more people to Texas. Since 2010, the state's population has grown from 25.1 million to 28.7 million in 2018, making Texas the third-fastest growing U.S. state population-wise, in the U.S.
Consequently, ranking the best places to live in Texas is a sizeable job, with no lack of qualified cities and towns. Here's a list of some of the best places to live in Texas.
The Texas state capital and home to the University of Texas, Austin is a popular landing spot, especially for younger arrivals. At $1,106, the median residential rental rate in Austin is much lower than equally populous states like New York and California. At 3.2%, Austin has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation. Austin was recently tabbed as the "#1 Best Place to Live in the U.S."
Located about 20 minutes from Dallas by auto, Coppell is a highly desirable suburban enclave for commuters and families. Its school district has one of the highest ratings in the state and it has a relatively low cost of living. The town offers 500 acres of natural parkland, a low crime rate, and an annual employment growth rate of over 6%.
A Texas city that earns high marks across the board, Plano was recently rated one of the "100 Best Places to Live in the U.S." by Livability.com. Plano offers a small town, multi-cultural vibe, but it also flexes its muscle economically, as well. It's home to the headquarters of 25 U.S. companies, including brand names like Frito-Lay and Cinemark Theaters.
One of the country's "hot spot" cities, Houston is rebounding after being decimated by Hurricane Harvey in 2017, but recovery is swift in one of the most diverse and highly populated urban locations in the U.S. Median home values are more than affordable at $140,300, and rental dwellings clock in at a relatively low $898 per month, compared to other major U.S. cities. The city's diversity is truly balanced, as the demographic breakdown is fairly equal among Hispanics, Whites, African-Americans and Asian-Americans, making Houston a true melting pot landing spot. Household budgeting is easier in Houston as well. Forbes ranks Houston as the U.S. city where paychecks "stretch the most."
- Corpus Christi
Nicknamed as the "Sparkling City by the Sea", Corpus Christi offers 113 miles of pristine Gulf Coast beaches, with more sun-splashed coastlines in nearby Padre and Mustang Islands. The median property value in Corpus Christi is an affordable $132,000 and jobs are plentiful in the petrochemical, military and tourism sectors. A fun fact - the King Ranch, located in Corpus Cristi, is the largest ranch in the U.S., at a whopping 825,000 acres - bigger than the entire state of Rhode Island.
- Sugar Land
Sugar Land, Texas is aptly named - it was founded as a major sugar plantation in the 1800's, and has since grown into one the most vibrant and desirable landing spots in the entire Lone Star State. Business-wise, the city is a mecca for major U.S. corporations, with Aetna, Bechtel and Minute Maid, among others, headquartered in Sugar Land. Located 20 miles from Houston, Sugar Land's residents are sold on living there - 84% said they love living in the city, according to the 2017 Citizen Satisfaction Survey. The national "approval" average in the same category is 49%, providing a glimpse of why Sugar Land residents believe they have it so good.
- El Paso
Blessed with 300 days of sunshine, on average, El Paso (also known as "The Sun City") makes the grade as one of Texas' best places to live. 70 Fortune 500 companies have operations in El Paso. Great schools, a multitude of lifestyle choices, and some of the best Tex-Mex eateries in the U.S. attract outsiders to El Paso. When they arrive, they don't worry about safety. Every year since 1997, El Paso has made the "top three" list of safest U.S. cities.