Texas best places to live in 2020

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Austin is at the top of the list when it comes to the best places to live in Texas in 2020, according to Bankrate’s ranking of cities throughout the entire state based on six key areas of measurement.

To take first place, Austin beat out several other cities in categories including cost of living, job market and culture.

In total, our list includes some of the most populous cities spread throughout the state, but all of them differ quite a bit in culture. In this state, you can find everything from the coastal lifestyle to big-city living.

If you’re looking for somewhere to settle in Texas, use this list to start your search.

What to consider in a best place to live

There are a lot of factors to consider when deciding on a new place to call home. Things like proximity to family and friends, the quality of nearby schools and the type of leisure activities available can all influence your final decision. But there are also some common objective themes that play a part.

To put together our list of the best places to move to in Texas, we considered six different factors in some of the most populous cities in the state. First we looked at housing affordability and overall cost of living. Then we ranked each city by culture, job market, safety and educational attainment. We also considered the speed at which a city is growing (its net migration) and linked higher growth with more desirability.

Here’s how we measured each factor based on a one to 10 scale, with 10 being the best:

Affordability: We took overall cost of living into consideration, including things like housing expenses, food, childcare, transportation, health care and other necessities. Then we gave each city an affordability score relative to its median income per individual.

Culture: The well-being of each city was ranked using data from Gallup. We also considered opportunities for nightlife, events and activities.

Job market: Using Census Bureau data, we measured unemployment rates and average commute times. We also factored the number of major employers in an area into its final rank.

Safety: Violent crime and property crime rates were measured using data from the FBI.

Educational attainment: We used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to get a sense of each city’s level of education.

It’s important to keep in mind that there may be smaller areas in and around these larger metros that are more desirable places to live. But this list can serve as a good starting point.

Here are the top places to live in Texas in 2020:

1. Austin

  • Affordability: 8 out of 10
  • Culture: 10 out of 10
  • Safety: 7 out of 10
  • Job Market: 9 out of 10
  • Education: 9 out of 10

Biggest advantage: Culture

Biggest limitation: Safety

Austin is the hot spot in Texas right now. This fast-growing city is attracting new residents with its phenomenal culture and relatively low cost of living. Home to major festivals like South by Southwest, the city has no shortage of activities for locals. And the job market is solid, too. Major employers in the area include Apple, Dell and IBM. Plus, the population is highly educated, with a student body enrollment of 51,000 at The University of Texas at Austin. Notably, Austin isn’t just one of the best places to live in Texas — it also made Bankrate’s broader list of America’s best places to live in 2020.

2. San Antonio

  • Affordability: 7 out of 10
  • Culture: 9 out of 10
  • Safety: 6 out of 10
  • Job Market: 7 out of 10
  • Education: 5 out of 10

Biggest advantage: Culture/Affordability

Biggest limitation: Education

A low cost of living, well-established culture and growing job market are driving population growth in San Antonio. Though it’s one of the largest cities in the United States, San Antonio is still affordable, especially when compared to the amenities that it offers. In addition to being renowned as the location of the Alamo, its host to attractions like Six Flags Fiesta Texas and SeaWorld San Antonio. It also has more than 50 major events per year. Locals can also enjoy a variety of restaurants, museums and sporting events. It’s a heavy military region, so Lackland Air Force Base and Fort Sam Houston are large employers in the area. However, you can also find other major employers including USAA, Methodist Healthcare System and Toyota.

3. Corpus Christi

  • Affordability: 8 out of 10
  • Culture: 7 out of 10
  • Safety: 4 out of 10
  • Job Market: 7 out of 10
  • Education: 2 out of 10

Biggest advantage: Affordability/Culture

Biggest limitation: Education

Corpus Christi offers high affordability and a culture that calls to those who enjoy spending time outside. Indeed, since it sits on Corpus Christi Bay, locals enjoy a thriving outdoorsy lifestyle, with easy access to beaches and watersports like kayaking, sailing and kitesurfing. But there’s also a local art and food scene. The job market isn’t quite as strong as other cities on our list, but it still has a relatively low unemployment rate. And it’s also the location of big employers like the Naval Air Station and CHRISTUS Spohn Health Systems.

4. El Paso

  • Affordability: 6 out of 10
  • Culture: 9 out of 10
  • Safety: 8 out of 10
  • Job Market: 4 out of 10
  • Education: 4 out of 10

Biggest advantage: Culture

Biggest limitation: Job market/Education

Extremely high well-being among residents make El Paso one of the best places to live in Texas. According to Gallup, the city has a strong sense of purpose, social support, community and health. That’s at least partially due to El Paso’s abundance of recreational and cultural opportunities. There are a number of annual festivals and other attractions that bring the community together. And nearby outdoor areas like White Sands National Monument and the Big Bend region offer plenty of opportunity for recreation. In addition to its culture, it’s also fairly safe and boasts some of the lowest housing prices among major cities in the state.

5. Houston

  • Affordability: 6 out of 10
  • Culture: 7 out of 10
  • Safety: 3 out of 10
  • Job Market: 8 out of 10
  • Education: 7 out of 10

Biggest advantage: Job market/Culture

Biggest limitation: Safety

Houston is home to more than two dozen Fortune 500 companies, making for a strong job market. Despite its higher-than-average unemployment rate, there’s ample opportunity for job seekers, especially in the energy industry. Of course, it’s not just the job market that’s driving growth in Houston. Less of residents’ monthly paycheck goes to cost of living expenses than other major cities, and there’s plenty of amenities available as well. Major league sports, live music and a range of other events keep locals on the go and satisfied with their community.

6. Dallas-Fort Worth

  • Affordability: 3 out of 10
  • Culture: 9 out of 10
  • Safety: 5 out of 10
  • Job Market: 8 out of 10
  • Education: 8 out of 10

Biggest advantage: Culture/Job market

Biggest limitation: Affordability

The Dallas-Fort Worth metro area’s mix of cultural offerings make it an attractive place to live. It has the amenities of a big city — professional sports, nightlife, shopping and major attractions — while providing the opportunity to experience country culture and live the suburban life. There’s also a great job market — job seekers can find major employers like American Airlines, Bank of America, AT&T and Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. And as the location of The University of Texas at Dallas, it’s one of the most educated cities in the state. Cost of living expenses are higher-than-average, but so is the city’s median salary.

Next steps

This list is just a jumping off point for finding the best place to live for your needs. But once you find a place to put down roots, you may want to purchase a home. Keep in mind that not only have mortgage rates seldom been lower than they are currently, lenders have loosened their requirements for getting a home loan. You can also find state and local programs that help first-time homebuyers get a place of their own with little or even no money down. Bankrate has resources to help with every step of the homebuying process.

See Bankrate’s list of best places to live in the U.S.