What's it like to live in Houston, TX?


Christine Hall

Profile written by local expert:

Christine Hall

The Houston metro area attracts people with an entrepreneurial spirit and those who want to work at some of the country's largest companies. Not only is Houston the hub of the oil and gas industries, but it's also a major center of manufacturing and health care. The region has weathered the economic downturn better than similarly sized metro areas in terms of bouncing back from lost jobs. As the country recouped, Houston was able to gain all of its lost jobs back, and has gone on to add two jobs for every one lost.

A paycheck goes further in Houston than it does in other major metro areas, with affordable housing and free or cheap attractions like biking along Buffalo Bayou and exploring the 7,800-acre George Bush Park. The affordability of this region, which is located in southeastern Texas and home to more than 6.7 million residents in the metro area, is attracting new people from across the country and around the world.

In Houston, dining is a pastime, and the region pleases palates with more than 11,000 restaurants. Houston has everything from award-winning establishments like Underbelly to barbecue joints like Gatlin's BBQ. The metro area also offers a variety of international cuisine ranging from Ethiopian to Indian. 

Rankings

U.S. News analyzed 125 metro areas in the United States to find the best places to live based on quality of life and the job market in each metro area, as well as the value of living there and people's desire to live there.

Houston, Texas is ranked:

#26 in Best Places to Live

#26 in Best Places to Retire

6.9

Overall

Scorecard

Best Places to Live

  • Desirability
    6.1
  • Value
    7.1
  • Job Market
    6.6
  • Quality of Life
    6.9
  • Net Migration
    8.0

Read how we rank places

Houston, TX Quick Stats

  • 6,482,592

    Metro Population

  • $52,870

    Average Annual Salary

  • 78.9° / 61.5°

    Avg High/Low Temps

  • 33.9

    Median Age

  • $216,575

    Median Home Price

  • 54.7 inches

    AVG Annual Rainfall

  • 5.1%

    Unemployment Rate

  • $955

    Median Monthly Rent

  • 29.5 minutes

    Avg Commute Time

What's the cost of living in Houston, TX?

The median home sale price in Houston remains on the lower side compared to other similar metro areas, and the overall cost of living in Houston is lower than the national average, as well. 

Value Index

Index Score: 7.1 /10

How we calculate this.


Houston offers a better value than similarly sized metro areas when you compare housing costs to median household income.

Housing Costs this Year


Houston
$216,575

USA
$222,408

Housing Costs Over Time

Data sourced from Zillow median home sale price data series. Additional data provided by the Austin Board of Realtors, Houston Association of Realtors, Intermountain MLS, Omaha Area Board of Realtors, San Antonio Board of Realtors, and the Salt Lake Board of Realtors.

Buying or selling a home? Find top real estate agents in Houston, TX.

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What's the weather like in Houston, TX?

Houston typically has hot summers with high temperatures. Winters are much milder than in other parts of the country, making time spent outside much more enjoyable.

Seasonal Temperature (Avgs)

55.7°F


Winter

70.0°F


Spring

83.3°F


Summer

71.8°F


Fall

Seasonal Rainfall (Avgs)

4.0 in


Winter

4.8 in


Spring

7.1 in


Summer

6.0 in


Fall

Monthly High and Low Temperatures (°F)

Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center.

What's the best way to get around Houston, TX?

It's no secret that Houstonians love their cars, so most people living in surrounding areas like The Woodlands, Katy, Sugar Land and Pearland choose to make the sometimes congested commute into the region via car. The good news is that downtown usually has plenty of parking.

Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County operates a light-rail system within the urban areas, as well as Park N' Ride bus transportation to and from surrounding areas. METRO continues to add to its light-rail system.

There are two major airports: George Bush Intercontinental Airport, one of the country's busiest airports and international hubs; and the smaller William P. Hobby Airport, which is also now an international airport.

Commuting in Houston, TX

Means of Transportation
Driving
91%
Above national average

Bicycling
0%
Equal to national average

Walking
1%
Equal to national average

Public Transit
2%
Below national average
Average Commute Time

29.5 minutes

3.4 minutes more than national average

Average Commute Times by Zip Code

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

Who lives in Houston, TX?

The Bayou City is an international region, boasting one of the youngest, racially and ethnically diverse populations in the country. More than a quarter of the population is younger than 20 years old, and the metro area is home to the third-largest Hispanic and third-largest Mexican populations in the country. A little less than half of Houston's population is single. But there isn't a large population older than 65, which could have something to do with higher property taxes, which is a negative for retirees on a fixed income.

Houston's economy, continued job growth and affordable housing also lure people. And its cache of world-class attractions (such as the Johnson Space Center and the Children's Museum of Houston) makes it a good place to raise a family. 

The region is diverse both politically and culturally. Nearly half of residents speak a language other than English at home, and about 100 languages are spoken in area schools. Religion, especially Christianity, is big in Houston and the metro area contains several of the country's largest mega-churches.

Age Distribution

Marital Status Breakdown


About the same number of single people in Houston as national average

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

What is there to do in Houston, TX?

The Continental Club and Warehouse Live are just a couple of places that music buffs can jam out to live music. Sports fans have their pick of professional teams to root for, including the Houston Texans (NFL), the Houston Astros (MLB), the Houston Dynamos (MLS) and the Houston Rockets (NBA).

Houston has a vibrant shopping scene too. Popular spots include Green Street, Highland Village, Rice Village, the new River Oaks District and the Galleria.

Award-winning attractions like the Museum of Fine Art and the Houston Zoo attract lots of Houstonians week after week, as do family-friendly activities such as free concerts at the Miller Outdoor Theatre and Discovery Green. 

Find out more about what there is to see and do in Houston, TX