The Best Places to Live in Texas

See how metro areas in the Lone Star State stack up.

By Devon Thorsby, Editor, Real Estate |Sept. 5, 2019, at 12:28 p.m.

The Best Places to Live in Texas


Which spots in Texas are the best?

Aerial drone view Austin Texas Perfect Texas flag flying in front of Austin Texas downtown skyline cityscape sunny perfect day

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Even if you know what part of the country you prefer to call home, you may still need a little help deciding which city or metro area to put down roots. When it comes to Texas, the largest state by area in the contiguous U.S., you've got plenty of options. Of the 125 most populous metro areas in the U.S., Texas is home to 10 of them. We've compiled the details from the Best Places to Live in the U.S. rankings – determined by factors such as the local job market, affordability, average commute time and desirability – to help you decide which major metro in the Lone Star State is best for you.

Updated on Sept. 5, 2019: This story was published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.

10. Brownsville

10. Brownsville

Brownsville is located at the southernmost tip of Texas, on the northern bank of the Rio Grande, directly north and across the border from Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico.

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Best Places to Live 2019 Rank: 116
Metro Population: 420,201
Median Home Value: $88,800*
Median Annual Salary: $35,240

This city on the southern tip of Texas borders Mexico and touches the Gulf of Mexico, making it a destination for many vacationers looking to enjoy the beaches of South Padre Island. However, with a declining population due to net migration, a median annual salary $15,000 below the national median of $50,620 and an unemployment rate of 6.2%, Brownsville finds itself at No. 116 out of 125 on the overall Best Places to Live list, making it the last of 10 places in Texas.

Learn more about Brownsville.

(*The median home price for Brownsville was not available, so median home value is listed.)

9. McAllen

9. McAllen

McAllen is the largest city in Hidalgo County, Texas, United States, and the twenty-second most populous city in Texas.

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Best Places to Live 2019 Rank: 112
Metro Population: 839,539
Median Home Value: $107,300*
Median Annual Salary: $36,380

McAllen may not be on the beach, but its location on the southern border of Texas with Mexico makes it a popular destination for many retirees embracing the snowbird life and moving south for winter. While McAllen struggles with high unemployment and a declining population like Brownsville, U.S. residents find it to be a more desirable place to live, according to a SurveyMonkey analysis of 2,000 people.

Learn more about McAllen.

(*The median home price for McAllen was not available, so median home value is listed.)

8. El Paso

8. El Paso

El Paso, Texas

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Best Places to Live 2019 Rank: 110
Metro Population: 838,527
Median Home Price: $151,300
Median Annual Salary: $38,610

On the other side of the side of the westernmost edge of Texas, El Paso ranks fifth out of the 125 most populous places in the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index released in 2018, the most recent version of the report that measures residents' satisfaction with their hometown, physical health and the area's economic stability. Despite that, a declining population due to net migration, low median annual salary and above-average unemployment rate (4.3%) contribute to El Paso's rank at No. 110 on the Best Places to Live list. Having decreased by 3.93% between 2013 and 2017 due to net migration, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, El Paso's population is the fastest declining out of the 125 places on the list.

Learn more about El Paso.

7. Beaumont

7. Beaumont

Beaumont is a city in and the county seat of Jefferson County, Texas in the United States, within the Beaumont–Port Arthur Metropolitan Statistical Area.

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Best Places to Live 2019 Rank: 108
Metro Population: 408,663
Median Home Value: $118,900*
Median Annual Salary: $47,900

Close to Louisiana, Beaumont takes the No. 108 spot on the overall Best Places to Live rankings. With a higher median annual salary than McAllen or Brownsville at $47,900, Beaumont residents have a lower cost of living – spending just 22.49% of their household income on a mortgage payment, rent and property taxes. Beaumont's population remained fairly flat between 2013 and 2017 due to net migration – seeing an increase of just 0.13%.

Learn more about Beaumont.

(*The median home price for Beaumont was not available, so median home value is listed.)

6. Corpus Christi

6. Corpus Christi

Corpus Christi is a coastal city in south Texas.


Best Places to Live 2019 Rank: 105
Metro Population: 450,183
Median Home Value: $149,700*
Median Annual Salary: $44,710

Home of one of the largest shipping ports in the U.S., Corpus Christi has seen small growth in population due to net migration – nearly 1.07% between 2013 and 2017, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Corpus Christi residents also have a short morning commute to work, with an average of just 20.2 minutes from door to door, making it the sixth-shortest commute out of the 125 most populous metro areas in the U.S.

Learn more about Corpus Christi.

(*The median home price for Corpus Christi was not available, so median home value is listed.)

5. Killeen

5. Killeen

Texas town

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Best Places to Live 2019 Rank: 101
Metro Population: 432,797
Median Home Price: $155,500
Median Annual Salary: $41,770

Home to the U.S. Army's Fort Hood military base, Killeen is a relatively affordable metro area, with residents spending just over 22.67% of the median annual household income on living expenses. The Killeen area also benefits from an unemployment rate of 4%, which is about the same as the national unemployment rate of 3.9%. Still, people are leaving the metro area – Killeen decreased in population by 0.64% due to net migration between 2013 and 2017.

Learn more about Killeen.

4. San Antonio

4. San Antonio

San Antonio, Texas, USA downtown cityscape.

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Best Places to Live 2019 Rank: 34
Metro Population: 2,377,507
Median Home Price: $211,800
Median Annual Salary: $46,200

Founded in 1718, San Antonio is the No. 4 best place to live in Texas. People are flocking to the city for its low cost of living and healthy job market, among other reasons. Between 2013 and 2017, the San Antonio metro area population grew by more than 6.6% due to net migration alone. San Antonio's unemployment rate of 3.3% is well below the national rate of 3.9%, which helps residents in this Texas metro area feel more secure in their jobs.

Learn more about San Antonio.

3. Houston

3. Houston

Houston, Texas, USA downtown park and skyline at twilight.

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Best Places to Live 2019 Rank: 30
Metro Population: 6,636,208
Median Home Price: $223,875
Median Annual Salary: $53,820

The second-largest metro area in Texas, Houston ranks No. 30 on the overall Best Places to Live list thanks in part to its rapid population growth due to net migration, relatively low cost of living and flourishing job market. Houston residents also make more money, with a median annual salary of $53,820, more than $3,000 above the national median of $50,620. However, the unemployment rate is above average at 4.3%. Houston area residents spend 22.6% of the area median household income on housing expenses.

Learn more about Houston.

2. Dallas-Fort Worth

2. Dallas-Fort Worth

Dallas, Texas, USA downtown city skyline.

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Best Places to Live 2019 Rank: 21
Metro Population: 7,104,415
Median Home Price: $248,375
Median Annual Salary: $51,250

With a slightly larger population than Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth also benefits from a high median annual salary, strong job market and relatively low cost of living. With a median home price of $248,375, homebuyers in the area should expect higher prices than many other parts of Texas and the rest of the U.S. The Dallas-Fort Worth area also ranks 26th out of the 125 most populous metro areas in the U.S. in the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index. The metro area is seeing steady population growth, having increased by 5.7% between 2013 and 2017 due to net migration.

Learn more about Dallas-Fort Worth.

1. Austin

1. Austin

Austin Texas Austin Texas golden sunset at pedestrian bridge urban modern skyline cityscape at Lady Bird Lake a perfect afternoon sunset in the capital city

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Best Places to Live 2019 Rank: 1
Metro Population: 2,000,590
Median Home Price: $292,500
Median Annual Salary: $51,840

It’s no surprise that the state's capital city takes the top spot in Texas and the overall Best Places to Live list. Austin has emerged as a major tech hub in the U.S. in recent years – a more affordable option for tech startups and major companies seeking an alternative to Silicon Valley. The rapid growth has increased the cost of living, however, as homebuyers compete with each other for pricier homes. Still, residents spend just over 23.4% of the median household income on living expenses.

Learn more about Austin.

The Best Places to Live in Texas include:

The Best Places to Live in Texas include:

USA, Florida, Stuart, Aerial view of suburbs

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  • Austin
  • Dallas-Fort Worth
  • Houston
  • San Antonio
  • Killeen
  • Corpus Christi
  • Beaumont
  • El Paso
  • McAllen
  • Brownsville

Read More

Devon Thorsby is the Real Estate editor at U.S. News & World Report, where she writes consumer-focused articles about the homebuying and selling process, home improvement, tenant rights and the state of the housing market.

She has appeared in media interviews across the U.S. including National Public Radio, WTOP (Washington, D.C.) and KOH (Reno, Nevada) and various print publications, as well as having served on panels discussing real estate development, city planning policy and homebuilding.

Previously, she served as a researcher of commercial real estate transactions and information, and is currently a member of the National Association of Real Estate Editors. Thorsby studied Political Science at the University of Michigan, where she also served as a news reporter and editor for the student newspaper The Michigan Daily. Follow her on Twitter or write to her at

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