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Blog Sep 23, 2020

Cost of living in Texas

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Texas cost of living ranges amongst cities. There are cities within Texas whose cost of living is lower than the state average, while there those whose cost of living is higher than the state average. According to a survey that was done in 2019 by Kiplinger on “The Cheapest cities in the United States to live in” the top two cities, McAllen and Harlingen are found in Texas. Other Texas cities that were mentioned in that list of 25 cities include; Texarkana, Temple,  Amarillo, Sherman, and Wichita Falls. From the list, Texas was the highest represented state, which is a clear indicator that Texas is a relatively affordable state to live in.

But before we delve deep into the state of living in Texas, let’s first look at what the cost of living means.

The cost of living basically means the amount that you need to expend for you to attain a certain average level of living. To put it simply, the cost of living measures how much clothing, shelter, food, education, health care, and fuel you can buy with a unit of currency, in this case, $1.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) an organization that monitors the living wage calculation in different cities in the United States, defines the cost of living as an estimated income that is required to acquire a family’s basic needs.

How much money do you need to live comfortably in Texas?

To correctly answer this question, it is only right to first understand what comfortable living means. According to GOBankingRates, you can calculate the cost of living comfortably by using the 50/20/30 rule. Using this ratio, you need to need to allocate 50% of your earnings on necessities, 30% on entertainment and fun, and 20% on savings.

The amount of money you need to live comfortably in Texas, just like the cost of living, varies from city to city. According to a report by GOBankingRate, on the cost needed to live comfortably in the U.S 50 biggest cities, the amount of money you need to live comfortably in Austin if you are a homeowner is $98,007, and if you intend to rent a house, then need to earn not less than $94,455. The median income in Austin is $63, 717 which means, if you are earning an average wage in Austin, you will need to do more to live comfortably in Austin.

If you are a homeowner in Dallas, you will need $83,140 and for renters $87,964 for you to live comfortably. Generally, if you are a homeowner living in Texas you need to earn roughly around $80,000 to live comfortably in that state, on the other hand, if you are renting a house, you will need to earn not less than $85,000. From the GoBankingRate report, there is no major city in the Lone Star State with Median income that will afford you a comfortable life in Texas. So, if you are in that bracket, you have work to do to fully enjoy life in Texas.

Is it expensive to live in Texas?

Living in Texas is relatively cheaper compared to most states. Texans enjoy a remarkably low cost of living with most of their expenses (food, health insurance, entertainment) being much lower than most states. This is majorly due to the fact that both corporate and individual income taxes are not applicable in Texas. Moreover, Texans can easily afford to rent or own a house thanks to the moderate house prices whose average is significantly lower than the national average. For example, the median home price in Austin is $385,000. The city with the most affordable house prices in Texas is El Paso with a median home price of 0f $159,000 followed by Waco with median home price of $160,000.

To find out the exact cost of living in any city or town in Texas, you can use the cost of living calculator to get a rough estimate.

What is a livable wage in Texas?

According to MIT, the livable wage in Texas stands at $11.03 per hour. This is the bare minimum that is required to cover the cost of transport, housing, food, and other basic requirements. According to the Texas Family Budget Tool that was published by the Center for Public Policy Priorities (CPPP), argues that the livable wage is higher especially in major Texas metro areas. For instance, in the Austin Round Rock Metroplex, an adult needs to earn $13 an hour as a living wage. If financial assistance is needed there is the Texas Comprehensive Energy Assistance Program to help out with electric bills

Which city in Texas has the lowest cost of living?

When choosing a place to relocate to, one of the key things that you need to consider is the cost of living. Unfortunately, the U.S government does not publish the cost of living for different states. Nonetheless, there are some recognized independent organizations that usually report on the cost of living across the states. The cost of living index, published by the Council of Community and Economic Research is the one that is universally acknowledged as the standard benchmark.

Now, coming to the question, the city with the lowest cost of living in Texas according to Niche (an organization that conducts research on the best places to live), is Wichita Falls. The city has an estimated population of 104,194 people, and a median rent of $784. It’s median home value stands at $97,400. Forty-three percent of Wichita residents, rent their home, while the remaining 57%, owns their homes, Apart from Wichita, other cities in Texas with low cost of living include; Brownsville, Amarillo, Beaumont, McAllen, Fort Wayne, Abilene, Round Rock, Pearland, League City, and Garland.

Note that apart from the comparison of the cost of living index, there are also other factors that are taken into consideration when determining the city with the lowest cost of living. These include variables such as, whether the city is located in a rural, suburban, or in an urban location, as well as whether or not the city is located in a less popular locale or in a premium district.

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