The number of people moving from California to Texas grew 36% annually between 2016 and 2021. In 2021 alone, nearly 300 people moved from California to Texas every day, making it the most popular interstate move in the entire country.
What makes this such a popular move? There are a number of reasons why people choose to move from California to Texas, but the three most often mentioned are lower cost of living, better job opportunities, and a more buyer-friendly housing market.
Naturally, this brings up questions from people who are considering or planning a move to the Lone Star State. What’s it like living in Texas? What do I need to do to prepare for my move and settle into my new home state? What items should be on my moving to-do list?We’re here to help with answers to all these questions and more. In this article, we’ll outline everything you need to know about packing up, leaving California, and heading south to Texas.
Understanding the appeal of Texas
There’s a lot to love about living in Texas, but here are a few factors that are especially appealing to people coming from California:
- Lower cost of living. California is one of the most expensive states to live in, and Texas is more affordable in nearly every important category. On average, a single adult could live off $600 less per month in Texas in cities such as Dallas, Houston, and Fort Worth compared to what it typically costs to live in California.
- Absence of state income tax. Texas is one of nine states that does not charge its residents a state income tax. While many states with no state income tax charge larger sales taxes on purchases such as groceries and clothing, Texas’ average sales tax of 8.20% is much lower than California’s rate of 8.85%.
- Robust job market. Texas’ state unemployment rate of 4.1% is lower than California’s rate of 4.6%. In addition, Texas led the country in new nonfarm jobs in 2022, adding around 650,100 jobs over the course of the year. Many young professionals and inspiring entrepreneurs are moving to Texas to start their own businesses or take a job with a Fortune 500 company.
These are just a few things that make Texas stand out, especially for somebody who’s looking to move out of California. The diverse geography, the warm year-round weather, and the tremendous colleges and universities bring people to the Lone Star State. Texas is also home to several large metropolitan areas, which is what we’ll cover next.
Exploring different Texan cities
Although not as densely populated as California, Texas has several large cities. Each is unique in its own right, and we’ll take some time to introduce you to each one in the sections below as you think about what Texas city might be best for you.
The Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) metroplex is home to several beautiful outdoor areas, excellent public schools, and bustling downtown areas and shopping districts. Around 1.4 million people live in the city of Dallas itself, and this number doesn’t account for the population of the surrounding cities.
You’ll love the low crime rates and the reasonable cost of living. The average cost of rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Dallas is around $1,000 per month, and overall, living in Dallas is only 1% more expensive than the average national cost of living. This is especially surprising when you learn that Dallas has the third-highest salaries in the United States.
Some of the best areas to live in Dallas include University Park, Plano, and Frisco. If you prefer to live closer to Fort Worth, you might enjoy towns such as Keller and Burleson.
No matter where you end up, you’ll want to carve out some time to walk through the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden or look out over the city from the top of the Reunion Tower. If you’re a sports fan, you can also head out to Globe Life Field in Arlington to watch a Texas Rangers baseball game.
With around 960,000 residents, Austin is slightly smaller than Dallas. However, don’t be fooled—Austin still boasts plenty of exciting attractions and things to do. There’s always a concert to attend at one of the city’s historic live music venues, and you’ll never grow tired of eating breakfast tacos and Central Texas-style slow-cooked barbecue at iconic restaurants such as Franklin Barbecue and Terry Black’s BBQ.
Austin is also home to the University of Texas at Austin, which ranks as one of the 40 best universities in the entire world. More than 50,000 students attend one of the school’s 19 colleges and universities each year. The school also employs over 3,000 teaching faculty and countless other support staff. UT Austin plays a key role in the development of Texas’ future leaders while also supporting the growth and economy of the city of Austin.
Houston is the largest city in Texas and the fourth-most populated city in the entire country. At the same time, it’s still not as large as other big American cities like New York or Los Angeles.
Despite the city’s year-round warm weather, Houston residents typically spend less on their energy bills than the nationwide average, thanks partly to the state’s deregulated energy market. The population is also younger than average, and the booming job market ensures that you’ll have no trouble finding work to do.
You’ll never run out of things to do in Houston even if you have lived in the area for several decades. Visiting NASA’s Johnson Space Center never gets old. Neither does exploring the city’s thriving museum district that spans twelve blocks. You’ll also have plenty of opportunities to cheer on Major League Baseball’s Houston Astros or the National Basketball Association’s Houston Rockets. Did we mention you’re also only a half-hour’s drive away from the beach?
Travel one hour south of Austin or three hours west of Houston and you’ll arrive in San Antonio. San Antonio ranks as the seventh-most populated city in the country, but more people live in the metropolitan areas around Dallas and Houston.
This doesn’t make living in San Antonio any less appealing. For starters, San Antonio ranks as one of the greenest cities in the entire country. While living in San Antonio, you’ll come to appreciate the history of the Alamo, the bustling activity around the Riverwalk, and the thrills of Fiesta Texas and SeaWorld. You’ll also love cheering on the San Antonio Spurs, one of the most successful teams in NBA history, as they take on the NBA’s best at the AT&T Center.
Finally, you’ll do all of this while living in a city that ranks as the third-most affordable metropolitan area in the nation. Seems like quite the bargain to us.
Housing market and affordability
To accurately compare Texas’ cost of living with California’s, we must first understand what goes into determining the cost of living in a state. Cost of living includes the amount you need to attain a certain standard of living. This is often determined by using the 50/30/20 rule, where 50% of income is spent on necessities, 30% is put toward entertainment, and the last 20% goes into savings.
Based on this framework, the average cost of living in Austin is around $95,000, and the cost of living in Dallas is closer to $83,000. Both of these numbers assume you’re renting your home rather than owning it. If you choose to buy a house, our cost of living will go up between $4,000 and $5,000 yearly.
As you can imagine, housing costs are wildly different between California and Texas. In the Golden State, you’ll spend around $486 per square foot, or around $800,000 for a house. The numbers drop drastically in Texas, where the average resident spends closer to $420,000 on their home or $188 per square foot.
Keep in mind that the real estate market is always changing and evolving. Factors such as the national interest rate, supply and demand, and current investment potential can lead the market to favor buyers or sellers. That said, it’s safe to assume that homes in Texas will continue to be more affordable than similar homes in California for the foreseeable future.
In short, this could be a great time to shop for a home in Texas. Regardless of what specific area you’re looking to live in, there are homes available at good prices.
Employment opportunities and job market
We’ve already covered the positive state of the job market in Texas, and it’s easy to see why this is one of the main factors motivating people to move to the state.
Sectors such as tech and healthcare are two of the most popular industries in the state. In addition, the rise of remote work after the pandemic makes it easier for many people to bring their jobs with them when they move to Texas.
Lifestyle and cultural differences
Once you get your boots on the ground in Texas, you’ll quickly see how different Texas culture is from what you’re used to in California. You’ll also understand why we’re using a metaphor that includes boots.
There’s something special about the southern hospitality that Texas residents enjoy each day. Perhaps it’s true that everything—including the culture—is bigger and better in Texas.
Navigating utilities and services
Whether you move from California to Dallas, Houston, or Arlington, One of the first things you’ll have to do after moving to Texas is register for new utilities and services. Many new Texas residents are surprised to learn that Texas is a deregulated state, meaning Texans can choose what electric provider they want to use. Each company will provide different prices, package options, and levels of customer service.
There’s obviously debate about which provider is the best. However, we feel strongly that Payless Power will exceed your expectations and offer a tremendous experience. Payless Power is known for providing affordable and flexible solutions alongside outstanding customer service.
Payless Power provides a pay-as-you-go power service, which can save you an average of 27% on your monthly electric bill. Instead of receiving a bill at the end of every month, you’ll put deposits into your account at the beginning of the month to pay for the electricity you use. It’s similar to the process of filling your car up with gas—you can put in a little or a lot, but you don’t want to wait until the tank is empty.
Each day, you’ll receive a text or email (or both) telling you how much power you’ve used. This way, you’re always in the loop about how much you’re spending on electricity and how much money you have remaining in your account.
Practical aspects of moving
Obviously, choosing an electric company is just one aspect of preparing for a cross-country move. You might wonder what else you need to do to get ready.
For starters, you may want to work with a moving company that can load, unload, and transport your belongings. Depending on the company you choose, they may also help you with packing and unpacking. As you evaluate different companies, you’ll want to compare prices and determine what supplies and additional services each provider can offer.
You should also think about all the expenses that factor into the cost of moving. In addition to paying for a moving truck and any movers who will help you, you may also have travel expenses to account for, as well as any money you spend on a hotel or short-term rental while you shop for a home. Consider designing a budget ahead of time so you know how much money you’ll need to set aside for your move.
Settling in and adjusting
After you arrive in town, you’ll need to register your car and get a new driver’s license. In Texas, you must have a recent vehicle inspection to complete your registration. You’ll probably also want to set up a local bank account and figure out where the closest grocery stores, hospitals, and pharmacies are
You may also want to get to know your local community and your new neighbors. Apps like NextDoor are a great way to connect with people who live in your area. You might also research special interest groups based on activities you enjoy. Finding common ground around shared interests such as sports or crafts can be a great way to make new friends.
Looking ahead: Texas as the new home
As you can see, there are several reasons why the idea of moving to Texas from California is so appealing. You’ll likely enjoy a lower cost of living and plentiful job opportunities without sacrificing pleasant temperatures or plenty of activities to enjoy.
Of course, there are a few challenges to consider in addition to all the benefits of moving. In addition to all the work that moving entails, you won’t leave the traffic behind in California when you come to Texas. You’ll also have to deal with higher-than-average property taxes. That said, most Texas residents find that the advantages outweigh any potential downsides.
Find reliable, affordable power for your new Texas home with Payless Power
You’ll always have good memories of Silicon Valley and Hollywood, but there is a great opportunity waiting for you in the Lone Star State. Once you arrive, you’ll see why many Californians have gone ahead of you. Texas can’t wait to welcome you in as a new resident.
Whether you’re new in town or a lifelong Texan, Payless Power is a great choice for your next energy provider. We serve communities throughout the state of Texas, and we offer fantastic benefits such as instant approval without a deposit and daily usage alerts via text and email. Sign up today.