From the Gulf Coast to the Panhandle, there are plenty of places to choose from when building a new home in Texas. There’s something for everyone in the Lone Star State. Want to relax in the water with friends and family? We recommend floating the Comal or Guadalupe Rivers. Military history buffs in the family? Point them toward The Alamo or the U.S.S. Lexington. And if you’re looking for a quiet spot to live off the grid, well, Texas has plenty of land available.
With so many options it can feel overwhelming to decide where to buy your new home. To help, here at the 10 best places to live in Texas:
1. San Angelo, Texas
Housing cost to income ratio: 2.18%
Average childcare cost to income ratio: 0.94%
Violent crime index: 21.3
Nonviolent crime index: 58.9
Cost of living index: 81.6
San Angelo, Texas is an oasis in the drylands of West Texas. Any of San Angelo’s 250 sunny days can be spent floating the Concho River, or fishing and boating on any of the three surrounding lakes. The climate allows for ample outdoor exploring year-round, with only 23 inches of rain and 1 inch of snow per year. The city is moderately conservative politically but prides itself on the friendly and diverse atmosphere in its neighborhoods. This welcoming energy is what makes San Angelo one of the best cities for entrepreneurs and business owners to launch their companies. San Angelo has six hospitals, making it senior-friendly, along with five school districts with schools that range from preschools to charter high schools. Further, it offers many colleges and universities, making it accessible for families of all ages. San Angelo also provides public transportation that makes stops citywide, including in suburbs like Riverside, Lake View, and PaulAnn.
2. El Paso, Texas
Housing cost to income ratio: 2.53%
Average childcare cost to income ratio: 1.21%
Violent crime index: 22.1
Nonviolent crime index: 30.6
Cost of living index: 81.4
Sharing a border with Mexico, El Paso is one of the largest majority Hispanic cities in the United States. Known as Sun City, it is sure to give outdoor lovers the perfect conditions for any activity; it is saturated with 297 sunny days annually, and only receives 10 inches of rain and three inches of snow. If you are looking for an escape from the heat, stop in at one of the 12 branches of the El Paso Public Library whose service crosses the borders of New Mexico and Mexico. El Paso has 27 hospitals and 15 school districts, making it accessible for all families. El Paso’s politics are moderately liberal, and its residents are always welcoming to newcomers. Anywhere you choose to live, El Paso residents will make you feel at home. If you don’t know where to start, check out suburbs like San Ysidro, Mesila, and Las Cruces.
3. Abilene, Texas
Housing cost to income ratio: 2.91%
Average childcare cost to income ratio: 1.34%
Violent crime index: 28.7
Nonviolent crime index: 57.4
Cost of living index: 79.3
Abilene is the Storybook Capital of America! The large collection of storybook sculptures adds to Abilene’s charming atmosphere and brings people from all over the country to visit. Along with the whimsical attractions, Abilene is also ranked in the top 10 cities for remote workers. It is also known for its short commute times. Residents in Abilene spend about eight minutes less on their daily commute than the average American. With this extra time, you may find yourself looking for something to do. Luckily, Abilene has plenty of activities like hunting, fishing, museums, and sporting events to keep you entertained. And with yearly averages of 243 sunny days, 26 inches of rain, and a mere three inches of snow, you won’t need to worry about Mother Nature interfering. There are six school districts in the Abilene area, so families have a variety of options for education. Residents in suburbs like Lytle Area, Chimney Rock Area, and River Oaks are what uphold Abilene’s friendly and welcoming reputation.
4. Wichita Falls, Texas
Housing cost to income ratio: 3.05%
Average childcare cost to income ratio: 1.31%
Violent crime index: 27.1
Nonviolent crime index: 53.2
Cost of living index: 74.5
Conveniently located between two major metropolitan areas, Dallas-Fort Worth and Oklahoma City, Wichita Falls is a family-oriented, close-knit community that is perfect for anyone moving to Texas. Wichita Falls has accessible education for all ages; it offers four school districts with private and public schools and two college campuses. Nine hospitals serve the residents of the city. The weather in Wichita Falls averages two inches of snow, 31 inches of rain, and 240 sunny days per year. The residents take full advantage of the hot summers by hosting the Hotter’N Hell Hundred bike ride every August that draws around 13,000 cyclists. The ride embraces the heat and Wichita Falls’ Bronze Level bicycle-friendly status. The residents in Wichita Falls are politically very conservative and maintain a comfortable and pleasant community atmosphere.
5. Corpus Christi, Texas
Housing cost to income ratio: 3.09%
Average childcare cost to income ratio: 1.21%
Violent crime index: 35
Nonviolent crime index: 56
Cost of living index: 83.1
If you love the beach, Corpus Christi is the place for you! This Southern coastal city is laced with beaches, bays, and rivers that are sure to satisfy all your outdoor wants and needs. Corpus Christi receives about 33 inches of rain, zero inches of snow, and has 223 sunny days per year, meaning this Sparkling City by the Sea is always open for activities like fishing, boating, surfing, or just enjoying the sandy beaches. Corpus Christi and its surrounding suburbs like Portland, Rockport, and Bishop are quickly expanding, and the liberal-leaning political scene makes the community welcoming and accepting to all new residents and visitors. Families moving to Corpus will find five school districts that service the city and two colleges, allowing for many educational opportunities. There are also 15 hospitals in the area.
6. Texarkana, Texas
Housing cost to income ratio: 2.83%
Average childcare cost to income ratio: 1.27%
Violent crime index: 46.4
Nonviolent crime index: 75.9
Cost of living index: 76.8
Texarkana is a unique city located in both Texas and Arkansas! This twin city straddles the border between the two states and fully embraces the unusual situation with entertaining landmarks like a city hall that is split down the middle. Suburbs like Red Lick, Wamba, and Texarkana North populate this Texas city. This somewhat conservative city values its residents and is proud of its friendly atmosphere. Families have access to any of the 12 hospitals in the area and a variety of school districts. Texarkana averages about 2 inches of snow, 51 inches of rain, and 213 sunny days per year. With weather like this, it is easy to find yourself enjoying the public parks, walking the trails, or fishing in the public lakes.
7. Laredo, Texas
Housing cost to income ratio: 2.90%
Average childcare cost to income ratio: 1.24%
Violent crime index: 26.2
Nonviolent crime index: 48.7
Cost of living index: 84
Laredo is located at the southern border of Texas on the bank of the Rio Grande. This border town averages 21 inches of rain, zero inches of snow, and 220 sunny days per year. During those sunny days, residents take their families to one of the local pools or splash parks to beat the heat. Or they may spend the day fishing in one of the many lakes and rivers that wrap around the city. Laredo also welcomes all members of the bird-watching community to their trails to observe the hundreds of species that call it home. It also hosts the Laredo Birding Festival every year to highlight the rivers, trails, and ranches that attract these birds. Laredo’s moderately liberal political climate keeps the community close-knit and friendly. Neighborhoods like San Isidro, Del Mar Hills, and La Bota Ranch are all buzzing with Texas small-town charm.
8. Victoria, Texas
Housing cost to income ratio: 3.02%
Average childcare cost to income ratio: 1.20%
Violent crime index: 21.4
Nonviolent crime index: 50.6
Cost of living index: 85.4
Known as the Crossroads of South Texas, Victoria is located at the intersection of three major highways giving easy access to other Texas cities with just a short drive. The strongly conservative city promotes a diverse and welcoming community. Victoria’s two school districts provide education for students from elementary to high schools. After graduation, they may want to attend one of the two local colleges. Residents will feel secure knowing there are 10 hospitals that service the area. Victoria gets about 41 inches of rain, zero inches of snow, and 202 sunny days annually. This gives residents plenty of opportunities to visit Coleto Creek Reservoir & Park for fishing, camping, and a refreshing swim. Or they may want to explore Texas history by visiting the Fannin Battleground State Historic Site or the Presidio La Bahia. Victoria prides itself on being at the forefront of new businesses and technology; its manufacturing and chemical plants attract new residents and their high-speed fiber optics are making work and play a little easier for everyone.
9. Killeen, Texas
Housing cost to income ratio: 3.05%
Average childcare cost to income ratio: 1.57%
Violent crime index: 30.8
Nonviolent crime index: 44.4
Cost of living index: 78.5
Located in Central Texas, Killeen is a family-friendly city that is geared toward being accessible and welcoming for families young and old. The proximity to the Fort Hood military base brings in new residents and provides many job opportunities. This city is liberal leaning when it comes to politics and has a diverse community of people displaying a small Texas town’s big heart. Young families with children will be happy to find four school districts with a total of 66 schools to choose from, and anyone looking to continue their education will find two colleges in the area. On average, Killeen has 33 inches of rain, zero inches of snow, and 229 sunny days per year. The city offers many activities for kids and adults to enjoy during those good weather days like art centers, libraries, public parks, and splash pads.
10. Sherman-Denison, Texas
Housing cost to income ratio: 3.76%
Average childcare cost to income ratio: 1.43%
Violent crime index: 20.9
Nonviolent crime index: 44.5
Cost of living index: 80.3
The Sherman-Denison metropolitan area, located just north of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, is growing rapidly. This metropolitan area is known for its vibrant manufacturing industry and is an ideal place for businesses to grow and expand. Residents can expect an average of 42 inches of rain, one inch of snow, and 227 sunny days. There are 13 school districts and two colleges that service the Sherman-Denison area, so you are sure to find the school that is right for you. Families can rest easy knowing there are five hospitals within the two major cities. The convenient location of this metropolitan area gives all the adjacent cities, like Southmayd, Sherman North, and Knollwood, the ability to retain their small-town charm but still have the amenities and perks of big cities within reach.
This list was compiled using statistics for cost of living, average housing costs, average childcare costs, and crime indices.
Jessi Gonzalez writes on the topics of home-buying, home decor, and home-ownership for New Home Source. She has a degree from Coastal Bend College and is currently enrolled in the English degree program at Texas A&M Corpus Christi.