What You Need to Know About Living in Houston
Welcome to Houston! Here, southern hospitality meets a city of industry and one of the most diverse cities in the country.
Moving to Houston can be pretty overwhelming. After all, it’s the fourth most populous city in the United States and there are dozens of amazing neighborhoods to call home.
As long-time Houston residents with over 20 years of experience in the Houston rental market, we’ve learned a lot about our favorite city. Here’s everything you need to know about living in Houston!
Let's Start With the Basics
H-Town bound? Let’s get you caught up on the basic stats:
- City Population: 2,300,000
- Metro Population: 6,313,158
- Average Annual Salary: $59,575
- Median Home Price: $230,000
Who Lives in Houston?
The population of Houston is growing rapidly. So, who exactly is flocking to Houston?
- Young people: The median age here is 33 compared to 37 nationwide.
- Career seekers: With a healthy and diverse economy, many job seekers head to Houston for work.
- New immigrants: Houston is reported to be one of the most ethnically and racially diverse cities in the country.
Happy Houston residents praise their city’s affordable housing, job opportunities, and family-friendliness.
Cost of Living
Texas has a great reputation for low cost of living, and Houston is no exception. West coast transplants can’t get enough of Houston’s low housing costs. For being such a large city, the cost of living in Houston is very reasonable.
One big money-saving perk of Houston (and Texas in general) is that there’s no state income tax. However, higher property taxes and an 8.25% state sales tax can offset that savings.
The Houston Independent School District (HISD) is the largest school district in Texas. HISD consists of 283 schools and is the public district for almost all city residents. Houston also has plenty of private schools for K-12 students and their parents to choose from.
For higher education, the University of Houston is located within city limits. The large research university has 34,000 undergrads and 7,800 graduate students. Outside of UH, many medical students find themselves working at studying at the sprawling Texas Medical Center.
A healthy job market is largely driving Houston’s population growth. Houston has a variety of industries and, with loose zoning laws, you may find high-rise oil HQs right next to warehouse space or nail salons.
Some of the biggest industries in Houston are energy, finance, healthcare and biomedical, higher education, petrochemicals, and retail.
Nineteen Fortune 500 companies are headquartered in Houston. Some of the biggest employers in the city are:
- Memorial Hermann Health System
- The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
- Houston Methodist
- United Airlines
- Shell Oil
- Exxon Mobil
- UTMB Health
- Baker Hughes
It’s not just the major players here; small businesses are thriving in the Houston economy as well.
Houston is a very car-dependent city, and, unfortunately, it’s home to some pretty stressed-out commuters. If you can live near your office, you can save yourself a lot of time and hassle.
Houston is not currently very bike- or pedestrian-friendly. Walking and biking are more safely done on trails and not as a means of transit.
As for public transportation, Houston is a work in progress. There are city buses and a light rail system that connects downtown to midtown. The METRORail (light rail) system is about 22 miles long and operates seven days a week, but, if you’re coming from a large city with a more robust transit network, you’ll probably find that METRORail comes up short.
Even if you’ve heard that Houston is hot, you’ll probably still be surprised by your first summer in the city. Houston has long, hot, humid summers and mild winters. Summer electricity bills can ruin quite high, as air conditioning is an absolute necessity.
Snow is almost unheard of, but flooding from rain is a concern. Unlike North Texas, there are rarely tornadoes in Houston. There is a risk of hurricanes in the late summer and early fall, although the Houston city center is about 50 miles from the coast.
Things to Do
Folks in Houston don’t let the summer heat keep them from enjoying all that the city has to offer. With a bustling museum district, four professional major league sports teams, and plenty of parks and bayous to explore, you’re going to have a lot of fun exploring Houston.
Outdoor enthusiasts may find themselves at Memorial Park for a round of golf, biking the Buffalo Bayou trail, or even paddling toward the downtown skyline.
Houston’s museum district is home to not one, not two, but 19 museums that offer something for everyone. Of course, some of the city’s finest restaurants have also set up shop in the museum district, so you may as well make an evening of it.
Families love taking their kids out to enjoy all the Houston action. Your kids can spend the day at the zoo, cooling off at a splash pad, or enjoying a hotdog at an Astros game. If you’re looking for a daytrip, you can always head to Galveston for a day at the beach.
A city as culturally rich as Houston has a uniquely diverse selection of restaurants to try. Eating out and happy hour is a big deal here, so you’ll want to start discovering all of your new favorite neighborhood picks.
You’ll need to get familiar with Tex-Mex, fusion food trucks, authentic cuisine from every country in Asia, patio brunches, and, of course, barbecue. Since this is Texas, you can also expect to be treated to fine dining at world-class steakhouses.
Whether you’re moving to Houston for work, school, family, or a new opportunity, we hope that you absolutely love living here! Houston is a friendly city and a caring community, so don’t be shy about asking for help or advice.
If you need a place to stay while you search for your new home, let us help you find the perfect fully furnished corporate apartment.