The second-largest state with the biggest sense of pride, Texas is 261,232 square miles of Lone Star splendor. From quesadillas to cowboys and countryside, this Southern state with a Western heart is big on just about everything, from business to sports to outer space.
Texas is home to some of the nation’s most pioneering enterprises, including the one that landed us on the Moon. But the Lone Star State is also a place to have fun, whether you’re cheering for the Cowboys in Dallas, beachcombing on South Padre Island or rocking out at SXSW.
With an overall low cost of living (92.5) and a booming economy, it’s no surprise that Texas was one of the top states people have moved to in the past five years, according to the annual United Van Lines Annual Movers Study. An estimated 470,000 people moved to the state in the last year alone! If you are ready to call yourself a Texan, United Van Lines can help you with all the details of your move.
Advantages of Living in Texas
Home to more than 29 million people, Texas is one of the most populous states in the union. There are many benefits of being a resident of the state, including tax incentives, a strong job market and a low cost of living.
In sum, 13.7 million individuals make up Texas’ civilian labor force. Meanwhile, the current unemployment rate of 3.9% has been making a steady decline for the last six months.
Texas is home to a whopping 53 Fortune 500 companies — including Southwest, AT&T and Charles Schwab. What’s more, in the last seven years, 271 businesses announced their relocation to the state. Why? Well, one reason may be that there is no corporate income tax levied by the state, nor is there a state personal income tax, either. Suffice it to say, that can be attractive to those seeking a career change.
So where are these jobs, exactly? The state’s top industries include trade, energy and manufacturing. And, with NASA’s Johnson Space Center, the state’s aviation and aerospace industries have always been powerful forces. After all, “Houston,” was the first word spoken from the Moon.
These industries would be lost without a highly skilled workforce, though. Six of Texas’ universities are ranked in U.S. News & World Report’s top 100 list. Understandably, students all over the country vie for entry into the prestigious programs at Rice University and the University of Texas-Austin.
The cost of housing in the state is lower than regional rates, and it is rising quickly — particularly in already-expensive areas. The statewide median house value in 2022 was $345,000 — an increase of over 11% compared to the previous year. Median house values in ever-popular Austin are near $500,000, but El Paso’s median was only $240,450.
Weather in Texas
Because of its sheer size, Texas comprises some of the greatest geographic diversity of any U.S. state, encompassing tropical coastal areas, arid plains and rugged mountains in the west.
If one factor unites them all, it’s the heat. While the state has seen temperatures as low as -23°F , Texas is generally known for its hot, muggy summers and its cool winters. It is not unusual for temperatures to exceed 100 F in the summer. The eastern half of the state tends to be wetter than the western half, which contains high plain, mountain and desert environments.
Eastern Texas cities like Houston are at ever-increasing risk for hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico — no one will ever forget Hurricane Harvey. Hurricane season typically runs from June through November. Flash floods are another statewide hazard, spawned by monsoon rains and thunderstorms in the spring and summer. But Texas is also all too familiar with droughts — 2022 proved to be another dry year.
If you’re relocating to Texas, fall and winter are the coolest times to make your move.
Top Growing Cities in Texas
Despite the insinuation of the Texas moniker, the Lone Star State has seven geographic regions — from Big Bend Country to the Gulf Coast — each of which is distinct enough to easily be its own state. These regions vary topographically, economically and culturally, ensuring there’s much to explore in the cities and countryside within each of them.
Houston, Dallas and Austin
Houston is still the largest city in the state (pop. 2,228.250), but Dallas (pop. 1,288,45) and Austin (pop. 964,177) — the state capital — are nipping at its heels. Many other Texas cities have seen remarkable growth over the past decade. This trend has picked up over the last two years, especially.
San Antonio, better known as the Alamo City, has made substantial gains over the last 10 years, welcoming nearly 125,000 new residents to the town, which was first established as a Spanish mission in 1718.
The city is, of course, the site of the historic Battle of the Alamo in 1836, which established Tejas, or Texas, as a self-governing state. One other thing not to forget about the Alamo City is its cultural scene is second to none. There are lively and diverse neighborhoods throughout the downtown area. Plus, you’ll find museums, a river walk, boat tours, remarkable architecture and incredible restaurants at every turn.
Housing in San Antonio is far below the national average. The median home value is $167,700 and rent averages $1,090 per month. San Antonio is a military town and has one of the largest concentrations of military bases in the entire nation. In the private sector, the largest industries include healthcare and bioscience, aerospace, IT/cybersecurity and the new energy economy.
In north central Texas, the city of Fort Worth seems perpetually overshadowed by its eastern neighbor, but Forth Worthians are worth more than that. Just think of them as Dallas’ better half.
This historic Cowtown at the end of the Chisolm Trail is more Texas than Texas itself, but you’ll find its nearly 1,000,000 residents enjoy visiting more than just the rodeos and the National Cowgirl Museum. The Kimball Art Museum is a world-class institution, with an original building designed by groundbreaking architect Louis I. Kahn. Its newest addition was designed by acclaimed architect Renzo Piano.
Between 2010 and 2020, Fort Worth was the fastest-growing large city in America. In fact, it has grown by nearly 200,000 people in that time, making it the 13th-largest city in the country and one of the most diverse, as well. The cost of living in Fort Worth is below national levels. The median home value in Fort Worth is $212,300, with rent averaging $1,187. The biggest drivers in the Fort Worth economy are the oil and gas industry, manufacturing, aerospace and aviation. American Airlines is based here, too, as are BNSF Railway, Pier 1 and RadioShack.
Tucked into the southeastern coastline of the state is Corpus Christi, a charming coastal town of 317,773 that launched the famous Whataburger chain. In the last decade, this city has grown by over 12,000 people — it made United Van Line’s top 25 cities for inbound traffic in 2022.
Residents enjoy the bayside delights of the downtown marina, historic sites like the USS Lexington Museum and music festivals at the Concrete Street Amphitheater. With the nation’s third-largest port, and companies like Valero and CITGO, the city has a powerful industrial base. Additionally, Texas A&M’s Corpus Christi campus ensures a skilled workforce for diverse industries in the area. Housing in Corpus Christi is far more affordable than in most of the nation, with the median home value equaling $157,400 and rent averaging just under $1,100.
With a population of 102,988, Wichita Falls may be a small town by Texas city standards, but people are moving here in droves according to the latest United Van Lines National Movers Study.
Housing in Wichita Falls is far below national and state averages. The median home value is only $109,000 and rent averages $869 per month. Wichita Falls has a strong base of small businesses. It’s no wonder since its Chamber of Commerce has dedicated significant resources to attracting aerospace and aviation giants like Arconic to better compete with the larger metro areas around the state.
This family-friendly, culture-rich city northwest of Dallas is known, yes, for its waterfalls. However, it is also a cyclist’s paradise. Nationally known races, like the “Hotter ‘N Hell,” bring riders here from all corners. Wichita Falls is also surrounded by miles of mountain bike trails for all levels of riders.
Of course, foodies will delight in restaurants like Casa Manana, known for its “red taco.” However, you can also taste other Texas essentials like Dr. Pepper-braised pork. (Texans are obsessed with Dr. Pepper.)
Fun Things to Do in Texas
With 261,232 square miles of land, 191,000 miles of rivers and streams and 367 miles of coastline, it might be impossible to take in all that Texas has to offer in the great outdoors. The state is home to 17 lands managed by the National Park Service, from national parks to preserves and monuments. Then there are its over 100 state parks, all perfect places to start exploring.
Big Bend National Park, located in the far western reaches of the state, is a geological wonderland, home to bobcats, javelinas and black hawks, who make their home amongst the quaking aspens in the Chisos Mountains and the cacti along the Rio Grande. Delve deeper into Texas’ outdoor spaces in our National Parks of the Southwest guide.
Padre Island National Seashore is a coastal wilderness like no other. Situated just outside of Corpus Christi, the “Birdiest City in America” is a great place for ornithological enthusiasts to pad their brag lists with sightings of orange-crowned warblers, crested caracaras and ruddy turnstones. Camping is permitted on the beaches, and early birds can participate in sea turtle hatchling releases in the summer months, whenever the adorable little swimmers start to emerge from their sandy nests.
If your family is looking for even more interactive nature encounters, head to the Houston Interactive Aquarium & Animal Preserve, where you can feed sharks and stingrays, hold a python or hang out with a sloth!
Want to experience nature, history and contemporary culture all at once? Take your family to the San Antonio River Walk. With a Venice-like feel, the visionary design of these connected pathways and bridges through San Antonio’s welcoming downtown district will take you from museums to shops to restaurants. While you’re there, make sure to take the kids to the Do-Seum, a fabulous children’s museum with an outdoor play space and indoor exhibitions that cover everything from old-school hand tools to cyberspace.
Texas has one of the largest Hispanic and Latinx populations in the country. One of the best places to learn about this heritage is at Missions National Historical Park in San Antonio — the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in the state — where you can take a fascinating ranger-led tour of the historic compounds.
There are dozens of other incredible museums across the state of Texas, from the world-renowned Museum of Fine Arts in Houston to the Museum of South Texas History in Edinburg and the Judd Foundation in the tiny art haven of Marfa.
But, of course, there are also robust German, French and Asian communities in Texas. Houston’s Chinatown is a six-square-mile district of restaurants, shops and markets that was first established in the early 1980s. Outside of San Antonio, Castroville was settled by French migrants from the Alsace region. As such, you can see (and taste) the Alsatian influence everywhere you go, from the historic homes to the shops and restaurants.
But Texas is a place to explore more than just life on earth. The Space Center in Houston is an out-of-this-world learning center, where you can see historic artifacts from NASA and take VR and motion simulator rides, which seem powerfully real to the earthly body.
Texans are big on a lot of things, but none more so than sports. You’ll find pro soccer teams in Houston, Austin and Dallas, but Dallas is still decidedly American football country, as Cowboys fans can attest. Baseball fans in the northern half of the state root for the Rangers, and southern Texans have the Houston Astros. There are several pro basketball teams in Texas, too — the Spurs, the Wings, the Mavericks and the Rockets.
Texas cuisine has many influences, but it’s dominated by flavors from Mexico, as well as those of the American South and Southwest. You’ll find coal-fired steaks and tamales alongside flame-grilled oysters and Tex-Mex fajita burgers. Thanks to the state’s diverse population of immigrants, you can also find incredible food from all over the world here, from Asia to Africa.
Try the farm-to-wok Vietnamese specialties of Lúa Viet Kitchen or the tandoori delights of Mezban. Whatever you plan to dine on, you’d best leave your painted-on cowboy jeans at home — you’ll want plenty of breathing room to eat your way through the delicious offerings in this giant state.
Texas has led the pack in the recent craft distilling craze, thanks to the breakout vodka distiller Tito’s, which is based in Austin. However, you’ll also find great small-batch whiskey, gin and even rum from places like Balcones and Garrison Brothers.
Texas is certainly known for its barbecue, and we’d be hard-pressed to declare one city superior without starting a Texas-size brawl. Let’s just say that the Hill Country sure knows its way around a smoker. You’re in luck if you find yourself at Franklin Barbecue in Austin, topping off a pound of ribs with “Ruby’s Dang Pie,” a slice of pineapple-coconut bliss. Truth BBQ, a relative newcomer by pit-smoking standards, offers a Carolina whole hog special on Saturdays that is worth camping out for, especially with a side of its corn pudding.
Chili is a category all its own in Texas. To put a finer point on it, Texas is known for its three-ingredient “red chili” that leaves out the beans and the tomatoes you might find in other regions. For one of the oldest of the old-school recipes, order a bowl of Luther’s — a circa 1949 original. It’s cooked slow and low with lots of poblanos. Or make a pilgrimage to Tolbert’s Restaurant and Chili Parlor for its drool-worthy, tongue-singing “bowl of red.”
Cornbread, chili’s favorite sidekick, is another source of spirited competition in the Lone Star State — if you don’t bake yours in a well-seasoned cast iron skillet…well, then, we just don’t know.
Texas is a certifiable Mexican food haven, meaning you’ll count your blessings in bowls of queso and plates of enchiladas. You can’t turn around in the state without bumping into a taco stand or a casual, sit-down joint like Las Kekas in Laredo, the no-frills El Rinconcito Mexicano in San Benito or Las Guitarras Cocina Mexicana in Boerne, north of San Antonio. Upscale flavors and fancier digs can be found at Hugo’s in Houston, which serves braised suckling pig and sautéed grasshopper tacos. Then there’s Fonda San Miguel, which has a heavenly small bite called Angels on Horseback and also an incredible flan with almonds.
Prepare for Your Move to Texas
If you’re ready to move to Texas, United Van Lines can help. Get a moving quote today.
United Van Lines’ professional movers can help you move to Texas from anywhere in the United States. We offer full-service moving packages to help make your move to Texas hassle-free. We can manage your entire move for you, including packing and unpacking, car shipping, debris pick up, storage needs and more.
Moving cross-country to Texas? Our long-distance movers can help you relocate to Texas from anywhere in the country.
Whether you want us to handle everything or you want to move to Texas on your own, United Van Lines provides the services and resources you need to keep your move organized and on track.