Houston and Dallas are two of the most popular options people consider when moving to Texas, but is Houston better than Dallas?
Houston gives a cozier small-town aura and is easier to put up with. On the other hand, Dallas has a big city lifestyle that opens doors for opportunities and many experiences.
Houston vs. Dallas: Which City Is Better?
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder so that you might find Houston a better option for its coziness, ease of navigation, and more tolerable heat. On the other hand, you might prefer Dallas for its lower humidity level and diverse entertainment options.
To decide which city is the best for you, we have to break down every little aspect and see where Houston comes on top. Let’s start with a general comparison before we dig deeper into the core differences between the two Texan cities.
|Area||640.44 mi² (Largest in Texas)||339.58 mi² (3rd largest in Texas)|
|Population||2.288 million (2021)||1.288 million (2021)|
|Average Temperatures||64°F to 95°F||58°F to 97°F|
|Average Humidity Level||75%||66%|
Now that we’ve gone through the differences quickly, let’s look at one of the most important aspects of a city: its climate. Both Houston and Dallas have humid subtropical climates. However, Houston is more humid, with a whopping 77% average for September and 73% for March.
Houston’s coldest is in January as the temperatures fall around 64°F. On the other hand, the warmest is in August, when the temperature hits 95°F.
On the other end, the warmest average temperature in Dallas is around 97°F. Its humidity levels are the highest in May when they reach 70%. That’s almost the same as Houston’s lowest.
Winner: Depends on whether you’d rather tolerate heat or humidity.
Cost of Living
If you’re looking for the most budget-friendly place to live, you’d probably prefer Houston, as it’s 5.8% more affordable than Dallas.
To start with, the housing in Dallas is 18.2% pricier than it is in Houston. Plus, healthcare expenses are around 3.2% higher in Dallas.
Perhaps the only thing that costs more in Houston than it does in Dallas is transportation. This brings us to the next aspect.
Traffic and Transportation
Since both cities are big ones, they both have plenty of traffic. There’s a difference in navigating the two cities, though. Houston is pretty straightforward; you’ll either move east-west or north-south.
With that in mind, there aren’t many secondary route options, which forces everyone to use the same route, causing extreme traffic. On the other end, Dallas has plenty of streets and freeways that go every way. This leaves you with plenty of secondary routes.
However, you’ll have to put some effort into navigation by memorizing all the routes and choosing the best. It also means there won’t be as much congestion in traffic as people can take different paths to get to the same destination.
Winner: Depends on whether you can tolerate traffic or complex road navigation.
Income and Economy
Dallas’ income and economy seem a bit better, with a median household income of $54,747. Meanwhile, Houston has a household income of $53,600. Sure, Dallas is a more expensive place overall. Yet, the poverty rates in Houston are higher at 19.6% compared to only 18.1% in Dallas.
Some might even say that Houston’s economy depends on the energy sector. In other words, you’ll only be doing well if the oil and gas sectors are on the rise.
On the other hand, Dallas has a diversified economy, which enables it to withstand fluctuations and creates new jobs and opportunities.
Think of the difference between Paris and Eindhoven. The former is a big city with many lights, well-dressed people, and a grand lifestyle.
On the other hand, the latter is a small town where you can cycle everywhere, and everyone knows each other. You can apply the same to Houston and Dallas, where Dallas would be Paris and Houston would be Eindhoven.
Winner: Depends on whether you prefer a luxurious lifestyle or a cozy place to live.
In Houston, the violent crime rate is 12.8. Meanwhile, the same rate is 8.8 in Dallas, compared to the 22.7 national average. Property crime is at 43 in Houston and 36.5 in Dallas, compared to the 35 national average.
So, we can conclude that both cities are a bit less safe than others in the US due to the higher property crime rates. That said, Dallas is still slightly safer than Houston.
Houston has plenty of artists. So, you’ll find plenty of colorful murals everywhere. The city has the NASA Johnson Space Center and a Museum of Fine Art. The Museum district also houses the Houston Museum of Natural Science and Contemporary Art Museum.
As for Dallas, you can enjoy the Farmers Market on weekends, which serves some of the most excellent snacks, coffee, and lunches.
You can also mount the Reunion Tower to get a 360-degree view of the skyline. If that’s not your tea, check out the State Fair’s Oktoberfest and events like BMX contests.
Winner: Depends on whether you prefer art and culture or thrills and big events.
Houston vs. Dallas: FAQs
Are the people in Houston friendly?
Yes, Houston is known for its friendly locals. It ranks as the second most friendly city in America. So, you can expect a warm vibe that makes it easy to make new friends.
Are the people in Dallas friendly?
Compared to other places like Houston and Fort Worth, Dallas doesn’t rank as high on the list of friendly Texan cities.
- income and economy: census.gov
- crime rate: neighborhoodscout.com
- second most friendly city: houston.culturemap.com