Moving is never easy, and selecting a new home and evaluating potential cities can be a challenging, complex process. In this case, Dallas and Houston — two cities celebrated for their unique Texan allure — are no exception. Both cities are recognized America-wide for their distinctive appeal and offer prospects of a rich lifestyle replete with a blend of traditional Southern charm and modern urban amenities.

If you’re caught in the captivating dance between Houston and Dallas as your next home, you’re not alone. The good news? We’re here to make choosing a bit easier. In this article, we’ll examine critical factors, such as cost of living, job opportunities and commuting experiences, that significantly influence the residential experience.

Schools in Houston/Dallas

Relocating comes with considerations beyond economic opportunities and lifestyle, and for those with children, education is a priority. Luckily, Houston and Dallas have reputable schools and robust education systems. The average high school graduation rate in Texas is 90%, and both Houston and Dallas have schools that reflect this strong commitment to education.

Want to dive a bit deeper? Learn more about Houston Schools and Dallas Schools.

Houston Schools

When it comes to educational prowess, Houston holds a respectable position, ranking 88th according to a WalletHub’s study. Despite having an 85.2% graduation rate, which is slightly below the state average, the city offers distinguished schools that enrich its academic profile:

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  • River Oaks Elementary School

  • DeBakey High School for Health Professions

  • Carnegie Vanguard High School

  • Eastwood Academy

With over 40 colleges and universities in the area, students also have plenty of choices for higher education. You’re sure to find the right school for your child’s interests and goals if you move here.

Dallas Schools

With a 2022 graduation rate of 80.1%, the city takes pride in the many opportunities it offers its students. The Dallas ISD, for example, has made great strides in recent years, showcasing its dedication to providing a top-notch education. The U.S. News & World Report 2022 national rankings validate this commitment, with 38 of Dallas ISD’s high schools earning recognition and 11 ranking in the top 100 across Texas.

Although the city’s educational performance is pretty solid, it’s the individual schools that really elevate Dallas’s educational standing:

  • School for the Talented and Gifted (No. 1 in Texas, No. 8 nationally)

  • Judge Barefoot Sanders Law Magnet

  • Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School

  • Westlake Academy

Dallas also has numerous colleges and universities catering to diverse student interests, making it a hub of learning and growth.

Dallas Texas Skyline

Transportation in Dallas vs. Houston

Navigating the transportation scene of two buzzing Texas cities, Dallas and Houston reveal a comparative snapshot of daily commute experiences.

  • Traffic: Both face rush-hour peaks, with Houston slightly busier. Average commute times are nearly the same, with Dallas at 25.7 minutes and Houston at around 26.1 minutes.

  • Public Transportation:

In general, public transit in either city is relatively under-utilized. Car-centric transportation rules the day. If you’re living in downtown Houston or downtown Dallas, you may be able to make it without a car.

  • Airports:

    • Dallas: Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) International and Love Field for domestic flights.

    • Houston: George Bush Intercontinental and William P. Hobby Airport, both servicing international and domestic routes.

  • Bike/Pedestrian-Friendly: Both cities promote biking and walking through networks of trails, although car-centric areas are still prevalent.

In essence, Dallas and Houston offer similar transportation conveniences, with slight differences catering to various lifestyle needs.

Jobs/Economy in Dallas vs. Houston

With an unemployment rate of 3.8% and a respectable average annual income of $77,029, Dallas offers a promising playground for tech, finance and healthcare professionals, in Dallas as well as nearby Forth Worth and Arlington. Icons like AT&T and JP Morgan Chase call this city home.

Switch sides to Houston’s economy, which is known as the “Energy Capital” and is home to NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Unemployment stands at 4.5%, but the annual average income climbs to a solid $94,895, reflecting its high-earning energy sector.

Simply put, whether you’re tech-mad or energy-driven, Dallas and Houston’s job markets have you covered.

Entertainment in Dallas vs. Houston

Dallas and Houston are epicenters of diverse entertainment and tranquility, never failing to leave an impression. From the dynamic Uptown district in Dallas to the effervescent nightlife of Midtown Houston, both cities offer energetic moments for your social calendar.

Dallas charms with the vibrant music scene at House of Blues and culinary stops within the Bishop Arts District. The Galleria Dallas is one of the few malls you may actually still want to visit.

On the other hand, Houston strikes a chord with live performances at Miller Outdoor Theatre, accompanied by unique gastronomic delights around The Heights. Houston’s status as America’s fourth largest city, behind New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, means you’ll always find something to do.

With 50% of Dallas and 41% of Houston’s population being single, the dating sphere is buzzing with potential connections.

As far as cuisine, both cities have a thriving culinary scene. Dallas has world-class Vietnamese food, while both cities have amazing barbeque and Tex-mex/Mexican food.

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As far as live sports, it depends what you’re into. Houston Astros, or Dallas Cowboys?

Outdoors in Dallas vs. Houston

If the great outdoor beckons you, Dallas and Houston serve up the perfect blend of urban parks, green spaces and scenic getaways. Both cities connect you to nature effortlessly without missing a beat on modern urban life.

Dallas has lovely green spaces for those looking to soak up the Texas sun. Spend a leisurely day at Klyde Warren Park or venture to White Rock Lake Park, where you can picnic, bike and even sail. Longing for a more rugged landscape? For a simple suburban hike closer to home or perhaps a family camping trip, the Cedar Ridge Preserve is mere miles from the city center.

Houston’s pride lies in its expansive Buffalo Bayou Park, the epitome of a natural oasis in the city. Meander along peaceful trails, savor the view from the iconic blue lunar cycle installation or hop on a kayak to see Houston from a different perspective. Craving a beach escape? The picturesque shores of Galveston Island and the tranquil sands of Surfside Beach are within reach, just a short drive away.

Cost of Living in Dallas vs. Houston

In Houston, the overall cost of living index is at 96.5, making it an affordable choice when compared to other cities in the United States. Housing costs contribute significantly to this affordability, priced at nearly 20% below the national average. A closer look reveals a median home cost of $311,880.

Dallas shines with an overall cost of living index of 101.6, just 1.6 percent above the national average. For a burgeoning metropolitan area, this is truly outstanding. Looking into housing expenses, the median home cost is $264,540.

Given these stats, Dallas and Houston provide fairly affordable living options compared to other major cities. With Houston’s lower housing expenses and Dallas’ moderate overall index, individuals can find balanced living arrangements catering to diverse lifestyles and budgets.

Real estate costs in both cities are fairly comparable, with Dallas marginally more expensive than Houston. Zoning in Houston is notoriously lax, which is largely a good thing – robust home construction in Houston has helped keep housing costs low.

For general quality of life, it depends what you’re looking for. Dallas has better air quality,

Safety in Dallas vs. Houston

When it comes to safety, Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth, TX, have some work to do. In 2020, both areas had crime rates higher than the national average, painting a picture that isn’t all sunshine and roses. But numbers don’t tell the whole story.

Sure, the crime rate numbers — 625.4 for Houston and 366.5 per 100,000 for Dallas-Fort Worth — aren’t great. And yes, they’re higher than some similar-sized cities. But, community is key. Nearby Woodlands offers a great deal of safety if you’re looking to Houston.

There are neighborhoods in both cities that buck the trend and where folks look out for each other. Plus, falling crime rates in some parts show things can turn around.

UT Southwestern Medical Center is Dallas’s largest hospital, while the Houston Medical Center is one of the largest in the world.

Learn more about safety and crime in Dallas

Weather in Dallas vs. Houston

Both Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth, TX, experience a humid, subtropical climate. Summers are hot with high humidity, while winters are mild. Houston tends to be hotter, with summer temperatures often exceeding 90°F. In Dallas-Fort Worth, winter can bring occasional cold snaps.

As for natural disasters, Houston is susceptible to hurricanes and flooding due to its coastal location. While not coastal, Dallas-Fort Worth is located in the infamous “Tornado Alley” and experiences occasional severe storms, hail and tornadoes.

Planning to Move to Houston or Dallas? Let Bellhops Lend a Hand

While Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth each have unique lifestyles, weather and safety levels to consider, both are big cities that offer exciting opportunities. When deciding to relocate, having the right support is critical.

At Bellhops, our movers in Dallas and Houston movers are dedicated to providing stress-free local and long-distance moves in Dallas and Houston, including same-day moves all over Texas. Drop us a line, and let us help you transition smoothly into your new city.

We’re eager to show you why we’re the trusted partner for your moving needs in Dallas and Houston, no matter which city you pick.

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Harmon Suhorsky
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