Texas has always had a reputation as being an affordable state. However, it’s been in the news lately as being a low-cost destination for those fleeing from more expensive states, like California, as high interest rates and inflation have tightened the budgets of even high earners.
But in addition to having no state tax and generally lower costs, many cities in Texas actually pay relatively high wages as well. This can translate to a huge boost in lifestyle for those moving from higher-cost states.
To gauge just how affordable certain cities in Texas really are, GOBankingRates sourced, compared and sorted data from the U.S. Census American Consumer Survey, Sperling’s BestPlaces, the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Survey and the U.S. Census National QuickFacts for cities with more than 2,500 people. Here are the results, ranked in reverse order.
- Median household income: $74,745
- Average annual expenditure cost: $19,783.74
Nederland has quite a low relative income that is just a few thousand dollars above the national average, which helps keep it down in the rankings. But it still cracks the top 15 due to its very low cost of living. Nederland is located in the Golden Triangle region of southeast Texas.
- Median household income: $159,164
- Average annual expenditure cost: $21,925.56
The aptly named Prosper is a well-known suburb of Dallas and is a great place to earn a high income while spending little on typical expenditures. Incomes are more than $90,000 above the national average.
13. Port Neches
- Median household income: $78,467
- Average annual expenditure cost: $19,705.78
Although the median household income in Port Neches isn’t particularly high, it still offers tremendous value in terms of quality of life thanks to its low expenses. Thanks to the needs of the U.S. government during World War II, Port Neches now boasts one of the largest synthetic rubber plants in the world.
- Median household income: $177,875
- Average annual expenditure cost: $22,238.13
Lantana residents enjoy a huge median household income that is more than $108,000 above the national average. The small suburb of Dallas comes with highly rated public schools situated amidst a rural setting.
- Median household income: $72,395
- Average annual expenditure cost: $19,511.76
Hewitt has the lowest median household income on this entire list, coming in at just $3,374 above the average national income. But expenses are so low in this town south of Waco — which Money Magazine once called one of the top 50 places to live in the United States — that it still remains a tremendous value.
10. Scenic Oaks
- Median household income: $149,872
- Average annual expenditure cost: $21,431.14
The descriptively named Scenic Oaks is a small suburb of San Antonio with a population of just 9,136. According to Niche, the rural-feeling town is one of the best places to live in Texas, with above-average schools.
9. Lake Jackson
- Median household income: $86,782
- Average annual expenditure cost: $19,669.31
Lake Jackson’s median household income isn’t quite in the six digits, but it’s still 25% above the national average. But combined with average annual costs below $20,000 per year, Lake Jackson residents enjoy a big gap between income and expenses.
- Median household income: $87,282
- Average annual expenditure cost: $19,582.75
The median household income in Robinson is low compared to some high-income cities, but it’s still more than $18,000 above the national average. Total average expenditures are among the lowest in all of Texas, making the gap between income and expense quite sizable for the city’s residents.
7. Trophy Club
- Median household income: $170,679
- Average annual expenditure cost: $21,624.73
Trophy Club was the first master-planned community in Texas, with over 1,000 acres of parks, 36 holes of golf and a high standard of living. Incomes are quite high in the city of 14,000, at more than $100,000 above the national average.
6. Alamo Heights
- Median household income: $152,188
- Average annual expenditure cost: $21,107.12
Alamo Heights has a median household income 120% above the national average, making it easy for its residents to cover its below-average expenses. The city lies 4.5 miles north of downtown San Antonio and is actually completely surrounded by it.
- Median household income: $211,202
- Average annual expenditure cost: $22,566.41
Bellaire households enjoy a healthy income that’s $142,181 above the national average. That means the average Bellaire household earns 206% above the median across America, a healthy premium that leads to a good quality of life. The compact suburb of Houston is prized for its small-town spirit, shaded streets and beautiful homes.
- Median household income: $239,833
- Average annual expenditure cost: $23,067.70
Southlake’s median household income is an incredible $170,812 above the national average income, yet expenses still run relatively low on a national level. The wealthy community, a suburb of Dallas/Fort Worth, offers plenty of suburban amenities and is considered one of the safest places to live in the country, according to the Southlake Chamber of Commerce.
- Median household income: $105,483
- Average annual expenditure cost: $19,602.88
Woodway has a relatively low income to appear in the top 3 on this list, but its ranking is due in large part to its well below-average annual expense cost. The master planned community has a population of just 9,500 and a highly regarded school system.
2. Highland Park
- Median household income: $234,427
- Average annual expenditure cost: $22,411.93
Highland Park has one of the highest average incomes in all of Texas, and even across America, at 239.65% of the national average. Stealing its name from its hilltop location, Highland Park has been called the most desirable home base for those working in Dallas, thanks to its hedge-lined streets, quality schools and top-notch shopping.
1. University Park
- Median household income: $247,045
- Average annual expenditure cost: $22,501.41
University Park has by far the highest median household income of any city in the study, at a whopping $178,024 above the national average income. The wealthy residential community, located five miles north of Dallas, is the home of Southern Methodist University and the George W. Bush Presidential Center.
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Disclaimer: Images may not represent each exact location and may instead feature the nearest large city.
Methodology: To find Places to Live in Texas with High Salaries and a Low Cost of Living, GOBankingRates gathered a list of cities in Texas sourced from the US Census American Consumer Survey. The list of cities was filtered to only show cities with populations above 2,500 people. For each city GOBankingRates found;  the median household income sourced from the US Census American Consumer Survey,  Cost of living for Grocery,  Cost of Living for Healthcare,  Cost of Living for Utilities,  Cost of Living for Transportation,  Cost of Living for Miscellaneous, all sourced from Sperling’s BestPlaces. Using the annual average expenditure costs sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Survey, GOBankingRates multiplied these by each cities Cost of Living to find the total average expenditure cost in each city. The national median household income was sourced from the US Census National Quickfacts and compared with median household income for each city to find the difference. The difference in household income and the total cost of living values were scored and combined to show places in Texas that have a low cost of living as well as high salaries. All data is up-to-date as-of July 10th, 2023.