Living in California vs Texas: Pros and Cons

It’s hard to choose between California and Texas, given their fantastic weather, beautiful scenery, and plenty of great things to do. Deciding which is better ultimately comes down to a personal choice.

Before deciding, consider factors like cost of living, housing, and taxes, among others. Also weigh the pros and cons, and finally, come to a decision.

Comparing states can provide a good, general outlook on them, but you may also want to dive deeper and compare cities, such as Houston and Los Angeles. This will give you more of an insight into what you may be looking for.

So, which is better between living in California vs Texas?

Here are 10 quick points comparing Texas and California:

  1. California’s weather is hard to beat.
  2. The cost of living in Texas is less than in California.
  3. California has lots of scenic destinations.
  4. It is easier to find housing in Texas.
  5. Health insurance is less in Texas.
  6. Prestigious universities like Stanford and Caltech are in California.
  7. Texas has a lower tax burden.
  8. California ranks 5th largest global economy with its GDP almost double of Texas.
  9. Texas is friendlier to entrepreneurial startups.
  10. There is less traffic in Texas.

This article will guide you through comparing California vs Texas relative to your priorities, lifestyle, and other preference.

Living in California vs Texas

Both states have different perks. However, you’d find that after tallying crucial elements that make up, say, the average cost of living in California, they may either outweigh or have lesser merit compared to the benefits of living in Texas. Below are individualized uptakes of choosing between California vs Texas.

Why You Want to Live in California Over Texas

California City Skyline


California’s weather is hard to beat because of its warm summers and mild winters. If you’re near the coast, the ocean offers a calm and cool breeze, which would have you thinking it’s time to retire.

It does not rain or snow from May to October unless you’re near a mountain with occasional thunderstorms. Weather in California is a far cry from Texas’ hurricanes, tornadoes, and flooding, common to the Lonestar State.


Living in California vs Texas differs in terms of what landscape you prefer. California is breathtakingly scenic with its valleys, beaches, and mountains, all within a few hours’ drive from one another.

On the other hand, Texas has flat terrains and beaches that act as the Gulf’s major shipping center. The Sunshine State also has strong environmental regulations like recycling and climate change awareness, potentially preserving its rich landscape.


The education system in Orange County is considered better than Texas’ Harris or Dallas Counties. California is also home to prestigious universities like Stanford, Caltech, UCLA, and Berkeley.


California’s economy is larger and more diverse, ranking the 5th largest global economy with its GDP almost double Texas.

Technology is also prime in the Sunshine State, especially in San Francisco’s Silicon Valley, where specialized jobs could be waiting for you if your interest rests on technology.

Businesses thrive in California, but you will find that the state is more consumer-friendly than business-friendly if you’re in the workforce.

Cultural Diversity

California’s wide selection of art galleries, architecture, and museums is also at par with those found in European destinations.

Ecological Diversity

If outdoor is your scene, California is where you need to be. Enjoy national and state parks like Yosemite and Redwood Parks. Ride your bike, do some hiking or running, and ski at Lake Tahoe.

The inviting beaches of California are perfect either for surfing or whale watching, too. Tourist destinations like Disneyland, Las Vegas, and the Grand Canyon are surrounded by high-end hotels, shopping malls, and restaurants if you want to indulge occasionally.

Quality of Living

Comparing the cost of living in Texas vs California, salary is higher than average if you’re working in the Sunshine State, offsetting its high cost of living. As a result, you get to enjoy a better quality of living with easy access to beaches and parks, as well as living in gorgeous homes.

Health Benefit

The saltwater of California beaches plus sunshine throughout the year equals health benefits for people challenged by respiratory ailments. Few Californians also suffer from anxiety disorders because of the state’s pleasant weather promoting optimistic mental health.

Why You Want to Live in Texas Over California

Texas Sign Along Roadside

Cost of Living

How much more does it cost to live in California than Texas? Nearly double the cost. From an overall perspective, the average cost of living in Texas is 54% less than California.

If you’re moving with your kids, you could also save over 60% in child expenses. Raising a child in Texas is somewhere around $25k, while in California, it’s approximately $32k.

Food is another factor in the cost of living in Texas vs California. There’s an 18% difference in favor of Texas. Your budget for entertainment is likewise 14% lower if you’re living in, say, Austin, Texas.

Medical Care

Another important factor when weighing the pros and cons of living in Texas is medical care. An advantage of living in Texas is that you’d pay 8% less in health insurance. If you combine this factor with the low average cost of living in Texas, the odds will lean toward the Lonestar State.


If you’re looking at Texas pros and cons, housing is a pro. It’s easier to find housing in Texas with 5% vacant houses to choose from, unlike California with only 2%. Rent-wise, a 3‑bedroom home would be around $1600 in Texas’ Houston. However, if you live in LA, your rent cost would shoot up to nearly $2700.

If purchasing a house is in your plan, living in Austin, Texas, could cost you approximately $250k. Since the average cost of living in California is higher, the price more than doubles at $650k.


Which is bigger, Texas or California? Texas is nearly twice as big as California (almost 700k square kilometers vs California’s 400k). However, the population is reversed in the two states. As of 2017, Texas is about 11 million less populated, potentially giving you a less crowded feel versus living in California.

Texas also has six of the largest cities in the US, leaning the choice between Texas vs California in favor of the larger state. Surrounding these big cities are smaller towns and suburbs conducive to looking for a smaller community.


Among the pros and cons of living in Texas, the state’s lower tax burden is a plus. It also doesn’t levy state income tax, which is excellent news for people living on their Social Security retirement benefits and other incomes. California, however, is among the US states with high-income taxes at 13%.

Career and Business Opportunities

Whether you’re an employee or an entrepreneur, Texas is a great state to live in.

Because Texas is the main location of leading global companies, it’s somewhat easier to find regular full-time work. Whatever your field of interest or expertise is, you’d find a large pool of job vacancies to suit what you’re looking for, which is one of the benefits of living in Texas.

Texas also is significantly friendlier to entrepreneurial startups, helping businesses to thrive and make the most of the state’s geographic location. Similarly, businesses wouldn’t lack highly skilled workers to help them grow.


Is it worth moving from California to Texas? Yes, if traffic is among your chief concerns. While four major cities in Texas (Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and Austin) rank high among road‑congested areas in the US, Los Angeles and San Francisco seem worse in terms of traffic.

Texan drivers spend approximately 63 hours (monetary loss of $900) a year in 2019, but the two cities of California are road-tied at about 84 hours ($1200). Traveling to places outside Texas is also easier and less expensive because the state is centrally located.

Conclusion: Living in California vs Texas: Which is Better? (Pros and Cons)

California vs Texas

Choosing between California and Texas as the ‘better’ state to live in is challenging at best, especially with their commonalities. Both are Southwestern states with warm weather all year round and equally growing economies.

Their cities also have individual merits that are hard to ignore. Your decision rests on what determining factors call out to you louder. Weigh the pros and cons, and you’ll arrive at a choice favorable for you long term.

Kris Peter

A positive individual enjoying the journey, and always searching for adventure. I created Sunlight Living to help my parents (and eventually myself) prepare for retirement. About Kris

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