The Ultimate Guide to Moving to Houston

From the cost of living and economic prospects to the best moving tips, here’s everything you need to know before moving to Houston.
Written by Bonnie Stinson
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
If you’re considering moving to
, be prepared for occasional twisters and flooding, bad traffic, and subpar public transit—but for families, dog-lovers, and community-oriented foodies, it might just be the ideal spot
Before Europeans arrived, this area was inhabited by the indigenous Karankawa and the Atakapa peoples. The city of Houston was founded in the 1830s, named after General Sam Houston who helped win
independence from Mexico. The two major industries here during the 1800s were cotton exportation and slavery.
Once oil was discovered in 1901, the fate of Houston was forever altered. Oil and gas refineries, shipbuilding, and space exploration became the next major industries in Houston.
Today, Houston is the 4th most populous city in the U.S. Located on Galveston Bay, Houston residents take food, sports, and volunteerism very seriously. In 2005, this city sheltered more than 150,000 people after the devastating Hurricane Katrina.
If you’re thinking of moving to Houston, there are some pros and cons to consider. Luckily,
super app
car and renters insurance
) has created this guide for the Houston-bound containing everything you need to know before making the big move—and all the best tips to keep it easy and affordable! 
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What you need to know about Houston before you move

Houston is a huge metropolitan area—so it’s difficult to encapsulate the best and worst of this city. On the one hand, urban sprawl means long commutes. On the other hand, there’s room for everyone in this welcoming Texan city. Love it or hate it, there’s nowhere like Houston. 

1. It’s a surprisingly affordable city, at least compared to other major U.S. cities

Not everything is bigger in Texas! The Cost of Living Index is 96.5 in Houston—only slightly higher than the state’s average figure, 93.9. Either way, you’ll pay less to live in the Lone Star State than in many other states in the country. 
Let’s talk about housing costs. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Houston is $960 a month. That’s a steal, compared to the exorbitant prices in cities like San Francisco and New York City. 
There’s even better news. The average apartment size in Houston? 881 square feet. The national average apartment size is 889 square feet, so you can expect reasonably spacious accommodations if you rent in Houston.
You’ve gotta eat, too! If you relocate to Houston, you can expect to shell out about $4.72 for coffee and $5.51 for a beer. A dozen eggs cost an average of $2.58, and a McDonald’s fast food meal will cost you $9.18. 
If you’re wondering how much you can expect to earn here, the median salary in Houston is $53,600—not too shabby. Unfortunately, Houston’s minimum wage is the lowest level in the nation, at just $7.25 per hour.

2. The economy is booming, but limited

The two main industries in Houston are the energy industry (especially oil) and the aerospace industry—the latter is what earned Houston the nickname “Space City.”
On the one hand, the oil industry is responsible for much of Houston’s industrial success. Thanks to companies like ENGIE North America and Schlumberger, this industry has created a lot of employment thanks to long-standing infrastructure in the area. 
On the other hand, fossil fuels are on their way out. It remains to be seen how the energy industry in Houston will survive the transition to clean and renewable energy. 
In recent years, biomedical research, biotechnology, and healthcare are taking up a larger share of the Houston economy. It’s certainly an interesting time to be employed in Texas!

3. Crime is a serious problem in Houston

This city has one of the highest crime rates in the United States, mostly made up of property crimes—although homicide rates are currently
increasing rapidly
in Houston. 
The U.S. average property crime rate is 35.4; in Houston, the property crime rate is 63.2
Car theft is on the rise nationally, and Texas has thesecond-highest auto theft rate in the nation. The Woodlands-Sugar Land metro area has one of the highest auto theft rates in the entire country. Houston’s auto theft rate sits right between Dallas (lower) and Lubbock (higher). 
If you move to Houston, you may want to invest in upgraded car security (bonus: it could earn you a discount on your
car insurance

4. Houston is very kid-friendly and very, very dog-friendly

If you’re looking for a place to raise a family, your kids will be surrounded by a ton of other young people. In Houston, kids 18 and under make up 24.7% of the city’s population. That’s a lot when you consider that the average figure is just 22%.
The median age in Houston is 33 years old. If you’re a Millennial raising little ones, you’ll love Houston. Choose a family-friendly neighborhood like the Woodlands, Clear Lake City, or Memorial if you relocate here with kids. 
If you have fur babies, you’ll be seriously impressed with Houston, too. It was recently rated the #1 most dog-friendly city in America. Houston is home to the world's highest ratio of dogs to humans, at 52.1 dogs per 100 humans (the 2nd and 3rd highest are Bern, Switzerland, and Havana, Cuba). 

5. Driving is usually the worst transportation option

Driving in Houston
can be expensive.
First, you’ll pay approximately $2,146 per year for full coverage
car insurance
, which is much higher than the national average.
Then, you’ll have to pay to fill up your tank just to drive across town. Houston includes 600 square miles! Then, you’ll have to pay for
city parking
if you go downtown. 
You can save some money and ride the
, Houston’s public transportation option, or bike on the 345-mile interconnected
bikeway network

6. The weather’s great if you love the sun—but natural disasters are becoming more common

The temperature in Houston is generally between the 60s and 80s. In the winter, it might dip down to the 50s on rare occasions. Summer highs reach the 90s and sometimes past 100.
If you have air conditioning at home—and an air-conditioned car—you may think you don’t need to worry about the weather. Unfortunately, the weather patterns in this region mean that twisters are common here, as is flooding

7. Call it Houston, “Space City,” or “Bayou City”—not H Town

Use the wrong nickname and you’ll immediately reveal yourself as an out-of-towner—if your accent didn’t already out you.
Space City, Bayou City, and the Big Heart are the three most common nicknames for Houston. Stick to these popular terms and you’ll be making friends over a saucy brisket before you know it.
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Does Houston live up to its stereotypes?

If you’re concerned about the economic outlook or weather patterns, then Houston may not be the right place for you. In general, the city lives up to its image as a city rooted in the oil industry, with plenty of Texan hospitality and great food thanks to its location near Galveston Bay
No, not all Houstonites are cowboys and not all Texans are old, white Republicans. Houston is proud of its diverse community and its contributions to the scientific community.
If you are looking for an urban center with an affordable cost of living, good art, and delicious food, then Houston might be the perfect place to put down roots! For tips on how to move, keep reading. 
Key Takeaway Uncertain economic opportunities and bad traffic balance out incredible food, family-friendly neighborhoods, and affordable rental rates in Houston. 

Finding a place to live in Houston

The first step to moving to Houston is to find a place to live. Houston is more affordable than Dallas and Austin, so give yourself a high-five for picking a Texas city with cheap(er) prices! 
The average monthly price for a studio downtown is about $1,381. If you want to rent a three-bedroom near the city center, you’ll pay closer to $2,279. Of course, downtown Houston is the most expensive. If you rent in the Museum District or University Heights, your rent will go down by several hundred dollars.
Planning to buy? The median listing price for a home in Houston is $330,800.
When choosing a neighborhood to live in, start by making a budget so you can be confident about exactly how much rent you can afford—and where you can afford it. Then consider your other needs, like body products, nightlife, and pet products.
If you’re not familiar with Houston’s neighborhoods, here are a few pointers: 
  • Most iconic neighborhoods: River Oaks, The Heights, Montrose, Museum District
  • Best neighborhoods if you’ve got kids: Kingwood, Memorial, Clear Lake City
  • Best neighborhoods for foodies: Montrose, The Heights, Downtown, Chinatown, Rice Village
  • Best neighborhoods if you want to keep your car: South Acres, Westbury, Lawndale-Wayside 
  • Most affordable neighborhoods: Clear Lake City, Kingwood, Midtown, Spring Branch
If you can swing it, try to spend some time in your desired area before you relocate. Rent an Airbnb for a few nights to see how the neighborhood feels. This will help you find the right fit.
Pro Tip If you’re interested in living downtown—and you don’t have any dependents—try finding roommates to make downtown living more affordable (and avoid a commute from the suburbs).

Moving to Houston checklist 

Once you find a place to live, you’re ready to plan the move. Here are some checklists to make your moving process smooth and easy, from packing up your first box to
your first night in your new home

Before you go

Before you move, make sure to: 

After you get there

Once you get your keys, it’s time to get to know your new home! Don’t forget these essential steps to help you settle into your new life in Bayou City: 
  • Register your car
    in Texas and
    update your insurance
    , if you moved from out of state.
  • Get
    renters’ insurance
    to make sure you and your possessions have protection. 
  • Update your mailing address, voter registration, and healthcare information. 
  • Explore your new neighborhood! Look for corner stores, dog parks, coffee shops, and grocery stores. 

How to save on car, renters, and home insurance in Houston

Whether you’re living it large in a condo downtown or building a family in the Clear Lake City area, you will need insurance if you’re moving to Houston.
From home and renters insurance to car insurance, super app
is here to make the insurance shopping process easy. Seriously, it takes less than 60 seconds to compare rates and select a new policy. Jerry can even help you
your policies to save more cash!
If you’re getting ready to move to Houston, we’ve got good news: just by using the Jerry app to shop for car insurance, users save an average of over $800 a year. Think how many takeout meals you could order with that extra cash!
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If you want a city that offers Texan hospitality, an affordable cost of living, and delightfully warm weather, then moving to Houston might work for you. But if you’re concerned about climate events and the major industries here, then you may want to consider a city like Austin instead.
If you’re moving from a nearby city and you do it all yourself, you could spend $100 on the entire move. If you are relocating from several states away and you hire a professional moving company, you might pay closer to $3,500
In Houston, you’ll need about $1,600 per month to rent a one-bedroom and afford daily life. If you’re supporting a family or need more space, you’ll need more money.
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