The last time we addressed the state of Texas with a scientific post, it went over just about as well as it could. Almost everyone agreed with us that we nailed it on the head with our data, which determined the absolute worst places to live in Texas.
So, due to popular demand, we’ve produced the opposite of that, and have determined once and for all, which places in Texas are the best to live in. While there are sure to be arguments made for a lot of places in Texas (since it’s such a great place all around), this is the type of research that you can pester your buddies with when you’re at the rodeo.
Because it’s based on science, which means it has to be right. Right?
After analyzing 238 of the most populous cities, we came up with this list as the absolute best 10 places in the state of Texas:
- Highland Village (Photos)
- Murphy (Photos)
- Allen (Photos)
- Brushy Creek
- Corinth (Photos)
- Cedar Park (Photos)
- West University Place (Photos)
- Plano (Photos)
- Flower Mound
- Frisco (Photos)
You may not have heard of some of these places, or you probably don’t even know where they are on a map. That’s why we’re here.
Small Towns vs. Big Cities. Which is Better?
In order to rank the best places in Texas, we had to determine if it made sense to put a large town in the same category as a tiny town, of say, 10 people. We decided that it makes sense to rank only the larger cities, so we cut the population off at 10,000.
Because Sammy Martinez, Texas, population 11, probably shouldn’t be mentioned in the same context as Dallas.
And speaking of Dallas, we’re sure you’re wondering how the larger cities ranked. There’s a chart at the bottom with all of the cities in order from best to worst. According to the data, it’s the suburbs outside of Dallas that you want to live in.
How do you decide if a place is awesome or not?
We don’t think it’s a stretch to assume that people value low crime, great public schools, a great local economy, good weather and things to do. So, we scraped the internet for cities in Texas that excelled in those categories, and it spit out the answer. Like magic.
Looks like little Highland Village, Texas is the best place to live in the state, according to science. The worst place in Texas? That would be Jacksonville. More on that later.
How we crunched the numbers
We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using FBI crime data, the government census, Bureau of Labor Statistics and Sperling’s Best Places, this is the criteria we used:
- Population Density (The higher the better, since that means there’s more to do)
- Lower Unemployment Rates
- Adjusted Median Income (Median income adjusted for the cost of living)
- Low Housing Vacancy Rate
- Education (High Expenditures per student and low student teacher ratio)
- Short Commute Times
- Low Crime
- The Best Weather
Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and how your town ranked.
1. Highland Village, TX
Median income: $129,224
Crime: 3rd lowest in the state
Unemployment rate: 4.3%
Say what you want about small towns that most people in Texas haven’t heard of. According to scientific data, Highland Village, Texas rocks. In fact, it’s far and away the best place to live in the Lone Star State.
When looking at the numbers in Highland Village, it’s hard to argue against it. The unemployment rate is only 4%, and residents earn a boatload of money every year. Plus, the crime is the 3rd lowest in the state.
Highland Village is a Dallas suburb right on Lewisville Lake. In fact, when looking at this list in its entirety, it looks most of them are northern Dallas burbs. So, consider yourself lucky if you live in dream land here, and have the ability to commute into the Big D.
2. Murphy, TX
Unemployment rate: 4.4%
Household income: $112,900
House vacancy rate: 2.4%
Crime: 4th lowest in Texas
Murphy is also north of Dallas, but closer to Plano. Its residents are gainfully employed and almost every single home is occupied, meaning people really want to live there. And the crime is extremely low.
In addition, Murphy schools are even higher up when it comes to the amount of support students get, financially. You really can’t ask for a better place to live.
3. Allen, TX
Unemployment rate: 4.2%
Median household income: $101,966
House vacancy rate: 4%
We’re starting to see a pattern here. Allen, north of Plano, has the same exact desirable factors as cities higher up on the list. It’s basically a relatively safe place where people earn high salaries with hardly any boarded up or vacant homes. Allen is a much larger version of Highland Village and Murphy.
Plus, Allen High School won the Texas state football title the last two seasons, and has made the playoffs since…forever ago. Go Eagles!
4. Brushy Creek
Unemployment rate: 4.1%
Household income: $98,596
House vacancy rate: 4.3%
You’re thinking…Brushy Where? Understood.
Brushy Creek isn’t a city per se, it’s actually called a census designated place, meaning it doesn’t have its own government running the area. That doesn’t mean it isn’t awesome there. Located just outside of Austin, Brushy Creek has all the advantages of the places listed above it.
Plus, its residents get to enjoy the greatness that is Austin with a short drive.
5. Corinth, TX
Crime: 25th lowest in Texas
Education ranking: Top 10% in the state
Household income: $89,890
Another Dallas suburb makes the top of the list. Little Corinth, on the northern edge of the Dallas/Fort Worth metro area, has great schools and low crime. And when residents have great jobs, life is just peachy keen, isn’t it?
6. Cedar Park, TX
Crime: 18th lowest in Texas
Household vacancy rate: 4.76%
If you own a home in Cedar Park, you’re aware that your home values are skyrocketing right now. That’s a sign that things are going swimmingly. Most people there have good jobs, and the commute time into Austin is short.
Cedar Park High School also won the Texas 4A DII state title three years ago, so the kids there have a good chance to be winners on and off the field.
7. West University Place
Unemployment rate: 4.7%
Household income: $202,132
Crime: 8th lowest in the state
“West U” as it’s called, is a tiny little place outside of Houston. While their high school football team hasn’t won a state title (they don’t have a high school), it’s one of the safest spots you can live in.
And residents make the 9th highest salaries in the entire state. Perhaps they can just pay for their own football program.
8. Plano, TX
Household income: $83,193
Education: Top 5% in the state, support wise
Unemployment rate: 4.3%
Plano doesn’t really stand out in any given category, it’s just generally a great place, according to science. Its schools are well funded, and it’s a lot safer in Plano in comparison to the rest of the state. Residents here earn a comfortable salary, and there’s plenty to do to keep you entertained here.
9. Town of Flower Mound, TX
Household income: $118,725
Unemployment rate: 3.8%
House vacancy rate: 2.8%
Crime: 8th lowest in Texas
Apparently, people are lining up to live in Flower Mound, because only 3% of the homes are unoccupied. The population has skyrocketed here nearly 30% in the last 10 years, which is incredible.
Residents in Flower Mound, just outside of Dallas, have great jobs, and it’s very, very safe here.
Unemployment rate: 3.8%
Household income: $108,428
Crime: Lowest 10% in the state of Texas
Frisco, a smaller version of Plano, has a lot of great things going for it. It’s relatively safe, and the folks who live in Frisco have great jobs. School spending here is one of the highest in the state as well.
There You Have It
While there are always going to be arguments about where the best place to live in Texas is, according to science, these are the best of the best. If you’re looking at places that have low crime, where there are great schools, and a robust economy, this is an accurate list.
Click here to get access to the complete list of cities in a spreadsheet.
If you’re curious, we also did the data on the worst places to live in Texas. Click here to read that story. Below are the the worst five.
- Jacksonville (Pop. 14,550)
- Port Arthur (Pop. 54,022)
- Donna (Pop. 15,924)
- Tomball (Pop. 10,372)
- Mercedes (Pop. 15,803)