Are you trying to decide between moving to Massachusetts or Texas? Boston and Houston both have so much to offer with excellent employment opportunities and world-class recreation and attractions. Of course, there’s a lot that sets them apart. Boston has a high cost of living but a great quality of life, education, and climate while Houston is a much larger city with affordable living.
Which city is right for you, the City on a Hill or the Bayou City? This complete guide to Boston vs Houston covers everything you want to know, including living in Boston pros and cons and the benefits and downsides of living in Houston.
Pros & Cons of Living in Boston vs Houston
It’s hard to know where to start when comparing two cities, but the top advantages and disadvantages of living in Boston versus Houston may help.
Living in Boston Pros
Boston’s economy is excellent for entrepreneurs, medical, education, and financial jobs
A top advantage of living in Boston is its great economy and job opportunities. Boston is one of the top cities for entrepreneurs and its economy is diverse with high-paying careers in education, finance, and medical. Major employers like Massachusetts General Hospital, Fidelity Investments, and Harvard offer rewarding career options.
Living in Boston means enjoying world-class cultural attractions, historical sites, and beautiful parks
There’s always something to see and do, one of the top benefits of living in Boston. Even better, most of the city’s amenities are a short walk or train ride away. You’ll enjoy the Boston Common, Boston Harbor, and other amazing parks and outdoor spaces. The Boston Parks and Rec department maintains 217 city parks, athletic fields, playgrounds, golf courses, and historic cemeteries!
Boston has some of the best schools in the United States
One of the biggest Boston pros is its excellent education system. Some of the top schools in the country are located in Boston and its suburbs including Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Northeastern University. Even the Boston public schools are excellent! The Boston Latin School in the Boston Public Schools district ranks #36 in the nation.
Living in Boston Cons
High cost of living in Boston is a major drawback
The very high Boston cost of living is one of the top reasons not to live in Boston and a major trade-off for all the benefits the city has to offer. Boston is one of the most expensive cities to live in. You’ll experience high housing costs, expensive utilities, high food prices, and other financial challenges.
Living in Houston Pros
Houston’s economy is great for medical, aerospace, and energy
As you consider living in Houston pros and cons, make sure you consider your employment opportunities and field. The Houston economy may be based on energy, especially gas and oil, but it has diversified substantially in recent years. One of the benefits of living in Houston is its medical, aerospace, and energy jobs.
When you compare and contrast Boston vs Houston, you’ll find Houston actually has a lot to offer in the medical field, something Boston is known for, thanks to the Texas Medical Center. The largest medical center in the world, it has 61 medical institutions including the world’s largest children’s hospital and largest cancer hospital.
Houston is a huge and diverse metropolis
One of the biggest perks of living in Houston? Its diversity! If you love the idea of living in a thriving, huge city where you can meet people from all walks of life, you may feel right at home in Houston.
Surprisingly, Houston was recently named America’s most diverse city, beating out even NYC and Los Angeles. The city is 49% white, 37% Hispanic, 25% African American or Black, 5% Asian, and 16% from two or more races. There are dozens of foreign languages spoken by residents including Chinese, Vietnamese, Urdu, and indigenous African languages. It’s been majority-minority for more than 30 years.
Living in Houston Cons
Urban sprawl, flat terrain, and low population density are major cons of living in Houston
One of the bad things about living in Houston is the incredible sprawl. Driving one end of Houston to the other is a monumental task and you likely won’t find it worth it unless it’s important. With the expansive, flat terrain and low population density, most of Houston feels like a lot of nothing.
The city of Houston covers a massive 627 square miles with development that has gone outward, not upward, thanks to a lack of zoning laws and loose land use rules.
Even the prospect of a road trip to a nearby city is challenging. The nearest major cities are a long haul away. Houston is 162 miles away from Austin (the closest major city), 198 miles from San Antonio, 240 miles from Dallas, and 348 miles from New Orleans.
One of the reasons not to live in Houston is you’ll simply spend so much time driving and find it impossible to do anything outside your area of the city.
Houston has a high risk of flooding and hurricanes
When Hurricane Harvey hit Houston in 2017, it showed the city’s vulnerability to hurricanes and flooding. The massive sprawl and development have covered huge swaths of land in concrete and made drainage an issue. Despite investments in infrastructure to avoid another disaster, Flood Factor reports that 30% of Houston properties are at risk of floods. Remember that 75% of the homes damaged by Harvey were not in a flood zone and did not have coverage.
Cost of Living in Boston vs Houston
As you can probably already guess, the cost of living in Houston vs Boston definitely comes out in Houston’s favor. Boston is the 3rd most expensive city in the country for renters and homeowners alike.
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Additional Things to Consider Between Boston versus Houston
Houston absolutely dwarfs Boston, both in terms of the city population and the metro area.
The population of Houston is over 2.3 million living within 637 square miles with a population density of 3,598 people/square mile. The metro population is 7.1 million. By comparison, Boston is home to 696,000 people living within 90 square miles. The Boston metro population is 4.9 million. Boston is much more densely populated with almost 14,000 people per square mile!
Boston vs Houston Crime Rate
Concerned about safety? Boston definitely wins hands-down versus Houston when it comes to crime.
The Houston crime rate is 117% above the national average with 1,072 violent crimes per 100,000 residents. Meanwhile, the Boston crime rate is close to the national average with 622 violent crimes per 100,000 residents.
Boston is one of the safest cities in the country with half the crime of Houston, TX.
Boston versus Houston Climate
Which do you hate more: the heat and humidity or the cold? That’s an important question that will help you choose between living in Boston, Massachusetts vs Houston.
Boston’s famous New England weather means cold winters with lows of 19 degrees and 48” of annual snowfall. When you compare the weather in Boston versus Houston, however, you’ll find the opposite problem in Houston: the extreme cold is traded for even more extreme heat.
Houston summer weather is hot, humid, and oppressive. It’s over 90 degrees about 100 days out of the year and an average relative humidity of more than 90% during the summer.
When you consider the intense and even dangerous heat with monsoon season that brings flooding, hurricane season, and supercell storms that sometimes bring tornadoes, you may find cold winters to be a better trade-off.
Public Transportation in Houston vs Boston
Interested in living car-free or just want a convenient way to get around the city at night or during your commute? One of the best things about living in Boston is its excellent public transportation! The Boston public transportation system ranks #3 in the U.S. behind New York City and San Francisco. Boston is one of the best cities to live car-free with over 650,000 jobs within a 30-minute public transit ride.
Houston’s public transit system, METRO, offers a light rail system spanning 23 miles with 44 stations, all in central Houston, and an extensive bus system. While the system is efficient and helpful for getting around the urban core or downtown Houston, it doesn’t serve the outer areas. Considering the huge size of Houston, it’s still definitely a car-dependent city.
Boston v Houston Sports
Which city is better for sports: Boston or Houston? Boston is frequently ranked the #1 city for sports with 38 championships, the Boston Celtics, the Boston Bruins, the New England Patriots, and the Boston Red Sox. However, Houston is definitely a great city for sports, too, with 3 championships, the Houston Rockets, the Houston Texans, and the Houston Astros. It comes down to who you want to root for, the Houston Astros vs Boston Red Sox.
Boston vs Houston: Where Are You Moving?
Houston and Boston are both great places to live, but you can only choose one. Do you prefer a more moderate climate and cold winters with Boston’s famous walkability and public transportation in exchange for a very high cost of living? Or does living in Houston, Texas sound better with its affordability, strong economy, and sprawling metropolis?
If you have decided on making Boston your home, give us a call at Mass Bay Movers so we can help! We’ll help you settle into your new home so you can begin enjoying everything the City on a Hill has to offer.