Study: Best Cities to Live in Texas

The stars at night are big and bright deep in the heart of Texas, and when it comes to economic prosperity, education, and all-around livability, the Lone Star State outshines the competition. If you're new to Texas or you are thinking of relocating, the CreditDonkey team has made your search easier by ranking the best places to call home.

Natives know that Texas is not just a place to live - it's also a state of mind. Friendly people, mouthwatering food and an esteemed heritage are all part of the culture that sets the state apart.

Life moves at a slower pace here and every city is uniquely different from the next. When you're planning a move, deciding where to put down roots can be overwhelming. East Texas is home to pine forests, cypress swamps and the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area, one of the fastest-growing spots in the state. In the Gulf region, oil is king, especially in Houston where the energy industry fuels the economy. To the west lie the cities of the Great Plains region, which stand as beacons against the stark, rugged landscape.

10 Best Cities to Live in Texas

Study Methodology

These five factors were used to determine each city's rank:

  1. Crime Rate
  2. Commute Time
  3. Income
  4. Education
  5. Restaurants Per Capita

No matter where you decide to hang your hat, safety should always be a top priority. We considered how safe each city on our list is, based on the odds of becoming the victim of a violent crime.

Texas features some of the busiest urban areas in the U.S., and dealing with daily gridlock is a fact of life for some residents. We know that time is precious and the less you spend in traffic, the better. Each of the cities on our list boasts an average commute of under 30 minutes.

Compared to the national average, Texans earn some of the highest incomes around. Our rankings are based in part on the median household income for each city as well the percentage of residents who hold a bachelor's degree or higher.

Texas cuisine blends the best of southern and southwestern flavors, with a little Mexican influence thrown in for good measure. While chili and barbecue are always on the menu, we know that there may be times when you're in the mood for something different. Each city's ranking is based in part on the number of restaurants per capita.

10. Pflugerville

  • Odds of Being a Victim of a Violent Crime: 1 in 811
  • Commute Time: 25.5 minutes
  • Income: $75,119
  • Residents With a Bachelor's Degree or Higher: 35.1%
  • Restaurants: 1 per 1,059 inhabitants

The first thing new residents to Pflugerville need to know is that the "P" is silent. The second is that it's an all-around great place to live. Roughly 20 miles north of Austin, Pflugerville is a family-friendly town whose population is growing rapidly. Recent years have seen an influx of professionals who find the short commute to work and higher median incomes desirable. If you're looking for a fun way to spend the day, head to the Hawaiian Falls water park, Pflugerville's newest attraction.

Did You Know: Following a period of decline after World War II, Pflugerville's population dropped to just 380 residents.

9. Carrollton

  • Odds of Being a Victim of a Violent Crime: 1 in 692
  • Commute Time: 24 minutes
  • Income: $69,592
  • Residents With a Bachelor's Degree or Higher: 36.2%
  • Restaurants: 1 per 674 inhabitants

Carrollton is a suburb of Dallas-Fort Worth, one of the largest metropolitan areas in the United States. Despite its larger size, Carrollton still manages to convey a small-town feel where family and community are the focal points. The average commute takes just 24 minutes, although drive times may be longer for residents who travel to Dallas or Fort Worth for work. Overall, Carrollton consistently ranks as one of the best cities for safety and economic development.

Did You Know: Guests at Babe's Chicken Dinner House enjoy some of the best home-style cooking around, but you'll need to bring your dancing shoes if you want to join in when the wait staff does the Hokey Pokey.

8. Allen

  • Odds of Being a Victim of a Violent Crime: 1 in 1,614
  • Commute Time: 27.4 minutes
  • Income: $101,966
  • Residents With a Bachelor's Degree or Higher: 51.4%
  • Restaurants: 1 per 854 inhabitants

Allen is a suburb of Dallas, located approximately 25 miles north of the metro area. This city of nearly 90,000 residents is one of the safest and most affluent cities on our list, with a median income of close to $102,000. More than half the citizens hold a college degree and there's a strong emphasis placed on education. While there are plenty of upscale restaurants to choose from at Watters Creek, Scotty P's is the place to go if you're looking for an old-fashioned burger and fries.

Did You Know: The Old Stone Dam, which once used as a water station for the Houston & Texas Central Railway Company, is believed to be one of the last remaining stone dams in the U.S.

7. Midland

  • Odds of Being a Victim of a Violent Crime: 1 in 291
  • Commute Time: 17.4 minutes
  • Income: $59,478
  • Residents With a Bachelor's Degree or Higher: 24.2%
  • Restaurants: 1 per 558 inhabitants

Midland sits in the western part of the state, less than 120 miles from both Lubbock and the New Mexico border. The city got its start when the Texas Pacific Railroad joined up with the Southern Pacific Railroad, halfway between Fort Worth and El Paso. Today, Midland is a thriving city in its own right, with a population that continues to expand each year. Forbes magazine named Midland the best small city for jobs in 2013, and workers here enjoy an average commute of less than 18 minutes.

Did You Know: Former President George W. Bush and his First Lady Laura Bush both spent part of their childhood years in Midland.

6. Frisco

  • Odds of Being a Victim of a Violent Crime: 1 in 1,257
  • Commute Time: 27.8 minutes
  • Income: $108,428
  • Residents With a Bachelor's Degree or Higher: 58.3%
  • Restaurants: 1 per 745 inhabitants

Situated near Lewisville Lake, Frisco is one of the northernmost suburbs of the Dallas-Forth Worth Metroplex. Workers come for the plentiful job opportunities and higher median incomes, while families choose Frisco because it's a safe place to raise children. Gattitown offers plenty of fun and games for the kids but you'll find more adult fare like the Silver Fox Steakhouse along Legacy Drive.

Did You Know: Frisco is a showcase for local art, and some of the most notable public exhibits can be found at the Texas Sculpture Garden and along the Gaylord Parkway, where you can view the longest continuous-themed bronze sculpture collection in the U.S.

5. Round Rock

  • Odds of Being a Victim of a Violent Crime: 1 in 753
  • Commute Time: 23.9 minutes
  • Income: $69,998
  • Residents With a Bachelor's Degree or Higher: 37%
  • Restaurants: 1 per 512 inhabitants

Round Rock is located in south central Texas, approximately 20 miles north of Austin. While many of the city's residents work in the capital city, major companies like Dell and TECO-Westinghouse attract a fair share of local workers who are looking for a shorter commute. The area is very much youth-oriented, with young couples and families accounting for a significant part of the population.

Did You Know: Infamous Texas outlaw Sam Bass met his end in Round Rock in 1878, following a shoot-out with the Texas Rangers.

4. Flower Mound

  • Odds of Being a Victim of a Violent Crime: 1 in 3,239
  • Commute Time: 28.6 minutes
  • Income: $118,725
  • Residents With a Bachelor's Degree or Higher: 57.6%
  • Restaurants: 1 per 692 inhabitants

Flower Mound takes its name from a wildflower-covered area that rises some 50 feet above the surrounding countryside. The scarcity of violent crime and a median household income that approaches $120,000 are just two of the reasons why residents stop here to smell the roses. Married couples with children make up more than half the city's households but professionals also like Flower Mound because of its central location between Dallas and Fort Worth. When it's time to unwind, locals head to Lake Grapevine to enjoy boating, water-skiing, fishing, windsurfing, and camping.

Did You Know: Foxglove, Bluebonnet and Indian Blanket are just a few of the wildflower species that grow on The Mound.

3. Sugar Land

  • Odds of Being a Victim of a Violent Crime: 1 in 761
  • Commute Time: 28.5 minutes
  • Income: $107,149
  • Residents With a Bachelor's Degree or Higher: 53.8%
  • Restaurants: 1 per 356 inhabitants

Life in Sugar Land is sweet for the nearly 83,000 Texans who reside here, and it's considered one of the best places in the state for relocation among the professional crowd. Located roughly 20 miles southwest of Houston, Sugar Land is one of the metro area's more well-to-do suburbs, with the energy and engineering industries accounting for a significant number of jobs. Well-maintained communities, upscale shops and top-rated restaurants give this fast-growing city a cosmopolitan feel.

Did You Know: Sugar Land earned its named in the mid-1850s, when sugar cane imported from Cuba became one of the area's most important crops.

2. Plano

  • Odds of Being a Victim of a Violent Crime: 1 in 765
  • Commute Time: 25.6 minutes
  • Income: $83,193
  • Residents With a Bachelor's Degree or Higher: 54%
  • Restaurants: 1 per 480 inhabitants

With more 270,000 residents, Plano is the largest city on our list and one of the most populous spots in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The odds of becoming the victim of a crime are 1 in nearly 800 and incomes gravitate towards the higher end of the scale. The city's residents are highly educated, a fact that's appreciated by top employers like J.C. Penney, the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group and Alliance Data Systems, which all have headquarters here. Foodies will appreciate the city's nearly 600 restaurants, which feature some of the best cuisine from just about every corner of the world.

Did You Know: Professional cyclist Lance Armstrong was born in Plano.

1. Richardson

  • Odds of Being a Victim of a Violent Crime: 1 in 604
  • Commute Time: 23.6 minutes
  • Income: $68,806
  • Residents With a Bachelor's Degree or Higher: 49.7%
  • Restaurants: 1 per 423 inhabitants

Head south out of Plano and you'll find yourself in Richardson, another growing suburb of the DFW area and the top-rated city on our list. What began as a bedroom community in the '50s and '60s is now a thriving commercial and residential hub. The telecommunications industry leads the economy, with AT&T and Cisco among the largest employers. The average commute is relatively short, at just under 24 minutes, and the median household income nears $70,000. When it comes to restaurants, you'll find everything from Tex-Mex to barbecue, with a few more exotic flavors thrown in for good measure.

Did You Know: The main campus of the University of Texas at Dallas is located in north Richardson.

They say that everything's bigger in Texas, and that certainly applies to each of the cities on our list in terms of their personality and charm. Whether you're interested in settling down near a major city or you prefer someplace a little more out-of-the way, each of the locations we've profiled is worthy of a second look.

Data Sources:

  • U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates
  • FBI, Uniform Crime Reports
  • U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey
  • U.S. Census Bureau, Economic Census

The Top 20 Cities to Live in Texas

RankCityViolent Crime OddsAverage Commute TimeMedian Household Income% Bachelor's Degree or HigherPeople per Restaurants and Bars
1Richardson1 in 603.923.6$68,80649.7%423.3
2Plano1 in 764.825.6$83,19354.0%479.8
3Sugar Land1 in 760.828.5$107,14953.8%355.5
4Flower Mound1 in 3,239.228.6$118,72557.6%692.1
5Round Rock1 in 753.423.9$69,99837.0%512.4
6Frisco1 in 1,257.227.8$108,42858.3%745.2
7Midland1 in 290.517.4$59,47824.2%557.9
8Allen1 in 1,614.227.4$101,96651.4%853.7
9Carrollton1 in 691.524$69,59236.2%674.2
10Pflugerville1 in 811.225.5$75,11935.1%1,059.1
11Euless1 in 560.322.5$55,53731.6%676.7
12League City1 in 1,090.228.9$88,28942.1%1,116.3
13Cedar Park1 in 477.526.1$76,11842.9%733.6
14New Braunfels1 in 525.923.4$55,37027.0%460.3
15McAllen1 in 817.719.6$40,63627.1%441.7
16Wichita Falls1 in 222.114.7$44,39021.4%464.7
17Mansfield1 in 790.429.7$92,20839.9%770.4
18McKinney1 in 603.128.3$81,89446.1%827.9
19Austin1 in 244.622.8$52,43144.8%434.5
20Missouri City1 in 823.529.1$83,30740.5%945.5

Rebecca Lake is a journalist at CreditDonkey, a credit card comparison and reviews website. Write to Rebecca Lake at Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

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