Cost of living in California vs Texas

Cost of living in California vs Texas

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    For an individual, relocating to a new state is a big decision. When it comes to the largest populated states of the US, Texas, and California, people will eagerly want to know and compare the cost of living and way of living in California vs Texas. In this article we have listed out a few most important things, people mostly compare these two states. 

    As you know, California is the largest state in the US followed by Texas in terms of geography, population, and economic benefits. Ultimately, the cost of living will also vary from one another. Therefore, on average, California faces higher living costs than Texas. But in some manner or the other, Texas’s lifestyle and cost of living have been found affordable and easy for those who find California expensive. So, without wasting any time let us look at the cost of living in Texas and California and find out which is the best option for your move. 

    Cost of living in California vs Texas

    Is it cheaper to live in Texas than in California?

    Everyone who’s moving to Tx must know that Texas is less expensive to live in than California. The state itself has the three most affordable towns in the US that have been listed among Kiplinger’s surgery for “cheapest American cities to live in 2021”: Amarillo, McAllen, and Harlingen. 

    The cost of living in Texas is 21.1% cheaper than in California which is why Texans can save money for living. People in Texas on average are saving 70% less for overall expenses, 5% less for food and groceries, 221% less for housing, and 40% less for transportation costs.

    Is it more expensive to live in California than in Texas?

    Overall, California is 74.5% costlier than Texas. Living expenses of all towns in California mostly housing costs, food and groceries, healthcare expenses, housing rentals, and transportation costs had always remained on the higher side than in Texas. This is the reason why during the end of 2019, a large number of people moved from California to Texas as the retirees, low-salaried people, and educated middle-aged white-collar workers were unable to meet their living expenses, mostly the housing and rental costs. Many areas in Texas also have great job markets with high salaries and positions for senior workers, that is why living in California is more expensive than Texas.

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    Cost Of Living in California vs. Texas

    MIT compares and explains the cost difference between California and Texas into seven different typical expenses along with other miscellaneous costs for each state: food and groceries, housing, healthcare, utilities, transport, education, tax rates, and others. Let us dig into the topic more and more so that it will help you weigh between California vs. Texas.

    1. Food & Groceries

     Visiting weekly to restaurants or grocery stores is a must for every family or individual. According to BLS data, people usually consume over $5000 on average on food and groceries cost. However, there might be different ways to trim the expenses down but the money spent on food expenses significantly influences the living costs. 

    Food And Grocery

    Is food cheaper in Texas than in California?

    Food prices in Texas and California are mostly the same but on average the food in Texas tastes much better, tastier, and healthier to consume. However, information suggests that Texas’s food costs are cheaper than California’s food.

    Are groceries cheaper in Texas than in California?

    Groceries prices in Texas are 21.1% more cheaper than that in California.

    How much more expensive is California than Texas?

    California is 31.4% costlier than Texas which is why the cost of living in Texas is much lower than in California.

    2. Housing

    As we know, house prices, monthly rents, and property taxes vary from state to state, town to town, city to city, and even neighborhood to neighborhood. As per the US bureau of labor statistics, rich residents of the US pay a large sum of bills for housing. Be it for rent or mortgage, a large amount of their salary will go towards housing expenses every month. For house owners, many other expenses are included in the housing cost which include: upgrades, maintenance, fees, and taxes considered while thinking about where to live.


    Are houses cheaper in Texas or California?

    Housing costs in Texas are 60% cheaper than houses in California. This is because the state has many vacant lands that cost a lot and consume huge amounts during construction.  

    How much more does it cost to live in California than in Texas?

    Living costs, whether it be rental homes or own houses, in California are 74.5% more costly than in Dallas, Texas. While the median home price in Texas is $195,000 which is less than the national average, California’s median home price costs around $552,800 which is $321,000 more than the US average.

    3. Healthcare

    The states of the US were ranked on health care in three broad categories: overall health of the residents, access to health care, and quality of care. Where commonwealth fund has ranked the health care system of Texas as the third-worst in the nation as for a large part of people it is hard to afford and get the best healthcare that they want. Whereas in California, healthcare accessibility is slightly better than the national average yet, it’s uninsured and unaffordable as medications and treatments are not covered in the Medicaid program and are costly.

    Healthcare in Texas

    Is health insurance more expensive than in California?

    The monthly Health insurance cost in California as of 2022 is $417 which is less than the national average of $456 and the monthly health insurance cost in Texas i.e. $424. However, the plans and premiums will vary as per a person’s age, income, status, and health status. 

    Is healthcare more expensive in Texas?

    Texas’s healthcare spending has averaged up to $6110 per individual which is almost 4% higher than the national average. This is due to a lack of medical services, difficult Medicaid rules, and a high uninsured rate which leads to an increase in disease and death rates among people.

    How much is healthcare in Texas per month?

    The health insurance in Texas per month is $424 in 2022.

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    4. Utilities

    The most intuitive expenses included in utilities are electricity, water, and sewage bills. While Texas annually pays a higher electricity bill of $1542 which is higher than the US average, California on the other hand annually pays  $1212 which is greatly less than the US average of $1404.

    Utility Bill in Texas

    The average water cost in Texas is $46 and in California, it is $65 per month.  The difference between other utilities costs in California vs Texas are as follows:

    StatesInternetNatural GasCableTotal Cost

    Are utilities more expensive in Texas?

    For the reports from the US energy information administration 2020, the average monthly energy bill in Texas was $132.59 which is 15% more than the US average of $117.46. Utilities generally include electricity bills, water bills, internet bills, cable bills, sewage bills, phone bills, and more.

    Are things cheaper in Texas than in California?

    Utility costs per month in Texas i.e. $132.59 is 31% more than California’s utility bill i.e. $101.39.

    5. Transport

    Nowadays transportation cost is a must to consider if you are not working from home. As per BLS data, transportation is considered to second largest expense a person does in any state, be it in public transportation or own transport system. Various other factors like fuel refilling, tolls, repairs, and parking costs are also involved if you are driving your car. If you are employed or a student you’ll consider it as it will impact your cost of living.

    Transport in Texas

    How much does car transportation from California to Texas cost?

    On average, transporting a car from California to Texas will cost around $1200 from coast to coast.

    How much does transportation cost in California?

    The monthly travel pass of public transportation options in California costs around $100.

    How much does it cost to ship from California to Texas?

    The estimated shipping costs, distance, and transit time of things from different states California to Texas are as follows:

    Shipping to or fromCostDistanceTransit time
    Los Angeles to Houston$8491553 miles3-5 days
    Los Angeles to Dallas$8501557 miles3-5 days
    San Francisco to Austin$9991773 miles4-6 days
    Sacramento to Fairview$8991722 miles4-6 days
    Bakersfield to corpus Christi$8501632 miles3-6 days
    Fresno to Waco$8501627 miles4-6 days
    Long beach to El Paso$650851 miles2-3 days
    Oakland to San Antonio$9501749 miles4-6 days

    6. Education

    Education systems in both California and Texas are compared based on their performance on state achievement tests by a nationwide rating system,, and the department of education. The public and private schools in Texas are ranked 5 out of 10 while California is ranked 6 out of 10.

    Education in Texas

    For the 2022 school year, the tuition fees at a private University in Texas cost around $36,880 while the average private University cost in California is about $32,964. Therefore, studying in California is $16000 cheaper than in Texas. Tuition fees in state colleges in Texas are about $10,440 per year and in California, it is about $12,570 per year.

    How much does California spend on education?

    California’s government spends $76.6 billion for the education of students in K-12 and child development programs which includes local, state, federal, and national funds.

    How much does Texas spend on education per student?

    As per census bureau data, School districts of Texas spend $12,612 per student on their education which is less than the national average of $12,624 per student.

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    7. Tax Rates

    Tax is another factor that creates a major difference in the cost of living in California vs. Texas. In Texas, you shouldn’t have to pay any income tax, on the other hand, California’s income tax is one of the highest in the US. While comparing property taxes in Texas vs California, California’s property tax rate is 0.7% which is among the lowest in the nation while Texas pays a 1.9% property tax rate. 

    Tax Rates in Texas

    Therefore, retirees choose to live in Texas and millennials undoubtedly come up to buy a house in Texas as the state has no income tax and their saved cash can be used as down payment savings. However, cons they might face while living in a state with zero income tax include higher property, excise, and sales tax. 

    Are taxes higher in California or Texas?

    Californians individually pay 13.3% of state income tax and 7.25% and 10% in sales tax depending on local rates. In Texas, Texans don’t pay any income tax, however, they pay a sales tax of 6.25% and 8.25% depending on their area rates. Texans also don’t pay any corporate income tax while Californians pay a corporate income tax of 8.84%.

    Are taxes higher in California?

    California imposes the highest income tax in the nation which is about 13.3%. As a result, an individual in California has to pay tax revenue per capita of about $7326 which is more than the US average of $5664 per capita.

    8. Miscellaneous Things

    Other than the major cost of living indices, there are some minor yet important expenses that are included in the cost of living expenses- clothing, entertainment, school and college fees, and other dozens of items that will help in creating a monthly budget for the cost of living expenses.


    Average miscellaneous expenses: California vs Texas.

    It is assumed that residents of California spend around 40% of their salary on miscellaneous expenses whereas Texans spend around 20% on miscellaneous spending.

    Miscellaneous expensesCaliforniaTexas
    Entertainment$49 per person per day$19 per person per day
    Clothing$200 per month$95 per month
    Child care$11817 per year$$7062$ per year
    Internet$50 per month$45 per month
    Cable$45 per month$80 per month
    Library and books$0.35 per day$0.50 per day
    Additional miscellaneous costs$950 per month$550 per month

    9. Comparison of living things

    Overall, if you choose to relocate to Texas from California, you might save 26% – 55% on your overall expenses which means that for every $100 spent in Texas you might have to spend $156 in California. Let’s look at the cost of living in California vs texas indices and find out the difference in expenses of both states. The cost of indices is based on the national US average of 100. A value below 100 means Texas is cheaper than California or the US average and vice-versa.

    Comparison of Living

    Overall Texas’s cost of living = is 93.9

    Overall California’s cost of living = is 149.9

    Cost of living indicesTexas (TX)California (CA)US The difference in COL between TX and CA 
    overall101176.210074.5% more
    Food and groceries99.1104.11005% more
    Housing cost 92.9298.2100221% more
    Utilities10093.71006.5% less
    Transportation117.1165.310041.5% more
    Health 98.1901008.3% less
    Miscellaneous105.2104.51000.7% less

    Cost of living in California vs. Texas FAQs

    Is it better to live in Texas than in California?

    While deciding between Texas and California we consider several factors like housing cost of living taxes and others. Also, diving deeper and comparing the pros and cons will definitely bring us to a conclusion to choose between both the states, which among the two is better to live in. 

    Here are 10 quick points while comparing California and Texas. 

    • The cost of living in Texas is cheaper than in California
    • California has a lot of outdoor and scenic destinations whereas you will find the best beaches to swim in Texas
    • Weather in California is hard to beat
    • Finding a house in Texas is easier than in California
    • Health insurance in Texas is less than that in California
    • California has a lot of prestigious universities like Caltech and Stanford
    • California stands in 5th rank in the largest global economy with the highest GDP which is almost double of Texas.
    • Textures have a lot of job opportunities and entrepreneurs startups.
    • The transportation system and traffic facilities in Texas are better than in California.

    Both states, California and Texas have different perks. However, after tallying important points we can conclude that the average cost of living in Texas has higher merit as compared to the benefits of living in California. 


    While comparing the cost of living in Texas you might find many advantages when it is compared with California. When you quantify things, you will definitely save more if you live in Texas than in California. So, why would you choose to live in such an expensive state? The only reason is its scenic beauty and mesmerizing climate that makes people fall in love with the state. 

    Also, we can’t demean Texas’s charm: the deserts and prairies in San Antonio and Dallas make it an amazing city in the states.

    So, if your aim is all about savings in the cost of living then move to Texas, however, you can visit California to enjoy your holidays and vacations at times.  

    If you considering moving to Texas? You might want to know the weather conditions of a particular area or town you pick to live in. Our Does it snow in Texas article will let you know about Texas’s climate and the areas that mostly receive snowfall every year. 

    Also, our blog regarding Is dumpster diving is illegal in Texas gives you general information regarding the legalities of dumpster diving in cities of Texas and what you need to know while doing it. We’ll not spill the beans here, click and know more about it. 

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