The allure of a big city is something most of us feel at one point or another right?

Here in Texas, we've got some incredible cities that intrigue us.

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The real question though is just how much more expensive are those cities? I went to to start comparing Amarillo to some of the big cities in Texas. The baseline index is 100 for the USA, and Texas as a state checks in below that at 93.9. The index is just an overall indicator as to whether the state or city is higher or lower than the US average.

Here's an idea of what you'd be looking at.


So the best way to start is by seeing what the overall cost of living is in the state as a whole. This gives us a baseline to gauge things off of.

  • The median cost of a home in Texas is $243,600. Housing in general here in Texas is a whopping 15.7% lower than the US average.
  • Food costs index at 93.7, so a little over 6% lower than the US average.
  • Healthcare checks in at 4.6% lower than the US average at a 95.4 index rating.
  • Costs for utilities such as electric, water, etc. is pretty on par with the national average checking in at an index score of 99.2.
  • Transportation costs in Texas are the one thing here higher than the national average checking in at 103.3 on the index score.

Let's move on to the cities.

Chase Tower Amarillo
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Amarillo's index checks in at a staggeringly low number of 80.1, making it the cheapest place in Texas to live in according to this Homecity article.

  • The median cost of a home in Amarillo is $156,000 with a housing index score of 59.2. Yes, you read that right. It's nearly 40% cheaper to live in Amarillo than the average place in the US.
  • Food costs come in with an index score of 91.7, so even groceries 2% cheaper in Amarillo than the state as a whole.
  • Healthcare is a bit more expensive if you live in Amarillo. Its index score comes in at 103.9 which is roughly 8% higher than the overall Texas average.
  • Costs for utilities comes in with an index score of 93.7 which is nearly 6% cheaper than the average Texas city.
  • Transportation costs in Amarillo are significantly cheaper than the Texas average though clocking in at an index score of 74.9. Remember, transportation in Texas on average was higher than the US median index score.


Let's move on to the biggest city in Texas.

  • The median cost of a home in Dallas will run you $259,800 which is higher than the overall average cost of a house in Texas.
  • Food costs are pretty on par with the US with an index score of 99.1, so you can expect to pay national prices for food in Dallas.
  • Healthcare in Dallas is significantly cheaper than Amarillo coming in with an index score of 94, so essentially 10% cheaper than Amarillo.
  • Costs for utilities checked in right on the US average at a 100 index score.
  • Transportation costs in Dallas are significant though. An index score of 117.1 is WAY more expensive than the national US average. A lot of money spent on gas and car insurance rates being higher due to the bigger city and greater risk for insurance claims.
Houston Scenics
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Dallas too big of a city? Well, Houston is a BIT smaller...but quite a bit cheaper.

  • The median cost of a home in Houston will set you back $220,000. That's a lot cheaper than Dallas, but still way higher than Amarillo.
  • Food costs are only SLIGHTLY cheaper than Dallas with an index score of 98.1.
  • Healthcare in Houston? 92.4 index score for that in H-Town, even cheaper than Dallas.
  • Costs for utilities are about 3% cheaper than Dallas with a 96.5 index score. Still not as cheap as Amarillo
  • Transportation costs in Houston are even HIGHER than in Dallas if you can believe it. An index score of 119 makes it the most expensive city in Texas when it comes to traveling around town.
Photo by Corey Van Zandt
Photo by Corey Van Zandt


Ok, this one I can speak from experience on. I lived in Austin for 7+ years, it's where I moved to Amarillo from.

  • The median cost of a house in Austin will run you a staggering $551,200. This is 100% accurate, and rakes in an index score of 159.6. It's not cheap to get a home in Austin.
  • Food costs are actually lower however with an index score of 96.7, so you start to save a LITTLE there.
  • Healthcare in Austin is a touch higher than Dallas and Houston with a 94.4 index score, but that's still 9% cheaper than Amarillo.
  • You'll find utilities pretty on par with the national average at 99.1, so just a touch lower than the US average utility cost.
  • Transportation in Austin? I can tell you it's messy, but not nearly as bad as Houston and Dallas, and that's reflected in its transportation score of 109.9. Still higher than the national average though.

So, if you're having thoughts of moving on to one of the bigger Texas cities, it's pretty clear you're gonna need to make a significant amount more on that salary if you want to maintain the same lifestyle you have in Amarillo. I get the allure of a big city, but hey, maybe it's better to just visit than move on to the bright lights of one of them.

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