Austin is the best place to live because of its advanced economy, low unemployment rate, and rising technology industry. In contrast, El Paso has a higher unemployment rate despite cheaper living and housing expenses and exciting outdoor activities.
Austin is the state capital and the state’s fourth-largest city. This city has magnificent natural vistas as well as the hustle and bustle of big-city life.
On the other hand, El Paso is a border town that straddles the Rio Grande on the US-Mexico border. El Paso is currently known for its significant military presence centered on Fort Bliss, boasting a burgeoning culinary culture.
Austin and El Paso are both excellent places to reside in Texas. However, one city is more advanced and better than the other.
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What are the Pros and Cons of Austin vs. El Paso?
Austin is a booming economy, but living costs are increasing. Meanwhile, El Paso has an affordable living cost but a higher unemployment rate.
Living in Austin
- Several times named the best place to live
- Low unemployment rate
- A higher annual average salary
- Exciting outdoor activities and huge festivals
Austin is known as the most progressive city in Texas. In July 2021, the city made it to the top list of the Best City to live in Texas, ranking number one, according to the US News and World Report.
Austin also ranked 5th among the Best Place to live in the USA, which says a lot about Austin’s rapid progress throughout the years. In addition, Austin placed 13th among the Fastest Growing Cities in the United States and 29th among the Best Places to Retire.
According to figures issued by the Texas Workforce Commission in November 2021, the unemployment rate in Austin declined slightly from 3.5% in September 2021 to 3.4% in October 2021, representing 44,568 jobless persons.
The unemployment rate in Austin remained lower than the state’s (4.8%) and national (4.3%) rates.
Between September 2021 and October 2021, the Austin area added 18,300 jobs, according to TWC. Since October 2020, the region has grown at a pace of 7.0% each year, resulting in a net addition of 77,300 jobs.
Austin is now known as the “Silicon Hills” due to the influx of technology companies relocating in Austin from Los Angele’s “Silicon Valley.” Some large technology companies in Austin, such as Tesla, Google, Facebook, IBM, and Dell.
At the same time, Austin has also become a headquarters of startup businesses. The influx of tech companies in Austin resulted in more job openings and a lower unemployment rate.
Austin’s average yearly pay is $55,190, whereas El Paso’s is $40,460. With a rapid progression due to the growing tech industry, living in Austin is still affordable despite its high living expenses.
If you plan to move to Austin, more job opportunities are waiting in Austin with a guaranteed high annual average salary.
Austin’s Lady Bird Lake is a must-see. It is a popular spot for kayaking, SUP, and canoeing.
Austin also has McKinney Falls State Park, which is 641 acres and located 10 miles southeast of downtown. Onion Creek Park offers camping, hiking, mountain biking, and swimming.
The Sixth Street Entertainment District downtown attracts both locals and visitors. On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, it is closed to traffic and serves as a hub for eating, nightlife, and entertainment. The Driskill Hotel is on Sixth Street.
Austin, of course, holds two major events each year. The Austin City Limits Music Festival takes place at Zilker Park over two weekends in the fall.
South by Southwest, or SXSW, is essentially two festivals rolled into one. This part-technology, the part-music festival, takes place at over 50 locations across Austin.
- Rapid increasing population
- Higher living expenses than El Paso
- Costly housing expenses
Austin has a population of 995,484 and is denser than El Paso.
The term “California Exodus” came from the increasing number of Californians relocating to Austin in the past years, contributing to the rise in Austin’s population. As of 2020, about 182,083 people migrated to Austin from LA.
The city is also home to diverse races: White: 48.6%; Black: 7.3%; Native American: 0.2%; Asian: 6.9%; Hispanic: 34.5%; Other races: 0.2%; Two or more races: 2.3%. Unlike El Paso, Austin has lesser residents of Hispanic races.
The rapid increase in population in Austin may lead to overcrowding in the next few years.
Austin may be the most progressive among its other neighboring towns in Texas. However, living in Austin has become more expensive.
Compared to El Paso’s 10%, living in Austin is more expensive than El Paso because it is only 3% lower than the national average.
You need at least $26,983 in earnings to live comfortably in Austin as per PayScale.
According to the 2021-2022 assessment, the growing housing costs in Austin contributed to the city’s disadvantage. Housing affordability is always a significant worry in moving to Austin.
Austin’s median house sales price jumped to $455,000 in January, up from $255,000 only five years earlier. Recently, the median monthly rent in Austin is $1,273, and the median home price is $377,693.
The housing prices in Austin are 2% higher than the national average.
Living in El Paso
- El Paso is less crowded
- Low cost of living
- Affordable housing expenses
- Rich culture and advantageous proximity to the famous Rio Grande
Compared to Austin, El Paso has a less dense population with only 681,534 residents. The streets aren’t as crowded compared to Austin.
Like Austin, El Paso is also home to diverse races mainly composed of 80.8% Hispanic; 13.4% White; 3.4% Black; 1.2% Asian; 0.3% Native American; 0.1% Hawaiian, Pacific Islander; 0.1% Other; 0.9% Two or more races.
Living in El Paso is cheaper than living in Austin. The amount inhabitants spend on necessities like food and transportation is slightly less than the national average.
Living in El Paso, Texas, is 10% cheaper than the national average. According to PayScale, you only need at least $24,820 in earnings to live comfortably in El Paso.
You can notice a huge gap that makes El Paso better regarding housing expenses than Austin. Unlike Austin’s expensive housing, El Paso has affordable housing costs. The housing cost in El Paso is 22% lower than the national average.
El Paso’s median monthly rent is only $837, and the median home price is $203,604. Therefore, housing expenses in El Paso are way more affordable.
El Paso’s closeness to the Rio Grande allows for whitewater rafting, canoeing, and fishing, as well as hiking and rock climbing in Franklin Mountains State Park and Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site.
The Mighty Mujer Triathlon, Franklin Mountains Trail Run, Eagle in the Sun Triathlon, and Michelob Ultra El Paso Marathon are just a few of the active events held in the region.
Festivals like the Neon Desert Music Festival and the Plaza Classic Film Festival and sports clubs like the North American 3 Hockey League’s Rhinos and minor league baseball’s Chihuahuas, a Triple-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres, bring the community together.
Every winter, the Sun Bowl is a notable college football event. Art galleries, performing arts theaters, and museums abound in El Paso, catering to cultural vultures.
- Ranked lower than Austin in the best place to live
- Higher unemployment rate than Austin
El Paso ranked 8th in the Best City to live in Texas. The city ranked 131st among the Best Places to live in the USA and 103rd among the Best Places to Retire.
Compared to Austin that ranked number one in the state, El Paso ranks lower in its economic status.
El Paso’s unemployment rate is 4.7% as of November 2021. Thus, El Paso has a higher unemployment rate compared to Austin. Austin only has a 3.4% unemployment rate, and as of 2021, the average annual salary in Austin is $55,190, while El Paso only has $40,460.
El Paso’s job market isn’t at par with Austin. The gap between the average annual salary and the unemployment rate is due to the aggressive rapid progression of the other.
Austin or El Paso – Which is more expensive?
Living in Austin is 46.6% more expensive than in El Paso. In Austin, housing, health, groceries, utilities, and transportation are higher.
The table below shows the cost-of-living indices written in percentage:
|Living expenses||El Paso||Austin|
|Food & Groceries||92%||96.7%|
Data is 100 = US National Average
100 means more expensive than the national average
100 means cheaper than the national average
The cost of housing in El Paso is 64.6% less expensive than Austin. The median monthly rent in Austin is now $1,273, with a median property price of $377,693.
With a median house price range of $271,701 and a monthly median rent of $851.12, El Paso’s housing costs are 22% cheaper than the national average.
Food & Groceries
Austin’s food and grocery prices are 4.7% more than El Paso’s. One example is the price of 1kg of rice in El Paso, which is only $1.98, compared to $3.26 in Austin.
Health-care costs are 8.9% more expensive in Austin than in El Paso. In Austin, a doctor’s appointment may cost $110.05, while a dental visit can cost $94.54.
Meanwhile, a doctor’s appointment in El Paso would set you back at around $107.17, while a dentist visit would be $92.07.
The difference between the utility costs in Austin and El Paso is about 2%. El Paso’s utility costs are 7% lower than the national average.
When riding a taxi, the standard tariff only costs $1.65 in El Paso compared to Austin’s $2.50. In addition, a liter of fuel costs $0.72 in Austin and $0.61 in El Paso.
Is Austin bigger than El Paso?
Austin is more prominent than El Paso in its geographical area, population, and economy. Because of its strong tech industry and growing local economy, Austin is an excellent choice for young professionals and families.
Austin is Texas’ fourth-largest metropolitan with a land area of 319.94 mi². Austin also has a growing population of 995,484 due to “California Exodus.”
Furthermore, the state’s fourth-largest city is also one of the ideal areas to look for work. Austin is a good location for young professionals and families because of its strong tech industry and expanding local economy.
El Paso is the sixth-largest city in Texas and only a few numbers behind Austin. On the other hand, El Paso is also considered one of the largest cities in Texas.
Even though it is not as progressive as Austin in terms of jobs, El Paso is one of the nation’s safest cities and is home to a big US Army military complex.
Is El Paso safer than Austin?
El Paso ranked third among the safest large cities in the United States, according to a study done by AdvisorSmith in October 2021. Meanwhile, Austin only came in 27th place.
According to research conducted by AdvisorSmith using FBI data, El Paso is the third safest metropolitan city in the United States, trailing only Henderson, Nevada, and Virginia Beach, Virginia.
The data collection includes crime reports from cities, counties, metropolitan statistical areas, and other authorities around the US.
El Paso only had a 41.3 overall crime score. The city also topped the other Texas large cities like Fort Worth, Arlington, and Austin.
In contrast, even though Austin is the most progressive city in Texas, its crime rate in the past years is not getting better than in El Paso.
Austin’s homicide rate increased to about 7.7 per 100,000 inhabitants, with 74 killings so far in 2021. Comparing the murders in 2021 to homicides in 2020, Austin is the only city that has exceeded its total number of homicides in 2020.
According to Austin Police Chief Joseph Chacon, police personnel shortages contribute to the city’s rising crime rate. The Austin Police Department is grappling with personnel challenges due to fewer officers on patrol.
With an overall crime score of 87.1 compared to El Paso’s 41.3, Austin is less secure than El Paso.
Is El Paso hotter than Austin?
Austin has an average high temperature of 79.69°F and 54.79°F average low temperature. El Paso has a slightly lower average high temperature of 77.43°F and 51.64°F average low temperature. Thus, Austin is hotter than El Paso.
Austin ranked 8th among the hottest cities in the United States. The city also ranked 5th among other cities in Texas. The highest temperature ever recorded in Austin is 112°F.
Austin also has an average high temperature of 79.69°F. The city’s average low temperature is 54.79°F.
In comparison, El Paso ranked 14th among the hottest cities in the United States. The city also ranked 9th among other cities in Texas, which is only a few numbers behind Austin. Additionally, the highest temperature ever recorded in Austin is 114°F.
El Paso also has an average high temperature of 77.43°F and an average low temperature of 51.64°F.
Is Austin better than El Paso?
If you prefer to reside in a city with more career prospects and an advanced economy, Austin is the city for you. El Paso is ideal for those seeking a low cost of living and great outdoor activities.
If the housing expenses hold you back from moving to Austin, you can find budget-friendly and safe houses in the area.
Neighborhoods like Cedar Park, Cherrywood, North University, Windsor Hills, and Garrison Park are budget-friendly and safe at the same time.
The median home price among these neighborhoods can cost as low as $124,975 to $295,020, and the median monthly rent price is $980 to $1,232.
El Paso, on the other hand, house prices range from $74,871 to $135,700 for the median purchase price and $560 to $838 for median monthly rent.
However, the average salary in Austin is way higher than in El Paso. The average wage, job opportunities, and booming economy in Austin can be enough to live comfortably in the city although its high cost of living.
In Texas, both Austin and El Paso are desirable cities. On the other hand, Austin is the perfect spot to go if you want to live in a more progressive city.
Austin versus El Paso – Where do you consider moving? Let me know your thoughts below.