Cost of Living in Houston

Summary of cost of living in Houston, TX, United States:

Edit Range
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant 20.00 $ 13.00-48.00
Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course 85.00 $ 58.00-225.00
McMeal at McDonalds (or Equivalent Combo Meal) 10.50 $ 9.00-12.00
Domestic Beer (1 pint draught) 6.00 $ 4.00-12.50
Imported Beer (12 oz small bottle) 8.00 $ 6.00-12.50
Cappuccino (regular) 5.96 $ 3.50-9.00
Coke/Pepsi (12 oz small bottle) 2.79 $ 2.00-5.00
Water (12 oz small bottle) 2.60 $ 1.75-4.00
Milk (regular), (1 gallon) 4.06 $ 2.99-6.99
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (1 lb) 3.18 $ 1.81-6.00
Rice (white), (1 lb) 2.50 $ 0.73-5.00
Eggs (regular) (12) 4.71 $ 2.00-7.00
Local Cheese (1 lb) 7.90 $ 4.00-17.50
Chicken Fillets (1 lb) 6.39 $ 2.00-11.00
Beef Round (1 lb) (or Equivalent Back Leg Red Meat) 8.66 $ 4.99-15.00
Apples (1 lb) 2.31 $ 0.99-3.75
Banana (1 lb) 0.64 $ 0.50-1.40
Oranges (1 lb) 1.97 $ 0.79-4.00
Tomato (1 lb) 1.50 $ 0.69-3.50
Potato (1 lb) 1.44 $ 0.40-2.80
Onion (1 lb) 1.22 $ 0.79-2.50
Lettuce (1 head) 2.01 $ 1.00-3.00
Water (1.5 liter bottle) 2.45 $ 1.00-3.25
Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range) 15.00 $ 8.00-30.00
Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle) 2.35 $ 1.57-4.29
Imported Beer (12 oz small bottle) 3.60 $ 1.50-6.00
Cigarettes 20 Pack (Marlboro) 8.93 $ 7.83-12.00
One-way Ticket (Local Transport) 1.88 $ 1.25-3.50
Monthly Pass (Regular Price) 118.00 $ 75.00-150.00
Taxi Start (Normal Tariff) 5.00 $ 2.75-5.00
Taxi 1 mile (Normal Tariff) 5.00 $ 3.00-5.50
Taxi 1hour Waiting (Normal Tariff) 60.00 $ 30.00-60.00
Gasoline (1 gallon) 3.36 $ 2.75-4.51
Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (Or Equivalent New Car) 28,250.00 $ 23,500.00-33,400.00
Toyota Corolla Sedan 1.6l 97kW Comfort (Or Equivalent New Car) 26,739.25 $ 22,000.00-31,391.00
Utilities (Monthly)
Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 915 sq ft Apartment 253.19 $ 133.43-435.00
Mobile Phone Monthly Plan with Calls and 10GB+ Data 90.50 $ 30.00-140.00
Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL) 92.81 $ 53.00-158.50
Sports And Leisure
Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult 105.95 $ 30.00-169.00
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour on Weekend) 35.23 $ 20.00-40.00
Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat 16.00 $ 12.00-23.00
Preschool (or Kindergarten), Full Day, Private, Monthly for 1 Child 1,697.07 $ 1,100.00-2,730.00
International Primary School, Yearly for 1 Child 32,805.56 $ 23,000.00-41,000.00
Clothing And Shoes
1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Similar) 63.48 $ 35.00-125.00
1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, H&M, ...) 66.35 $ 25.00-120.00
1 Pair of Nike Running Shoes (Mid-Range) 115.00 $ 60.00-190.00
1 Pair of Men Leather Business Shoes 165.32 $ 85.00-280.00
Rent Per Month
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre 1,833.41 $ 1,220.00-2,900.00
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre 1,567.06 $ 1,000.00-2,650.00
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre 3,706.88 $ 2,500.00-4,800.00
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre 2,577.42 $ 1,750.00-3,800.00
Buy Apartment Price
Price per Square Feet to Buy Apartment in City Centre 558.16 $ 250.00-1,219.99
Price per Square Feet to Buy Apartment Outside of Centre 342.17 $ 170.00-699.99
Salaries And Financing
Average Monthly Net Salary (After Tax) 5,210.73 $
Mortgage Interest Rate in Percentages (%), Yearly, for 20 Years Fixed-Rate 7.16 4.70-8.54

Prices in Houston, Texas

This city had 2071 entries in the past 12 months by 276 different contributors.
Last update: November 2023
Sources and References
Distribution of Expenses Using Our Statistical Model:
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19 Comments so far
Anonymous on Oct 27, 2023:
whoever talkin about toronto compared to houston stfu bro you live in canada
Houston Bill on Sep 28, 2023:
Since 1940 Houston has grown from 700,000 to 7,500,000 people. Mostly via in migration. It added 1.1 million in the last decade. If Houston was truly the "terrible" place that most of the reviewers say then this could not have happened. Indeed most of the other cities they cite as superior have been losing residents to Houston for75 years straight. Demonstrated migration behavior trumps snobby, sour grapes every time.
smarterthanyou on Aug 01, 2023:
@K O houston has lower COL and higher wages than toronto. It also has Rice Univ, which is better than all universities in toronto

there is also more hatred towards Chinese people in toronto due to Chinese investment in real estate, which has driven up toronto real estate prices.

Also, other canadians that moved to texas have stated than texans are nicer than people in toronto lol
Gladys Sanders on Jul 22, 2023:
email to let me known if you even received or made the time to read this. Love
Anonymous on Jul 18, 2023:
To the commenter below. Houston doesn't have an unhealthy worship of right-wing politics; it's a blue city - don't apply Texas statements to one city. You're also making other sweeping generalizations with no data to back your bias.

I agree that you make a couple points, but going over the top with unfounded claims is just hard to read.
K O on Aug 28, 2022:
Houston will never compare to Toronto, known to be the most diverse city and the third-largest tech hub in the world.

Toronto: low crime rate, a reasonable amount of public transport, events like the Toronto International Film Festival, a strong appreciation for immigrants and global perspectives, polite and friendly, a city that is improving every day despite ongoing challenges, great 21st century economy

Houston: high crime rate, non-existent public transport, an unhealthy worship of guns and right-wing politics, a dislike towards outsiders (even from other states like California and New York!!!), low rates of education, rude and conceited for no reason, stagnant economy in favour of oil

Houston, diverse and worldly? Ha! It’s a glorified San Antonio.
Danie on Jun 03, 2022:
I've lived in the Houston area my whole life and I get why people don't like it. However no one is talking about the fact that Galveston is about a thousand times worse than Houston could ever be. I know that it's spread out I know it takes forever to travel from one point to another and there's basically no public transport to help you. Imagine that except on an island with more crime. I will never deny that Houston is a hell of a city to try to survive in but if it ever gets as bad as Galveston I'll leave the country.
HY on May 29, 2022:
I have lived in Houston for 4 years. Previously, I have lived in some cities in east and west coast.
The city is too big and scattered. Summer is hot and humid.
Yes without a car, you won’t enjoy living this city.
However, compared to other major US cities, Houston has more diversity and lower living cost.
You need to drive but if you do so, living here is comfortable, especially if you live in nice areas in Houston,
like river oaks, memorial, montrose etc.
Tina on Feb 26, 2022:
I am from a third world country and Houston honestly reminded me of home, and that is NOT a good thing. There is so much poverty, rundown buildings, homeless people, gang violence, and jobs that don't even pay living wages. The public transportation is somehow even worse than in my home country, the roads are bumpy and full of potholes, and the city is poorly organized and everything highly spread out. Last year I left Houston for Boston, and I do not regret that decision one bit. Really, Houston is a perfect example of what a first world city shouldn't be.

I didn't leave a third world country to go to a third world city like Houston.
Cory on Sep 05, 2021:
I came from California (Bay Area) to Texas back in 2017, first to Austin and now in Houston since last year. Austin wasn't as nice as the Bay Area but still okay. Houston has been a horrible experience so far. The cost of living is lower but so is the standard of living here. Jobs here pay only about half of what they do back in California, the traffic in Houston is a nightmare. I spend about an hour driving wo and from work and there isn't much public transportation. It is unbearably hot most of the year, there is more poverty and homelessness here than even in San Francisco, and the crime here is absolutely horrible.

If you are going to come to Texas for whatever reason, stay away from Houston! Austin is okay, but Houston is a nightmare!
Citizen on Mar 17, 2021:
The idea that Houston's economy is among the strongest is overrated. GDP per capita is either stagnant or declining. It's only recently that a few tech companies have expanded operations in Houston, so Houston is behind in that regard. The local economy is still at the mercy of Big Oil, even if there has been some diversification in the last 30 years. And the relatively lower cost of living doesn't necessarily mean better living standards, as Houston's income inequality is on par with New York and the San Francisco Bay Area, two areas that are notoriously expensive. Loads of people still struggle to make ends meet.

I wonder why people think Texas is a safe state, when Houston is pretty dangerous. The Houston murder rate may be lower than Chicago, but it is higher than New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, and Boston, not to mention a myriad of cities in the rest of the developed world. Also, robbery and car theft are rampant; the rate of these crimes are not even low in affluent parts of the city. And the road rage shootings are ridiculous. Does anyone remember when a toddler was in hospital because a motorist shot at a car with fireworks in it, and the little boy was inside the said car? Unfortunately, events like this aren't rare in Houston, and are all but treated as a fact of life.

Liberal and progressive place, are you kidding me? Aside from the lack of protections for the LGBTQ community (which every major city has already without a problem), it's still seemingly acceptable to wave the Confederate flag here in 2021. I think I saw the battle flag a few times this past year (on the road and in the store) when getting groceries. Conservative evangelical beliefs rule the way of life here. You still cannot buy liquor on Sunday. There are no radio stations for classical music or eclectic music, but there are several Christian radio stations all over the dial, both in English and Spanish. KTRH (home of Rush Limbaugh, Michael Berry, and Sean Hannity) is a wildly popular radio station, while the local NPR station (KUHF) is low in the ratings. Joel Osteen is still revered by large swaths of the population. And it's not like the residents of Alief, Sharpstown, Acres Homes, Energy Corridor, and Greenspoint are "liberal", given that they are still conservative when it comes to LGBTQ rights and reproductive rights. In fact, there are lots of Donald Trump supporters in Alief and Sharpstown (yes, it's true, look at a voting precinct map). Oh, and there's no train of any kind to IAH or any of the populous, "fast-growing" suburbs.

Seriously, it's going to take more than Cajun pho to fix all of this.
Fred on Mar 10, 2021:
I have been living in Houston since 2014 and I can tell you from experience that while the overall cost of living is lower in Houston compared to many other US cities, the average wages are also lower, so it really doesn't matter. While the Houston economy is considered "strong" thanks to the energy industry, the quality of life here is pretty low. There is a lot of poverty, lots of homeless people, lots of violent crime (more than any other major city I have lived in), bad public transportation, poorly maintained roads, garbage on the streets and sidewalks, and many parts of the city have a horrible smell.

Overall, I would say that Houston is definitely not worth it. Both New York and Boston are far better options in my experience.
Anonymous on Jul 01, 2020:
I am a new comer to Houston from Chino Hills, CA. I must say Houston is a very nice place to live, people are friendly, weather is not as dry as Southern California. There are many interesting and unique restaurants in Houston that I didn't find in CA. The only thing that I wish it can be better is the road condition. Other than that, Houston is just great! People I met from California who have just moved to Houston for the past few years have told me they like the city and glad that they moved here, including receptionist I met at Tesla service center, banker I met at Chase.

The only thing I wish it can be better is the road conditions of some places. Other than that, it just great! People told me gasoline in Houston is cheap, and much cheaper than LA. For me, it doesn't matter much since my car doesn't need it.
Anonymous on Feb 06, 2020:
I was born in Houston, but I have spent most of my adult life travelling and I have lived in many places throughout the world. I can honestly say that living in Houston is like living in a 3rd world country. The roads are horrible, many areas are rundown, the crime rate is horrible, infrastructure is poorly maintained, and there is a lot of poverty. The skyline in downtown looks impressive and there are a few good neighborhoods, yes. But overall the city is rundown and poor with a lot of crime and a ton of other problems. The people are easily the rudest I have known in the world.

Here in the US, I have lived in Houston, Edison (New Jersey), New York, Boston, Chicago, Burlington (Vermont), Greensboro (North Carolina), Lansing (Michigan), Pittsburgh, and Portland (Oregon). Even though Houston is my home city and I am supposed to love it, the fact is that it is the worst city in the US that I have lived in. In fact, I have been to places in third world countries that are better than Houston. People like to say that Houston is growing, but most of the people coming to Houston are people from third world countries (mostly Central America and Africa) that can't afford to live anywhere better than Houston. A lot of the immigrants I have known in Houston have told me that they don't want to stay there and want to move some place else like Austin, San Diego, or New York.

Bill on Jan 29, 2020:
In my 58 years of life, I have lived in 6 cities; Houston, Boston, New York City, Portland, San Diego, and abroad in Montreal. The 8 years I lived in Houston from 2011 to 2019 were easily the most miserable of my life. The city is a bit cheaper, yes. But, wages are also lower and this really shows when you see all the homeless people and crime in the city. Houston had the highest crime rate of any city I had lived in. In fact, in my first year in Houston I was the victim of a hit and run and I was jumped by gangsters. Despite taking extra precautions after, I still ended up being the victim of yet another assault and a theft later on.

Horrible crime aside, as previous comments have mentioned Houston has a horrible public transportation system and the city is heavily sprawled out, so you will need a car. Traffic in Houston is the worst I have seen and the drivers are the craziest I have seen. Lots of road rage incidents too and it seems that a lot of people in Houston drive while drunk or high, so be very careful on the road. Racism is definitely more common in Houston than the other cities I have lived in.

For the most part, Houston is a boring city compared to the others I lived in. The parks are fifthly, most parts of the city are ugly, and its unbearably hot most of the year.

0/10 (I definitely do NOT recommend Houston)
Rajesh on Jan 11, 2020:
Can I just say something? So I lived in 3 cities in United States with family for business for 5 years. Houston was my first city and after that we live in Boston and New York City. Houston was only city of the three we did not like. We had to buy a car because there is no public transport and traffic was a nightmare worse than even New York traffic. People in Houston were also much rude and there is not much to do in the city besides eat at bad for your health resturants. Houston is boring place. Lots to do in New York and Boston but not Houston. Lots of racism and crime in Houston too. Houston have more crime than New York and Boston. Horrible place. My wife and daughter got harrassed and threaten by thugs in Houston, never in New York or Boston. Glad we don't live in Houston anymore. Bad place.
Craig Jackson on Jan 03, 2020:
There seem to be a lot of hateful comments here towards Houston, and Houstonians in fact, which is unfortunate.

I have lived in different times of life in Santa Ana CA, Seattle, Chicago, Manila, central and eastern Philippines, Bogotá, Medellín Colombia and Baja California. I have visited many countries in both hemispheres over decades including extensive travel in Asia, Europe and former Soviet regions.

I have never been assaulted during the 35 years spent living in Houston. With that being said I know there are sketchy areas to avoid and plan accordingly. Maybe there is a bit of local wisdom that is in play. You will find trouble here if you are looking for it.

You will need a vehicle to get around if you’re visiting. Ride sharing services have helped ease the bad public transit but I wouldn’t consider it a long term solution. You will need a car to get around here. People are coming here in droves from NY, California, Chicago, New Orleans and from cities all over the globe. A few coworkers have come from LA, SFO and NYC and are happy to be buying their first homes. I work everyday with people like this. Some of them are thankful to be here, but I would say that most want to change it into their personal version of utopia. I have been around the world enough to know that I respect a place for what it is and if I don’t like it there are countless other options where I can live. Your life is what you make it to be.

Houston is a working city. It’s not a tourist destination. This is big oil’s backyard, literally. That probably explains why everyone drives here and why there is weak public transit programs. While there’s a lot more here to do now than there was 30 years ago, it’s not on par with other large metropolitan cities with outdoor entertainment options. It is indeed unbearably hot here about half of the year! So you’d better go for that run early in the morning or get yourself a gym membership.

Rent has historically been cheaper here, however within the last 10 years it has shot up at least 50% in some inner city areas like Montrose and Houston Heights.

Racism is everywhere and in every society I have visited and lived in. I have visited a first world Asian country that is openly racist. Regarding racism, It is also present here and it comes from all races. I think you’re more likely to encounter racism in the far suburbs of Houston, and ethnically homogenous community clusters. Houston is a huge melting pot and if someone is racist then my opinion is that they brought those beliefs with them from wherever they originated, which, honestly, could have been Houston 60 years ago. Times are different now.

Texas is a conservative state and Houston is a blue city. You may have seen Al Green, Sheila Jackson Lee and Lizzie Fletcher in the news. They are prominent democrats who represent Houston in the House.

- Craig, proud Houstonian. God bless you all and happy travels!
Jake on Dec 23, 2019:
I grew up in Chicago, but have spent the last 6 years living in Houston and I hate it here. Houston has horrible public transportation, it floods easy, the traffic is a nightmare, there is next to no nice scenery, the heat is unbearable, the roads are horrible, and the crime is pretty bad. At least back in Chicago the violence is pretty much confined to the southside while in Houston it is almost everywhere. 28 years growing up in Chicago, I was never a victim of a single crime. 6 years living in Houston, I have been a victim of 3 crimes including 2 assaults.

Apparently Houston is America's largest hub for human trafficking and drug trafficking. STAY AWAY FROM HOUSTON!!!
Anonymous on Dec 07, 2019:
I moved to after Hurricane Ike in 2008. The cost of living had increased since Hurricane Harvey, however your pay rate may not increase. This is Very diverse City. Yes they have racist here along with crime but what city doesn't? There are some pricey areas to live in. Houston has a lot of beautiful and photogenic areas. They have alot of free family fun. Houston has alot of parks that safe and animal friendly. Human trafficking has gotten really bad or more awareness was brought to it in the last couple of years. It has not always been like that. The traffic is definitely bad but that Washington DC or Virginia I thought that for sure. We do have alot of immigrants but is nice to know other cultures. They various festivals and culture events to promote the diversity of the city. It is definitely not any real ghettos or projects in Houston. Also guns are everywhere not just in Houston. Yes Texas is a very conservative State. There are good and bad people everywhere you go in this city. Gangs just don't fun wild or have gang wars everyday like Chi-Raq. The school system is not so good unless your kids go to a private school or outside of HISD. Far as public transportation goes we have the literail or the metro bus. All and all I believe Houston is a nice place to live with alot of diversity in food and cultures.