Moving To Dallas Texas? (The Truth About Living Here)

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The city of Dallas, Texas, is a beautiful, bustling metropolis. It’s the third-largest city in Texas and full of diverse people and experiences. If you’re moving to Dallas for business or pleasure, this guide will help you know what you’ll encounter before and during your time here.

A Little History of Dallas, Texas

Historically, Dallas, Texas, was a thriving business center and trading market thanks to railroads. It industrialized quickly in the 19th century, drawing in people from all parts of the state. Some things never change, it seems, as Dallas is still as busy and prosperous as ever.

However, history hasn’t always been the best for the South, especially Texas. The state was part of the Confederacy during the Civil War, and President John F. Kennedy was shot in the Downtown District of Dallas.

Often, people lump Dallas in with the nearby area of Fort Worth, Texas. While this isn’t inherently wrong, mainly thanks to the title of the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, this guide will go over only the Dallas area. Fort Worth is beautiful in its own way, but it isn’t Dallas.

Dallas is a buzzing epicenter of culture and diversity. It’s got incredible museums, restaurants, parks, shops, and so much more. When you move to Dallas, you get to experience all these incredible things whenever you want—you may never want to leave!

If you prefer living in a city with a large population, hot summers, and mild winters, Dallas is the place to relocate to. As we mentioned, Dallas is extremely close to Fort Worth, meaning travel by airplane is extremely easy if you ever need to leave the state.

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What Are The Neighborhoods in Dallas?

 

Dallas is a vast city and has the neighborhood numbers to match. There are many neighborhoods in total, including but not limited to:

  • Downtown Dallas
  • East Dallas/ Old East Dallas
  • Northeast Dallas
  • North Dallas/ Far North Dallas
  • Northwest Dallas
  • Oak Cliff Area/ Redbird
  • Oak Lawn
  • Southeast Dallas
  • Far South Dallas
  • South Central Dallas
  • Old South Dallas/ Fair Park
  • West Dallas

Some communities within these neighborhoods are exclusively residential or commercial, while others contain a mix of the two. Choosing a neighborhood that fits your personality and what you want out of the city will make sure you’re as happy as possible while living in Dallas.

Dallas, Texas, USA downtown plaza and cityscape at twilight.

Some neighborhoods have historic roots, while others are more up-and-coming. East Dallas is commonly referred to as the “Lake & Garden District,” while the Oak Lawn area is a popular destination for LGBTQ people to move, thus nicknamed “the Gayborhood.”

There are a variety of neighborhood styles found throughout Dallas, from urban to metropolitan. Oak Cliff is home to the Bishop Arts District, a place full of shopping, restaurants, bars, galleries, coffee shops, and much more. It may not be a secret to tourists, but it’s still worth the trip as a local.

The Design District of Downtown Dallas is also a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. If you enjoy the finer things, especially art and artisan brewing, you’ll want to live near the Design District. It’s full of art galleries, showrooms, and incredible restaurants and breweries.

One of the most historic neighborhoods in Dallas is Deep Ellum, located in Old East Dallas. Deep Ellum was a vibrant place full of culture and history but was unfortunately gentrified in the 1990s. Even though its impact has faded a bit, Deep Ellum is still considered one of the hearts of music in Dallas, Texas.

However, if you’re trying to wind down from the hustle and bustle of the city, there are Dallas neighborhoods for that as well. Places like Far North Dallas, North Dallas, and Mountain Creek are more accommodating to those who want to move away from the nightlife of the city.

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How Is The Job Market In Dallas?

 

Dallas has a good mix between local business and corporation business, with most of its economy funded by things like information technology, financial services, transportation, and telecommunications. There’s also a large market for retail positions.

The most in-demand jobs in the Dallas area include positions in the business, finance, and education fields. It also includes retail associates, sales associates, teachers, nurses, systems engineers, and accountants. Dallas is also full of start-ups looking to get their business off the ground.

The population of Dallas reached 1.3 billion in 2016, with the average resident being around 32 years old. The unemployment rate, as of October 2020, was 6.1%–a steady decrease from June 2020. However, these numbers are only partially indicative of Dallas’ actual job market, as the national unemployment rate is still in flux due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Industries

According to The Dallas Business Journal, the largest employer in North Texas for 2020 is Baylor Scott & White Health, with almost 24,000 local employees, followed by Texas Health Resources, Lockheed Martin, and University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

In 2019, Dallas ranked second on a list of the 12 largest metropolitan areas in the United States for jobs added and annual job growth. The top 10 industries in Dallas, Texas as of 2016 were as follows:

  • Healthcare and social assistance
  • Accommodations and food services
  • Food services and drinking places
  • Ambulatory health services
  • Restaurants and other eating places
  • Real estate (rental and leasing)
  • Real estate
  • Professional, scientific and technical services
  • Construction
  • Other services excluding public administration

As of 2019, Dallas is home to 24 Fortune 500 companies in its immediate vicinity and outskirts, including AT&T, Exxon Mobil, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Texas Instruments, Kimberly Clark, and McKesson.

According to the U.S. News & the World Report, the top industries in Dallas for 2019 were technology, financial services, and defense, and the largest employers were business, finance, and education-related.

Dallas, Texas commute early in the morning

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, local nonfarm employment in Dallas from August 2019 to August 2020 fell 3.7% compared to the national 7%. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ reports also show that out of the 12 largest metropolitan areas in the United States, Dallas had the second slowest rate of loss.

Like so many major cities, Dallas saw the greatest job loss in 2020 in leisure and hospitality positions, food services, and drinking places due to the coronavirus pandemic. These hard times are unfortunately common during the COVID-19 pandemic, but businesses will be sure to get back on their feet soon.

Top Companies to Work For

Out of the 100 Best Places to Work in North Texas for 2020, 56 Dallas businesses made the list. Some of the businesses included were:

  • Builders FirstSource: A manufacturer of building supplies whose corporate office is in Dallas
  • Children’s Health: A hospital specializing in pediatric care
  • Supreme Lending: A mortgage banker with a corporate office in Dallas
  • Balfour Beatty US: A construction company that’s a subsidiary of the London-based company of the same name
  • Transwestern: A commercial real estate company
  • Stream Realty Partners: Commercial real estate company
  • Pariveda Solutions: A consulting firm that specializes in technological strategy
  • DPR Construction: A national construction corporation with an office in Dallas
  • Match.com: A popular dating website with its headquarters in Dallas
  • CENTURY 21 Judge Fite Company: A real estate firm
  • Ryan.com: A professional tax service with a headquarters in Dallas
  • Rogers-O’Brien Construction: General contractor and construction firm in Dallas
  • Alston & Bird: An international law firm with an office in Dallas
  • LJA Engineering: A civil engineering firm in Dallas
  • Beaird Harris: An accounting firm located in Dallas
  • Gray Reed: A full-service law firm in Dallas
  • IMA (imacorp.com): A financial group located in Dallas

The company sizes range from extra-large to micro, encompassing all possible work populations. Additionally, some of these businesses have consistently made the list year after year, with Ryan.com making the list 10 consecutive years along with Pariveda Solutions for 7.

Also, given the inclusive and diverse atmosphere of Dallas, there are notable LGBTQ-owned businesses as well. Some of these popular Dallas businesses include Clearview Energy, Dezine News Accessories, FuseMind Inc., Waller Group Properties, and OBOX Solutions.

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How Is The Dallas Real Estate Market?

 

The real estate market constantly has ups and downs, and that’s no different in Dallas, Texas. Given the current economic climate because of COVID-19, real estate prices have trended upward, becoming more and more expensive. On average, Dallas home listings spend 36 days on the market.

As the real estate market has shown, though, what goes up must also come down. You’ll have to be sure to keep an eye on the market when it comes time for you to move to this fantastic city, but our information should give you an idea of how much you’ll need to purchase or rent a place in Dallas.

picture of a large single family home near dallas texas

According to Zillow, the typical value of Dallas homes are around $237,000. Zillow also found that Dallas home values have gone up 6.9% since last year, and they predict Dallas home values will rise 11.1% in the next year. Unfortunately, we can thank the pandemic for this rise in cost.

Additionally, Texas real estate taxes are the 5th highest in the United States. They are twice the average amount of taxes that homeowners in the United States pay, but this is because residents don’t pay income tax or state tax. The state must make up this money with a high real estate tax.

Thankfully, real estate agents are there to help buyers search for a home and navigate real estate taxes and mortgage rates. This is also why real estate agents (rental, leasing, or otherwise) make up such a large portion of the Dallas workforce.

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How Much Does It Cost To Live In Dallas?

 

Housing costs in Dallas are going up with the increase in property values and the increasing population. Still, it’s cheaper to live in Dallas than other major cities like Los Angeles, Boston, New York, or even Austin, Texas. However, the cost of living in Dallas, Texas, is still relatively cheap.

Rent in Dallas is fairly affordable compared to other big cities. The average rent for a two-bedroom in Dallas is around $1,491 a month. Rent in areas like Oak Lawn and Addison tend to be cheaper, and areas like the Design District and Uptown tend to be more expensive. Furthermore, a lot of apartments in Dallas are newly developed, so amenities are pretty nice for the price.

Like other major cities, Dallas is home to some high-end cocktail bars and pricey restaurants, but it’s also home to countless cheap taco stops and other more affordable restaurants. The average Dallas salary is around $42,000 a year, which fits the cost of living. Data shows that the cost of living in Dallas is 2% higher than the national average, with housing being 5% higher than the national average. The city is also home to a lot of good public schools.

According to the U.S. Census website, as of 2019, 14% of the population of Dallas County, Texas (which is the biggest county in the city of Dallas) were in poverty. This is 4% higher than the national average of 10.5%.

Food and Groceries

Grocery prices in Dallas, Texas, are 5% lower than the national average. Popular places to grocery shop and get the most bang for your buck include El Rancho Supermercado, H Mart, and WinCo as far as local chains go. Larger chains like Trader Joe’s and Aldi also offer savings.

picture of Family with shopping cart in Dallas Texas supermarket store

Entertainment, food, and drinks are also reasonably priced. As mentioned before, Dallas is full of both chain restaurants and local eateries that will satisfy any craving you may have at an affordable price. Plus, lots of restaurants are within walking distance of other unique attractions.

We can’t talk about food without mentioning the iconic food that originated in Texas. Southwestern cuisine was never the same after the birth of Tex-Mex—a combination of Texan and Mexican flavors to make some of the most flavorful food possible.

As you can probably guess, Tex-Mex consists of lots of cheese, meat (namely chicken, beef, or pork), beans, spices, and peppers, all (typically) wrapped up in a flour tortilla. This food isn’t only found in Dallas, Texas, but the most authentic, delicious versions are. It’s not something to eat every day, but it’s worth it.

Utilities

Utility prices in Dallas, Texas, are 4% higher than the national average. Housing expenses in Dallas are 5% higher than the national average. The average cost for an energy bill in Dallas is around $175 a month, and an average phone bill is around $186 a month.

Some Dallas residents choose their electricity provider on the Public Utility Commission website. Finding a provider is relatively simple–all you have to do is put in the zip code and choose one! If it helps, you can also answer some questions to narrow down exactly what kind of electric services you’ll need and help make your choice easier.

Other parts of Dallas, however, do not have the freedom to choose. These residents must use CoServ Electric. Before you move to your new home, you should contact the company 2-3 days prior to make sure your electricity is set up without a hitch.

Luckily for residents of Dallas, garbage collection, water, and sewage services are all handled by the city. You can call or visit this website to set up your account and begin your monthly billing cycle.

Some homes, apartments, and condos may require gas as well. Atmos Energy is the company to call to get your account set up, which can be done over the phone or online. However, make sure you call ahead of time, just like with your electric company, to make sure everything is turned on before your move-in date.

Transportation

Transportation expenses in Dallas are 1% lower than the national average. Local transportation is the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART.) The transit agency gets people where they need to go with a variety of different vehicles. There are buses, light rails, high-occupancy vehicle lanes, and commuter rails.

The DART light rail system is 93 miles long, making it the longest system in the United States. A one-way trip using DART transportation is $2.50, but you can also purchase Day Passes to get unlimited rides on any DART bus or train. This is especially helpful for those who must commute but don’t have a car.

Car insurance is more expensive in Dallas compared to other cities. This is because of a higher rate of accidents and traffic violations than other states, as well as more expensive cars being on the road.

The average auto policy in Dallas costs $2,457 a year. Still, it’s possible for residents to find a lower rate if you research and shop around with different carriers. Speaking of cars, gas is cheap in Dallas!

Driving in Dallas can also be a nightmare. Unfortunately, the city is known for congested traffic along miles and miles of highway stretches. Architecturally, however, Dallas’s freeway system is designed like a wagon wheel, commonly known as the hub-and-spoke system, which is pretty cool to see in action.

Healthcare and Medical

Dallas healthcare is 1% higher than the national average. That being said, healthcare is pretty expensive no matter where you live in the U.S. Additionally, just like there’s a large workforce of real estate agents, there are many people who live in Dallas and enter the medical field.

According to the U.S. Census website, 24% of Dallas County, Texas’ population under 65 years of age had no health insurance in 2018. With the cost of healthcare always rising (no matter the location!) it’s not surprising that so many people couldn’t afford to have it.

Taxes

In Texas, residents don’t pay local personal income taxes or state tax! However, residents do have to pay personal property taxes on auto and home, as well as sales tax. Residents of Texas pay some of the highest property taxes in the United States.

There’s no state income tax, although the state makes up the difference with higher property taxes. If you choose to rent, you don’t have to worry about this. The sales tax rate in Dallas is also slightly higher than the national average, at 8.25%.

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Is Dallas A Good Place To Retire?

 

People are drawn to Dallas for their retirement because of the affordable housing, low taxes, and of course, the mild winters. Out of the whole population of Dallas, 10.7% are over the age of 65.

The U.S. News & World Report has given high ratings to several Dallas hospitals, including Medical City Dallas, Baylor University Medical Center, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, and UT Southwestern Medical Center. All of these locations are known for their specialty services.

Dallas is also home to several home care services and facilities that can provide long-term care for seniors. The U.S. News & World Report ranked Dallas as #9 on their Best Places to Retire list. So, given Dallas’s healthcare reputation and mild winters—yes, Dallas, Texas, is a great place to retire.

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What Are The People And Culture Like?

 

Dallas is the ninth-largest city in the United States. Dallas is also the fourth largest metropolitan statistical area in the United States and full of art, culture, history, and business.

In 2018, Homes.com ranked Dallas as the #1 metropolitan area in the United States for family-friendliness. They based this on the cost of living, crime rate, availability of parks and childcare services, average commute times, and quality of K-12 schools.

Dallas has a relatively young population, with the average resident being 32.5 years old. More than a quarter of Dallas’s population is Latino or Hispanic, and 40% of the population speaks Spanish as their primary or secondary language.

The Dallas independent school district includes many specialized programs like the Two-Way Dual Language Program, which allows Spanish and English speakers to learn to read, write, and speak in both Spanish and English.

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What Are Popular Things To Do In Dallas?

 

There are so many things to do in Dallas! If you’re into sports, Dallas is home to many different sports teams. Football has the Cowboys (housed in Dallas’ own AT&T Stadium!), basketball has the Mavericks, hockey has the Stars, and soccer has FC Dallas.

AT&T Stadium, home to the NFL's Dallas Cowboys

If you want to further your higher education, Dallas, Texas, isn’t a bad place to relocate to. There are so many colleges to choose from, whether they’re private, public, or community level institutions. Some campuses are bigger than others, of course, and some may not have sports teams, so ultimately, it’s up to you to figure out which college would be the best fit for you.

There are the Dallas Museum of Art, built-in 1903, the Valley House Gallery and Sculpture Garden featuring modern artwork and a 4-acre garden, and the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum. The library also has a special exhibit on the history of U.S. elections. Dallas is also home to several amusement parks, including Bahama Beach Waterpark, Speedzone, and Zero Gravity Thrill.

The Texas Discovery Gardens at Fair Park are also a popular place to learn about nature. They’ve even got a Butterfly House and a native Snakes of Texas House. Because of its gorgeous scenery, it’s also a popular destination for proposals and weddings.

Given Dallas’ climate, it’s not surprising that the city maintains over 400 parks for residents to visit and enjoy. These parks include jogging trails, biking trails, recreation centers, picnic areas, and just about anything else you can think of when it comes to outdoor activities. There are also 17 different lakes throughout the parks!

Dallas also has a thriving LGBTQ community, meaning there are tons of LGBT-organized events throughout the year that anyone can participate in. Oak Lawn and Bishop Arts are the epicenters of the LGBT community in Dallas, and the annual Alan Ross Texas Freedom (Pride) Parade and Festival garners an audience of about 50,000 people per year.

Dallas is also home to The Dallas World Aquarium and Dallas Zoo, along with Six Flags Over Texas. There’s plenty to do in this massive city, whether you’re more inclined to stay indoors or outdoors at any given time. Just be sure to prepare if the weather is going to be scorching hot—which can definitely happen in Dallas.

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Pros and Cons of Living in Dallas

 

No place will ever be 100% perfect to live in, but if you live with enough pros, they definitely outweigh the cons. Dallas has some shining gems for reasons to live there, but of course, there can be some negative effects as well.

Pros

  • Dallas has more sunny days than the national average, with 234 sunny days per year! Summer days in Dallas can get up to 95 to 100 degrees, with humid days throughout June to August, but thunderstorms usually break up the heat—Dallas gets 39 inches of rainfall a year. January in Dallas hits lows of around 30 degrees, but cold periods don’t last long, and winters are usually mild.
  • The city has a rich history and tons of places to visit to learn more about the many cultures that thrive in Dallas.
  • There’s so much to do! Dallas is such a large city that you can explore it each day and still learn new things about it and find new places you hadn’t realized you’d previously missed.

Cons

  • Dallas is known for its traffic. Residents tend to have longer commutes than those from other major cities because of how spread out Dallas is. Dallas is also known for having some of the most congested highways in Texas.
  • You’re not going to see a lot of countryside or green areas in Dallas. Dallas is a large city by itself and is surrounded by several other large cities and suburbs.
  • The crime rate in Dallas is only better than 9% of other U.S. cities, with 32.38 property crimes per 1,000 residents and 7.75 violent crimes per 1,000 residents.
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Fun Facts About Dallas Texas

 

Dallas’ DART system allows residents to travel around Dallas via 120 bus routes and 72 miles of light rail. It can be difficult to navigate at first, so we advise new residents to purchase a DART pass and give themselves extra travel time for all the possible routes.

Lamar Hunt, the founder of the American Football League, coined the term “Super Bowl” in Dallas, Texas. Although the event was originally called the AFL-NFL Championship Game, the Super Bowl name stuck after Hunt used it in a letter to NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle.

German chocolate doesn’t come from Germany; it comes from Dallas! It’s named after the American chocolate maker Sam German, who developed the dark chocolate that was then used to create German chocolate cake, which was publicized in Dallas in 1957.

Dallas is home to the largest arts district in the United States. The Dallas Arts District is made up of 19 blocks of venues, galleries, and museums. Speaking of artisans, Mariano Martinez invented the frozen margarita machine in Dallas in 1971, popularizing Tex-Mex cuisine and increasing the demand for tequila.

Famous criminals Bonnie and Clyde were from Dallas, and they’re buried in Western Heights Cemetery. Additionally, the popular television program Barney and Friends was created in Dallas! Popular singers Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez were stars on the show as children.

Did you know 7-Eleven gas stations started in Dallas? Their headquarters remains there even today. And we can’t talk about Dallas, Texas, without mentioning the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders—the first professional cheerleading squad started in 1972!

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Final Thoughts About Dallas Texas

Now that you know all about the culture and nitty-gritty price points of living in Dallas, Texas, it’s up to you to decide if you can handle living in Dallas. Or, better yet, if the city can handle you. If you’re looking to move to a metropolis that’s got possibilities at every turn, Dallas may be the perfect place for you.

 

Further Reading: Looking For More Texas Resources? Check These Articles Out!

 

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