Houston vs Dallas: Where Should You Retire?

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A side-by-side image of Houston, Texas and Dallas, Texas.
Houston-vs-Dallas

6 minute read

What You’ll Gain From Reading This Article: Readers gain valuable insights into retirement options in Houston and Dallas, detailing their attractions, health care facilities, cost of living, and 55+ communities.


For retirees, Texas has a wealth of benefits. For example, all types of retirement income, including Social Security payments, are tax-free in the Lonestar State. There are also no inheritance or estate taxes imposed in Texas. Although property taxes can be high, there are a handful of exemptions you can claim, including a $10,000 exemption just for people 65 years old and up.

There are other benefits as well. First, Texas’s cost of living is lower than the national average. Also, the healthcare system is considered accessible and affordable for Medicare users. And Texas has many outdoor recreation opportunities, whether you like to fish, hike, ride horses, swim, or boat.

According to the 2020 US Census, Texas is number four on the list of states retirees are moving to. But which city is the best in the Lonestar State? When it comes down to Houston vs Dallas, each one has its benefits and charm. It can be hard to pick one over the other. Let us help you weigh some factors to decide which one is right for you.

The skyline over Dealey Plaza at dawn in Dallas, Texas.

Both Dallas and Houston are big cities. At first glance, it might look like Houston is the larger metropolis with 2.3 million residents. Dallas is listed as having a population of roughly 1.3 million, but that only tells part of the story. The greater metropolitan area, including Forth Worth and Arlington, has about 7.6 million people. In short, if you’re looking for a small-town feel, this may not be the city for you. However, if you’re drawn to the energy of a big city, Dallas could be exactly what you’re looking for. 

Although Dallas has a lot of young professionals living and working there, it’s also home to a large population of retirees. In fact, 16% of the population is 60+. There’s an active community of retirees to connect with and plenty of services to meet their needs. 

The city has lower property taxes than Houston and boasts more high-quality hospitals. You’ll find 26 hospitals per 100,000 residents—an impressive ratio. Having this many hospitals makes health care options easily accessible to residents.

Dallas skyline viewed from the Flooded Trinity River.

Dallas has plenty of outdoor recreation possibilities to keep you busy. There are ample greenspaces and trails for walking or biking. You can challenge yourself with a suburban hike in Cedar Ridge Preserve, only a mile from the city center. Another possibility is White Rock Lake Park, which offers many types of outdoor play, including sailing.

If you’re interested in experiencing the other joys of city life, take in the live music offerings at the House of Blues. You can also indulge your shopping habits at the Galleria Dallas. And don’t miss the Bishop Arts District, a neighborhood with an eclectic mix of street art, independent fashion stores, and a wide range of excellent dining.

A view of Downtown Houston on a summer night.

When comparing Houston vs Dallas, Space City is also big and bustling, with a population of 2.3 million. This makes it the fourth-largest city in the US, after New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. It has the same ratio of retirees as Dallas, with 16% of the residents being 60+. Although the property taxes in Houston are a little higher than in Dallas, the utilities cost less, and the housing costs are 16% lower, balancing out the living expenses.

The city has 17 quality hospitals that are in-network for Medicare per 100,000 residents. This is not as many as you’ll find in Dallas but still provides a dependable network of health care options.

A bench in Hermann Park in Houston, Texas on a sunny day.

Houston is very walkable or bikeable, with multiple places to enjoy the outdoors. Buffalo Bayou Park is right in the city, and it offers plenty of room to hike, ride your bike, or even go kayaking. If you want to hit the beach, Galveston is just a short drive away.

For cultured entertainment, check out the live performances at the Miller Outdoor Theatre. If you’re in the mood for a delicious meal out, the neighborhood known as The Heights offers a wide range of excellent cuisine to sample. There are plenty of high-end shopping areas to explore, but don’t miss the Historic 19th Street. You’ll find eclectic shopping outlets as well the Casa Ramirez Folkart Gallery or the Houston Toy Museum.

When considering Houston vs Dallas, it simply comes down to personal preference. One way to help tip the balance might be to tour some of the 55+ communities available in each city and see which ones appeal to you the most. Many people say they just feel at home in certain places, and it’s worth exploring how each city feels to you.

At 55places, we have established a nationwide network of expert real estate professionals who are well-versed in 55+ communities. We are here to help you find the perfect home for you as you explore the next stage in your life. Contact us today, and we’ll connect you with a local real estate agent who can help you find the right community in the right city!

Discover what’s next.

To learn more information or connect with a real estate expert, contact us today.

Can you spot the $207,744 difference between these identical homes?

Financing is the difference!

Get the details in The 62+ Loan Homebuyers Guide.

55places Mortgage is a joint venture between Mutual of Omaha Mortgage and 55places.com.
Details here.

We're here to help! (800) 928-2055

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I agree that 55places and its affiliates, partner providers or agents may call, text, or email me about my inquiry, which may be made with automated means. I understand that my consent is not a prerequisite for buying a property. I may revoke my consent at any time by contacting optout@55places.com. Message/data rates may apply. I also agree to 55places.com’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

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