Best Run Cities

Houston is one of the best-run cities in the nation, according to latest survey

Houston is one of the best run cities in the nation, study says

Houston downtown skyline day aerial
Houston ranks No. 5 on the latest WalletHub list of best run U.S. cities. Houston Public Media

People complain a lot about government, but several Texas cities get high marks for being run well. WalletHub's annual assessment of how efficiently some of America’s largest urban centers spend taxpayer dollars on certain key expenditure categories is out and Houston is near the top of the list.

Of the 78 most populated U.S. cities in the survey, Houston comes in at No. 5, up four notches from a year ago. Six Texas cities are in the Top 20, including Dallas (No. 7),  El Paso (No. 14), Austin (No. 16), San Antonio (No. 19), and Lubbock (No. 20).

As WalletHub acknowledges, the rankings were determined by the return on investment (ROI) cities received in only three key categories: education, police, and parks and recreation.

Not included were how well cities spent money on public transportation, infrastructure, and health because researchers were not able to find sufficient comparative data. However, researchers believe efficient spending in the key areas examined in the survey is a "strong indicator" that there is a high level of efficiency in other expenditure categories.

Houston ranks No. 1 in parks and recreation for the second year in a row, No. 21 in education and No. 24 in law enforcement, based on data collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, Trust for Public Land and WalletHub research. Houston fell in education (from No. 16 last year) but showed a marked improvement in the law enforcement category  (from No. 55 last year).

Overall rankings for other Texas cities in the survey: Fort Worth (No. 33), Garland (No. 34), Corpus Christi (No. 36) and Arlington (No. 40).