When it comes to city rankings, Houston is used to being on top. In the past few months alone, the Bayou City has been lauded as one of the best places for milennial workers, and Houston is even one of the top cities to celebrate the Fourth of July. But in the latest race for municipal bragging rights, it's Houston's suburbs that are taking the spotlight.
Personal finance site WalletHub recently released a report ranking the best and worst cities for Texas families. Houston did not break the top 50, but its suburbs' relatively low costs of living helped propel them to the top of the list.
Although communities in the Dallas-Fort Worth area dominated the top rankings, several Houston suburbs cracked the top 25, including Sugar Land (No. 12); Lake Jackson (No. 15); Friendswood (No. 19), and League City (No. 23).
Also in the top 50 were Missouri City (No. 40) and La Porte (No. 43).
Somewhat surprisingly, Houston, coming in at No. 116, ranked far below Fort Worth (No. 62); Austin (No. 66); El Paso (No. 83); San Antonio (No. 98), and Dallas (No. 109).
The rankings were formulated by comparing data in the 117 largest Texas cities using four key categories:
- Family life and fun
- Education, health, and safety
- Socioeconomic environment
Within each category, metrics ranging from high school graduation rates to density of pediatricians were scored on a scale of 0-100, then weighted according to importance.
Houston tied other large cities for most attractions. But, as perhaps a warning to civic leaders, Houston scored bottomed out on education, health, and safety — ranking 117 out of 117 — and violent crime rate (115 out of 117). Meanwhile, the low cost of living in the Houston suburbs, plus a winning socioeconomic environment, helped surrounding Space City towns shine.
The report also has a helpful tidbit for Houston suburban families: Sugar Land ranks third among Texas towns with the lowest divorce rate.