New arrivals to Houston may find this former Western Frontier's urban sprawl overwhelming at first. For starters, it is the fourth-largest city in the US, and the wider metropolitan area has a population of more than 7 million people. That said, Houston has much to offer its residents, from a low cost of living and plenty of job opportunities to a warm climate and endless things to see and do.
Living in Houston as an expat
The city has undergone a revitalisation in recent years that's engendered a buzz of innovative restaurants, quirky art galleries and a cultural consciousness that's transforming blighted neighbourhoods into attractive residential and entertainment areas. As a result, newcomers to Houston will find that the city is what they make of it.
Those coming to work can take comfort in an economic climate that's known for its enterprising spirit. The energy capital of Texas is home to several Fortune 500 companies and, aside from oil and gas, sectors like IT, business services, aerospace, medical and biotechnology attract workers from around the world.
Its extensive system of superhighways makes getting around effective but not always so efficient. Rush hour traffic is admittedly an issue. New arrivals are likely to need their own car since public transport is slow and doesn't extensively service the Greater Houston area.
Healthcare in Houston is excellent. Boasting one of the best medical centres in the world, Houston attracts people from around the country seeking medical treatment. It has been said by many locals and newcomers alike that, if they get sick, Houston is the place to be.
Cost of living in Houston
Whether they're moving to Houston with kids or relocating on their own, newcomers will enjoy the relatively low cost of living, inexpensive accommodation and the well-maintained infrastructure. Although Houston is one of the USA's major capitals, it is far cheaper than the likes of New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles. With almost everything being more affordable in Houston than other parts of America, newcomers will have more money to spend on enhancing their quality of life and lifestyle in the Texan capital.
Expat families and children
Houston's school system is large enough to satisfy even the most demanding parents. The city has plenty of public school options, including magnet and charter schools, as well as private and international schools for newcomers looking for an easier school transition.
Many newcomers are surprised to find that the city is bursting with greenery. With tree-lined streets, urban forests and manicured parklands in and around its neighbourhoods, families will certainly be able to find a spot to enjoy on a sunny day. What’s more, the city boasts plenty of entertainment options and numerous annual festivals for the whole family. Galveston Bay's beaches and lakes also aren't far away for those wanting to get out of the city for the day.
Climate in Houston
New arrivals may have trouble adjusting to the spiking humidity and high temperatures in Houston. Summer days can especially be sweltering. Luckily, there are plenty of places to cool off as air conditioning is available almost everywhere, and the mild winters make up for any weather-related discomfort in June, July and August.
As the city is what you make of it, those who make an effort to adjust and enjoy their new life in Houston will truly be able to make the most of the high standard of living it offers its residents.