Because they’re both located in Texas, it might seem that Houston and Dallas are quite similar.

However, although these cities have many things in common, they also each have distinct cultures and offer something different.

If you are planning a trip to Texas or perhaps move there, this article will compare the cities of Houston and Dallas giving you the information you need about both cities.

houston vs dallas


Key takeaways

  • Both Houston and Dallas are located in Texas, USA.
  • Houston is almost double the size of Dallas.
  • Houston has around 1 million more people than Dallas.
  • Real estate in Dallas is slightly higher than in Houston.
  • Income and cost of living are similar in both cities.
  • The climate in both cities is considered to be humid and subtropical.
  • Both cities have a large education system.
  • There are professional sports leagues in both cities.
  • Several methods of transportation are available in both cities.

World Location

Both Houston and Dallas are located in Texas, in the United States. Dallas is located in the northeastern part of the state, while Houston is located in the southeastern part.

Dallas is situated near several other major cities, including Fort Worth and Arlington. Houston is located very close to the Gulf of Mexico and lies close to Galveston and Trinity Bays.

map of texas

Size

Dallas is 385.9 square miles in size. About 339.604 square miles is land, and 43.87 square miles is water. Houston is about double Dallas’s size. It’s 671.67 square miles. About 640.44 square miles of that is land, and 31.23 square miles is water.

Population

Houston has the largest population of any city in Texas, and it’s the fourth largest in the U.S. As of 2020, the city had a population of about 2,305,000 people, and the greater metropolitan area was home to 7,122,200 people.

Dallas is the third largest city in Texas in terms of population. It’s home to about 1,304,400 people, and the metropolitan area is home to 7,637,400 people.

population chart houston vs dallas

Real Estate

The average cost of a home in Dallas is $430,000. Some people, however, feel that this statistic is high, as it takes into account very large homes that can cost millions of dollars.

Some experts believe that a better approximation of average home price, taking into account only homes in the median price tier, is about $337,000.

Real estate in Houston is somewhat less expensive. The average cost of a home is about $330,800, although a home in the median price tier is more likely to cost an average of $272,000.

Cost of Living

In Houston, a single person can expect to spend about $912 per month on living expenses, not including rent or a mortgage. A family of four will usually spend about $3,240 per month.

The cost of living in Dallas is very close to that of Houston. A single person will spend about $1,034, while a family of four will spend about $3,723. These prices do not include rent or a mortgage.

real estate and cost of living charts

Income

A single person in Dallas can expect to make an average annual salary of $31,975. The average yearly salary for a household is $54,747.

In Houston, a single person can expect to make an annual salary of $30,440, and a household will have an average annual salary of $53,600.

Languages

The official language of both Dallas and Houston is English. In Dallas, Spanish is also an incredibly common language. Only about 57% of all Dallas residents speak only English, and about 37% speak Spanish.

Spanish is also very common in Houston. Other commonly spoken languages in the city include Vietnamese, Arabic, French, Hindi, and Chinese.

Spanish and English words on a chalkboard
Spanish and English words

Weather

The climate in Dallas is classified as humid subtropical. Summers are hot and relatively dry, with average temperatures in the 90s.

July and August are the warmest months, and temperatures often reach into the high 90s or low 100s. Winters are usually relatively mild, although temperatures below freezing aren’t unheard of.

city picture of dallas texas
Dallas, Texas

Both summers and winters are relatively humid, with humidity levels around 65%. The winter months see more rain than summer, and the city gets about 38 inches of rain in total each year.

Dallas is located at the lower edge of Tornado Alley. This means that the area is prone to frequent, often highly destructive, storms.

Thunderstorms are the most common storm, and these storms often feature hail or dramatic lightning. Tornados also happen occasionally, and spring is the most common season for these storms.

Houston also has a humid subtropical climate. The summers in Houston are long and very warm, with temperatures reaching over 90 degrees for almost half of the year.

Because of the area’s high humidity, the weather can feel even warmer, and summer days are often sticky and stifling. Winters are generally mild, but the temperature does occasionally drop below freezing.

Houston is too far south to qualify as part of Tornado Alley, but the area does see its fair share of large storms. Supercell thunderstorms are relatively common, and the occasional tornado does form.

city image of houston texas
Houston, Texas

Food

Like much of the United States, the cuisine of Houston is a mix of many different cultures, plus American staples.

Houston is also well-known for its Tex-Mex dishes, such as breakfast burritos or tacos, fajitas, cheese enchiladas, and chili. Because of its proximity to Louisiana, Cajun foods are also very popular. Crawfish, boudin, jambalaya, and gumbo are all common dishes.

Some of these dishes have been blended with other cultures. For example, crawfish in a Vietnamese-Creole style is a signature dish in Houston.

In the early 2010s, barbecue began to gain popularity in Houston. Briquet and pulled pork are common Houston meals, and barbecued meats are often used in the area’s Tex-Mex dishes.

Other traditionally southern dishes, such as chicken and waffles, are also popular.

Dallas is also known for its excellent Tex-Mex cuisine, especially chile con queso, fajitas, and chimichangas. Dallas also has strong ties to traditional southern foods such as chicken fried steak and pecan pie.

Barbecue and other grilled items, such as jalapeno poppers, and Creole-influenced foods are also on most Dallas menus.

Dallas is also the birthplace of Frito pie. This surprisingly simple yet delicious pie is made by topping Fritos with chili, cheese, jalapenos, tomatoes, and whatever other chili toppings you prefer.

Tex-Mex dinner
Tex-Mex dinner

Education

Dallas has a very large school system and is home to dozens of colleges. The Dallas Independent School District is known for its academic excellence, and the colleges and universities in the area are some of the best in the country.

Dallas’s colleges include UT Southwestern Medical Center, Paul Quinn College, The University of North Texas at Dallas, and The University of Texas at Dallas.

Houston has 19 public school districts and is home to the largest school district in Texas. Houston also has over 300 private schools, many of which offer religious teachings as well as traditional subjects.

Rice University, one of the best and most selective colleges in the U.S., is located in Houston. Other colleges in Houston include Texas Southern University, Baylor College of Medicine, and the University of Houston. There are also three community college districts.

University of Texas
University of Texas

Sports

Football is one of the most popular sports in Texas, and Dallas is home to the Dallas Cowboys, one of the most famous NFL teams.

Dallas also has a Major League Baseball team called the Texas Rangers, a professional basketball team called the Dallas Mavericks, and a professional hockey team, called the Dallas Stars.

FC Dallas is the city’s Major League Soccer team, and the Dallas Wings are the professional women’s basketball team.

Houston’s professional baseball team is the Houston Astros. The city’s professional basketball team is the Houston Rockets, and the Houston Texans are an NFL expansion team.

Houston also has a professional soccer team, called the Houston Dynamo, and a professional women’s soccer club called the Houston Dash.

The city also has a professional rugby team called the SaberCats. Houston does not have a professional hockey team.

University of Texas football stadium
University of Texas football stadium

Transportation

Most people in Houston drive wherever they need to go. About 77% of all commuters drive to work. Houston’s metropolitan area has more than 25,000 miles of roads and about 2,500 miles of highways.

These many roadways, plus Houston’s radial highways and a beltway, keep traffic flowing and help to reduce congestion. Houston also has a light rail system, and many people in Houston have made a move to switch to biking or walking to work.

Houston has three large public airports, including the George Bush Intercontinental Airport.

Driving is also the primary mode of transportation for Dallas. Freeway loops around the city help to reduce traffic, directing the majority of congestion around or away from the city’s central region. The downtown parts of the city are also considered to be highly walkable.

Dallas is also home to several large airports, including the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Dallas Love Field, and Dallas Executive Airport.

The Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport is the biggest airport in Texas and the second-largest in the U.S.

highways around dallas texas
Dallas, Texas

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