Texas vs California - How Do They Compare?

If you’re considering a move to a warmer climate or you just want a change of pace, California, and Texas are both popular, appealing options.

However, although these two states have many similarities, they’re also quite different in terms of landscape, culture, and cost of living.

Comparing the two states can make it easier to choose the location that suits you best.

This article explores many of the similarities and differences between Texas and California including the following:

  • World location
  • Size
  • Population
  • Landscape
  • Environment
  • Weather
  • Real estate
  • Cost of living
  • Income
  • Education
  • Sports
texas vs california

Location and Size

Texas is located in the south-central part of the United States. Its southern edges border Mexico and the Gulf of Mexico.

The rest of the state is bordered by New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana. It covers 268,596 square miles, making it the second-largest state.

California is located on the west coast of the U.S. Its western edge borders the Pacific Ocean, and this gives the state almost 900 miles of coastline.

California also shares a border with Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and Oregon. California is 163,696 square miles in size.

USA map highlighting texas and california


Texas is also the second-most populous state in the U.S. It has a population of about 29,000,000 people.

Its largest city, Houston, is home to about 2,313,000 people. Austin, which is the capital, is home to just under 1,000,000 people.

California is the only U.S. state that’s more populous than Texas. It has a total population of about 39,000,000 people.

The capital of California, Sacramento, is home to about 503,000 people, while California’s largest city by population, which is Los Angeles, is home to just under 4,000,000 people.

texas vs california population chart

Landscape and Environment

Because it stretches so far north and because it has such a long coastline, the landscape in California varies greatly from region to region.

Parts of California’s southern regions are located in the Mojave Desert.

This includes Death Valley, which is one of the hottest and driest places on the planet. There are also large coastal forests and tropical regions.

The central region has a mostly Mediterranean environment. In the northern part of the state, there are large mountains and impressive forests.

California is also home to the famous redwood forests, which are found nowhere else on Earth.

death valley road sign

Like California, Texas has many diverse ecosystems thanks to its large size. Much of Texas is made up of prairies and plains. There are also large forests.

Marshes and wetlands can be found along the coast. Texas is also home to some mountain ranges.

The Post Oak Savannah is another important region. This stretch of oak trees and open fields is the transition zone between the Blackland Prairies in the western part of the state and the Piney Woods in the eastern part of the state.


Since it’s so large, the weather in Texas can vary from place to place. For the most part, summers are hot and humid. Winters can be mild or very cold.

In the more arid regions of the state, the weather can be dry, with little precipitation, for long stretches.

Other areas see frequent rain and may see snow during the winter. Along the coast, the weather is more tropical.

The weather in California also varies from place to place, and the weather and temperature can be drastically different in southern and northern California, even at the same time of year.

In the central and southern parts of the state, the weather is generally quite mild, with temperatures remaining warm and humid for most of the year.

Summer temperatures in the state’s desert regions can climb very high, reaching well over 100 degrees.

In the northern part of the state, some areas see mild temperatures throughout the year, while others, particularly those close to the mountains, experience cold winters with plentiful snow. Coastal temperatures, from northern to southern California, are usually milder.

California Beach at sunset
California Beach

Real Estate Costs

California has some of the most expensive real estate costs in the country, but the price of owning or renting a home varies from place to place in the state.

The median price of a home in California is about $800,000. In Texas, the median price of a home is about $350,000.

Expect to pay close to $113 per square foot for a home in Texas and $287 in California but this number can be much higher depending on location.

texas vs california infographic

Cost of Living

Like the cost of housing, the cost of living in California varies from city to city. In Los Angeles, a single person can expect to spend about $1,070 each month.

This number doesn’t include rent, but it does include things like groceries and electricity.

A person living in San Diego will spend almost the same amount, excluding rent or the cost of a mortgage. A single person living in San Francisco will probably spend about $1,340 a month.

In Houston, Texas, the cost of living is about $900 per month for one person, not including rent or a mortgage payment. The cost of living in Austin is about $950 per month for one person.

In Amarillo, which is in northern Texas, the cost of living per month for one person is about $760.

real estate and cost of living charts

Average Income

The average annual income for one person in California is about $33,700. For a household, the annual income is about $78,670.

In Texas, the average annual income for one person is about $31,000. The average annual household income in Texas is about $63,800.

In Texas, most people are employed in retail or customer service settings. In California, many people work in restaurants, as housekeepers, as construction workers, or in retail positions.


California is well-known for its outstanding colleges and universities, which include the University of California, Stanford University, Pepperdine University, and the California Institute of Technology.

Texas is also home to world-renowned colleges and universities, including Texas A&M University, Rice University, the University of Texas, and Baylor University.

Baylor University - Texas
Baylor University – Texas


California has many professional sports teams. They have three professional hockey teams, five professional baseball teams, including the Los Angeles Dodgers and Angels, three professional football teams, including the Los Angeles Rams, four professional basketball teams, and three Major League Soccer teams.

They also have one professional women’s basketball team and two National Women’s Soccer League teams.

Texas also has several professional sports teams. There are two professional football teams, including the Dallas Cowboys, two Major League Baseball teams, including the Texas Rangers, three professional basketball teams, one professional hockey team, and four professional soccer teams.

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