Pros & Cons of Living in San Jose vs Houston

So you want to move to Houston, TX huh? Well, hopefully, you’re coming out here because you want to and not because you have too. Even if you were forced to move, you’re going to love it anyway. Our diversity, job opportunities, cost of living, and this good ole southern hospitality is going to win you over. True, we don’t have y’all beautiful beaches or mountains, but who actually wants that nice stuff anyway?

Before I completely turn you off to Houston, let me get started. In this article, I’m going to show you how San Jose stacks up to the wonderful city of Houston. Let’s get the boring statistics out of the way first.

Population

San Jose ranks 10 in population with just over 1 million people. Houston is number 4 with 2.3 million. Now, don’t get discouraged with the amount of people because the city is so spread out that it doesn’t feel crowded at all. In fact, the Houston metro area which includes the suburbs is as big as Connecticut.

Demographics

Both cities are racially diverse so you won’t experience a culture shock. Here’s the population break down for San Jose: Asian- 35%, Hispanic- 32%, white- 27%, black- 3%. Houston: Hispanic- 45%, white-25%, black- 22%, Asian- 7%. The biggest differences are with black people and Asians; the numbers are almost reversed. Houston doesn’t have a large percentage of Asians here and there aren’t specific areas of the city that’s quote unquote Asian, but there still is a thriving community. For black people, you’re going to see a whole lot more of people that look like you here.

Weather

Both cities have over 300 days of sun so you won’t have to adjust when it comes to take part of the weather. But, there are noticeable weather differences especially during the summer. San Jose has warm, dry summers and wet, mild winters. The average temperature in summer is 82°F. In winter, it drops down to 42°F.

Houston has long, hot and humid summers and short, mild winters. Summers are 95°F with winters around 40°F. From about May to September, you’re going to be miserable. I’m not going to sugarcoat it. I’m giving it to you straight with no chaser.

Unless, you’ve lived in the Deep South, nothing I will say can prepare you for this heat and humidity. It can be unbearable at times and I grew up in Louisiana. The best thing I can compare it to is a steam room. Coming from that side of the country, you’re probably used to the sauna; that dry heat. Well, we have that wet, sticky type of heat that lasts way past the sun sets.

The winters are similar in that it gets down to the low 40s and we bust out the scarves, big coats, and boots while the people living up north are laughing at us. But I know deep know that’s an envious laughter because they’re out there dealing with snow and 15°F temperatures.

Employment

San Jose is recognized for its technology-based job opportunities from companies like Adobe, Google, and Facebook.

Houston is Energy Capital of the World and employs nearly a third of the country’s jobs in oil and gas extraction. It also has the Texas Medical Center (TMC), the largest medical city in the world. Dallas and Austin are the technology cities of Texas, but Houston is trying to get a piece of the tech pie. The city is making a strong push to diversify the economy even more and getting the Hewlett-Packard headquarters here is a step in the right direction.

Food

Both cities have a diverse population with a diverse food scene. But, the one thing San Jose lacks that Houston has is soul food. Although, the best soul food is a few hours away in Louisiana, Houston does a good job at replicating it.

There’s no way you’ll run out of places to eat. The city has over 10,000 restaurants. I’ve been here since 2012 and there are still places I want to try. Every month the list grows because new restaurants are always opening.

Entertainment

San Jose is the clear winner in outdoor activities because it has mountains and beaches. There are no mountains here. Not even hills. The land is as flat as a pancake. The closest “beach” we have here is Galveston and you WILL be disappointed. The beaches out here look like mud holes. Almost every year there are reports of flesh eating bacteria floating around in it.

Both cities have an abundance of parks with hiking trails, running paths, and picnic tables. But I doubt you’ll be spending too much time outside during the summer. Like San Jose, Houston has a lot of indoor activities like museums, concerts, sporting events, arcades, and many other things that you can do.

Traffic

We complain about the traffic in Houston, but you’re probably going to love it. According to Tom Tom’s Traffic Index of 2019, San Jose was the 84th worst city in the world when it came to traffic congestion. Houston ranked 224th. What that means for you is that you’ll get to spend more time home with your family instead of in your car. Hopefully, that’s a good thing. If you have a nagging spouse, leave them where they are. You won’t have any trouble finding someone else in the 4th largest city. I’m joking, but am I really?

Cost of Living

To say the cost of living for San Jose is high is an understatement. To help put things into perspective, San Jose comes in at 214.5 compared to Houston’s 96.5. A large part of the high cost of living is because the median home cost is around $1,000,000. In Houston, it’s $185,000.

I’ll be doing a detailed San Jose vs Houston cost of living comparison in the future.

Nightlife

When compared to all of things to do during the day, San Jose’s nightlife can be slim pickings. If like late nights filled with dancing and drinks, this city is for you. Houston has thousands of bars and clubs that stay open until 2 o’clock in the morning.

I have 2 gripes about the nightlife out here. The clubs do a poor job of promoting events. You sometimes don’t hear about it until a week after it’s over. The second gripe is there isn’t a designated area of the city where the majority of the clubs are located like Bourbon St in New Orleans or Nashville’s Beale St. That makes it harder to park your car or catch an Uber and get dropped off at the location to go club hopping.

Grocery Bags

I have a closet in my house full of grocery store bags. Why did I bring that up? I am telling you this because we aren’t charged for bags. In San Jose, you’re charged a minimum of 10 cents per bag. Although, not a huge deal breaker, I know it can be inconvenient at times. This is oil country; home to gas guzzling pickup trucks. We don’t give a hoot about the environment and global warming is fake. I’m joking. Although not as stringent as California, Texas does has renewable energy and environmental friendly initiatives.

Conclusion

How did I do? Are you now regretting the move? Overall, when it comes down to it, Houston isn’t that much different from San Jose. There are pros and cons with each city, but it boils down to your mentality and the things you like to do. In a city like Houston, the pros far outweigh the cons

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