Moving to El Paso

Combine a beautiful climate, a low cost of living, the amenities of a cosmopolitan city, the wonders of nature and you have El Paso, TX. Located on the border of Mexico and New Mexico, this city is known for its multi-cultural presence. No state income tax, low housing costs, and a strengthening economy add up to a reasonable cost of living.

The wonderful weather and the Franklin Mountain Range, Hueco Tanks State Park, and the Rio Grande mean there are lots of opportunities for outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, camping, climbing, and white-water rafting. Local parks and recreational facilities offer swimming, playgrounds, sports fields and opportunities for walking, jogging, and family outings. If you’re looking for cultural activities, look no further than the El Paso Museum of Art, the El Paso Museum of History, El Paso Symphony, and the El Paso Chamber Music Festival. Check out the shows and events at the Plaza Theatre and the Abraham Chavez Theatre. Visit the famous Sun Bowl, or head to the Don Haskins Center for college basketball, concerts, and other events. History buffs will appreciate the Fort Bliss Museum, Old Ironsides Museum, as well as the Border Patrol Museum.

Whatever your passion, you’ll find it in El Paso.

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Living in El Paso, TX: What to Know Before Moving to El Paso

With a population of over 670,000, El Paso is a large growing city near the border of Texas and New Mexico. El Paso’s location on the Rio Grande River across from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and near the Franklin Mountains gives the city varied and interesting topography. The low real estate costs and no state income tax make El Paso attractive to newcomers.

Pros and Cons of Living in El Paso

Any city has its ups and downs. These pros and cons will give you an overall view of what life in El Paso is like.

Pros

  • Cost of living. El Paso’s cost of living is over 12 percent below the national average.
  • Real Estate. Real estate costs are low, with a median home price well below the national average.
  • Climate. Lots of sun, mild winters with little snow, plus summertime temps in the high 90s make for a dry, four-season climate. Extreme weather is rare.
  • Short commute. The average commute is just 22 minutes.

Cons

  • Isolation. Hundreds of miles from other sizeable cities, El Paso can seem isolated.
  • Crime. The crime rate is above the national and state averages.
  • Climate. Here it is again but as a negative. Some people don’t like hot summers.
  • K-12 Education. Per student spending is well below the national average. School ratings vary significantly among schools in the four school districts.

Tax Rates

  • Income Tax: Texas has no state income tax—one of only seven states that can say this!
  • Property Tax: El Paso County’s average property tax rate of 2.128% is higher than the statewide rate of 1.931% and the national rate of 1.211%. Property tax on a house worth $124,900 – the median home value – would be $2,658, more than the state average of $2,412.
  • Sales Tax: The combined sales tax rate for El Paso is 7.25%. This rate is a result of the combined state rate of 6.25%, the county rate of 0.5%, and a special assessment of 0.5%.

Housing Market

With low housing costs, it’s easy to see why most El Paso residents are homeowners. According to bestplaces.net the median home price of $124,900 is well below the US average of $219,700. Over the last ten years, home values have appreciated 6.4%, well behind the national average of 28.2%. For the past 12 months, home appreciation in El Paso is up 5.3%, compared to 7.7 % for the US overall.

The median age of El Paso real estate is 35 years old. Renters make up just 37.6 % of the El Paso population. Median rent for a 1- bedroom apartment is $681, and for a two bedroom, it’s $829. Year-over-year change in rental cost is only 0.1 percent

According to homesnacks.net, the cheapest neighborhoods in El Paso include United, Eagle, Central, Stoneridge, Lower Valley, Cielo Vista, Carpenter,  East Side, Las Palmas, and North Hills.

Cost of Living

El Paso’s cost of living is 12.8% lower than the national average. Lower housing costs account for most of the difference. Bestplaces.net rates El Paso’s cost of living index at 87.2. By comparison, the United States’ cost of living index is 100, while Texas’ is 101.8. The annual cost of living for a family of four is $66,634. The average household income in El Paso is $42,037 a year, compared to the US average of $53,482 a year. Cost for groceries, health care, housing, and utilities are all rated below the national average, with transportation slightly above.

Weather & Natural Disasters

Bring your sunglasses and sunscreen – El Paso has 297 sunny days per year. In general, El Paso temperatures range between 34°F and 97°F and rarely dip below 24°F or above 104°F. Low rainfall and less than three inches of quickly disappearing snow per year mean that you’ll be living in quite a dry climate. Of the 10” of rain that falls annually, most of it comes down from July to the end of September. You really won’t need your umbrella from around October through June. Short winters last from mid-November to mid-February during which you’ll need a sweater by day and a coat at night. Low temperatures usually hover around 34. The hottest months are mid-May through mid-September when your average daily high will be above 89°F.

Extreme weather is rare. US News and World Report named El Paso as one of The 10 Cities Most Safe from Natural Disasters. Although central Texas gets its share of damaging tornadoes, the risk of damage from a tornado in El Paso is rare.

Economy & Job Market

While the unemployment rate is 4.2%, just above the national average of 3.9%, recent job growth is positive. El Paso jobs have increased by 1.87% over the past year. The region’s top industries include retail; education; health; social service; accommodation and food services; and public administration. The top job providers are in healthcare; education; business and trade services; telecommunications; and international trade.

Fort Bliss, with over 40,000 civilian and military employees, is the top employer. Top private sector employers are Sierra Providence Health Network, Tenet Hospitals Limited, El Paso Healthcare System, and Automatic Data Processing, Inc. Top public sector employers include El Paso’s school districts, El Paso city and county governments, T&T Staff Management, University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), Dish Network Technical Support Center, and Alorica Inbound Customer Service.

There are also job opportunities with U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Over 70 Fortune 500 companies headquartered in El Paso add to the economy’s health. The area has seen growth in engineering and technology thanks to several large companies based in the area.

Traffic and Transportation

At 22.7 minutes, El Paso’s one-way commute is shorter than the US average of 26.4 minutes, even as the typical American commute gets longer. Over 80% of El Pasoans drive to work, but many carpool or work from home. Just 1.7% take mass transit. El Paso’s mass transportation system, Sun Metro, serves more than 15 million passengers a year. The transit system also includes a streetcar that travels a 4.8-mile route in two loops through El Paso’s uptown and downtown areas.

While construction to improve the downtown area can cause traffic back-ups, the low average commute time demonstrates that traffic is generally manageable. Major thoroughfares include two interstates: west-east I-10 and south-north I-110. The main El Paso US highways are west-east US-54, west-east US 62, south-north US 85, and west-east US 180.

According to www.walkscore.com, El Paso is a moderately walkable city with a walk score of 41, a transit score of 31, and a bike score of 39. You will likely need a vehicle to get around.

What to Do

There are plenty of fun adventures awaiting you in El Paso!

City or State Parks

  • Franklin Mountains State Park. America’s largest urban park measures more than 24,247 acres and covers 37 square miles.
  • Hueco Tanks State Historic Park. Spanning more than 860 acres, this park is named for the large rock basins or “huecos” that supply water to the region.
  • Scenic Drive Overlook. Enjoy the magnificent views from scenic drives atop the Franklin Mountains.

Attractions/Notable Destinations

  • Fort Bliss and Old Ironsides Museums. The museum features the 168-year history of Fort Bliss in El Paso and the history of the US First Armored Division. Exhibits include over 40 tanks and other armored vehicles.
  • Magoffin Home. This home is El Paso’s only historic house museum.
  • El Paso Zoo. The 35-acre zoo is home to exotic animals from around the world. It includes attractions like the African Star train, the Hunt Family Desert Spring, and the Foster Tree House Playground.
  • El Paso Museum of Art. The 5000-piece collection includes works by European artists and a collection of contemporary art from the southwestern United States and Mexico.

Professional Sports Teams

El Paso hosts the Locomotive professional soccer team and the Chihuahuas minor league baseball team.

Other Popular Venues

  • The Don Haskins Center is the home of University of Texas basketball and a venue for concerts and other shows.
  • Sun Bowl Stadium hosts the famous Sun Bowl each year.

For more information on things to do and see in your new El Paso home, go to:

Schools and Universities

El Paso public schools spend $9,064 per student, well below the US average of $12,383. There are about 15 students per teacher in El Paso. Rankings vary widely by school and by the district. For a detailed overview of school rankings in El Paso’s school districts go to https://texasschoolguide.org/school-rankings/

Four independent school districts serve El Paso students in pre-k through high school:

  • El Paso Independent School District (60,047 students | 92 schools)
  • Socorro Independent School District (45,269 students | 48 schools)
  • Ysleta Independent School District (42,266 students | 61 schools)
  • Clint Independent School District (11,712 students | 14 schools)

If you or a family member are looking for post-secondary education, you can choose from several colleges and universities in the El Paso area:

  • The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP): With an enrollment of over 23,000 students, UTEP is the third largest campus in the University of Texas system. UTEP ranks fourth among all 35 Texas public universities in federal research funding. It’s also one of seven public institutions in Texas to be designated by the Higher Education Coordinating Board and the Texas legislature as an “Emerging Tier One University.”
  • Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso: The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso is home to the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine, the Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing, and the Regional Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. The three campuses currently enroll more than 6,000 students.
  • El Paso Community College (EPCC): With six campuses and over 29,000 students, EPCC offers a diverse range of programs, including training in areas like advanced manufacturing, management, software, quality control, and other disciplines.

Other institutions of higher learning in the area offer a wide range of coursework. These include Howard Payne University, Park University, Webster University – Fort Bliss, Vista College, and Southwest University.

Crime

Like any major metropolitan area, El Paso experiences crime. Some people assume the crime rate is high because the city is close to Juarez, which has a reputation for gang violence. However, US News Best Places to Live reports that the crime rate in El Paso is lower than other cities of similar size. And Safewise.com named El Paso one of the nation’s safest metropolitan areas.

In El Paso, there were 3.79 violent crimes per 1,000 people in the last year and 18.19 property crimes per 1,000 people. Your chances of becoming a victim of violent crime in El Paso (armed robbery, aggravated assault, rape, or murder) are low — about  1 in 258. Your chances of becoming a victim of a property crime are about 1 in 53.

Utility Providers

Contact these companies to arrange water, electric, gas, and trash pickup services:

  • El Paso Electric: Call the customer service call center at 915-543-5970 or 1-800-351-1621. Or go to www.epelectric.com/
  • El Paso Water Utilities: Call customer service at 915-594-5500 between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. Mountain Time or go to http://www.epwater.org to email.
  • Trash pickup: To arrange for trash pickup, first open an account with El Paso Water Utilities. Then call the Environmental Services Department at (915) 212-6000 to request new service.
  • Texas Gas: Call the Customer Service Line toll-free 800-700-2443 Monday – Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Central Time. Automated customer service is also available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year at https://www.texasgasservice.com/
  • Phone, Internet, Cable: Providers for phone, internet and cable include Verizon, AT&T, CenturyLink, Dish Network, Metro PCS, Spectrum, Sprint, and T-Mobile.

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Best Neighborhoods in El Paso, TX

Are you looking for a quiet neighborhood or a more bustling area? Do you want to be close to nature or close to the best eateries? Whatever your ideal lifestyle, El Paso offers several excellent communities.

Zach White

With more than ten local parks, Zach White is perfect if you’re looking for a mid-size neighborhood with plenty to do outdoors. Located on the New Mexico border and the Rio Grande, the community has a population of 4,516.

Housing costs here are high compared to the rest of El Paso; the average home value is $211,700. Despite higher home prices, over 91% of residents are homeowners. The median household income of $73,458 is 33% higher than the national average. Median rent is $659. The overall crime rate in Zach White is 56% lower than the national average.

Zach White and Sunland Elementary Schools, Santa Teresa and Lincoln Middle Schools, and Coronado and Santa Teresa High Schools serve this neighborhood. There are also several private schools.

When you explore your new El Paso neighborhood, try some genuine Texas barbecue at the State Line, El Paso’s popular BBQ spot. Or you can do some tasting at Savour, an elegant wine lounge.

Mission Hills

You’ll find Mission Hills located north of the University of Texas, El Paso. State Hwy 20 (N. Mesa St.) runs through this mid-sized community. With a population of 4,203, Mission Hills offers a range of attractions.

Enjoy a variety of restaurants, bars, and lounges. Craving Cajun? Visit Crawdaddies. Looking for casual American food with live music? Try the Mesa Grill. If Industrial chic and craft beer rock your boat, try Block – Table & Tap. How about an arcade with video games, drinks, and bar food? Try Rubiks Arcade Bar. Upscale comfort food? Try Crave Kitchen and Bar. Take advantage of multiple outdoor experiences. Enjoy the natural beauty of the North Franklin Mountain range. Lace up and hike the Palisades Canyon Loop. Or stroll the paths at the Chihuahuan Desert gardens to see over 600 native plants. Go jogging, walk, or take the kids to Mission Hills or Sierra Crest parks or any of the other numerous public parks in the neighborhood.

Median home value is high compared to El Paso. At $226,740, it’s 59 % higher than the average El Paso home. But rents are relatively low at $528, 42% lower than El Paso as a whole. The area is a mix of owners and renters — just 53.4 % of residents are homeowners. The median household income of Mission Hills residents is $71,924. Crime in this neighborhood is low, with just 1.14 daily crimes for every 100,000 people

Mesito and Green Elementary Schools, Wiggs Middle School, and El Paso High School serve this area.

Album Park

Larger and more metropolitan than other nearby areas, with a population of 13,673, Album Park is located northeast of Rt 10 and bordered by 180 near El Paso International Airport. There are lots of things to do, either by day or at night. You can explore a range of cuisines in Album Park. Grab a burger and enjoy the whimsical 50s décor at the Frisco Burger Inn. Or treat yourself to Mexican food at Tortilleria Juarez. Try Mulligans Shot Bar or Agave Bricktown Tap House. For sushi and karaoke, head over to Kangnam Style Sushi. Hear some local musicians at RockHouse Bar & Grill. Treat yourself to a night out at McAdoos or the Dry River. Enjoy drinks and dancing at Special Edition. Visit one of the numerous parks that dot the neighborhood including Vista del Val, Travis White, Cielo Vista, Hawkins, Cork, Suffolk, Tyrone, Pico Norte, Edgemere, Reese McCord, or Palm Grove. Or visit the Vista del Valle Community Garden, an urban garden where residents grow their own veggies.

The cost of living in Album Park is lower than surrounding neighborhoods and El Paso in general, due in large part to the relatively low housing costs. The median home value is just $128,610, 10% lower than the rest of El Paso, and the $783 median rent is lower as well. The median household income is $49,075, and unemployment is slightly higher than the surrounding communities at 4.8%. Album Park is safer than 85% of the cities in Texas. For every 100,000 people, there are only 0.35 daily crimes.

Local students attend Edgemere, East Point, and Scotsdale Elementary Schools, Eastwood Middle School, and Eastwood High School.

La Colonia Escondida

A small residential neighborhood with a population of just 239, the area hugs the New Mexico border. Housing costs, salaries, and the cost of living are higher than average. The real estate inventory is low. Median home value is high at $341,000, and the cost of housing overall is 68% higher than the national average. The median rent of $1,216 is 33% higher than El Paso. Over 90% of residents own their homes. It’s not hard to believe that the median household income of $100,531 is one of the highest in the area, 139% higher than El Paso in general and 82% higher than the national average. Crime is low. La Colonia Escondida is safer than 77% of the cities in Texas.

Public schools Zach White Elementary, Lincoln Middle School, and Coronado High School serve this area

Since this is such a small neighborhood, you’ll have a short drive to most restaurants and attractions. For a local night out try Harvey and Vine for a cozy place with outdoor seating. Visit the W Lounge for a fast-casual experience. When it’s time for some outdoor fun, enjoy Pacific and White Spur parks, two of several parks in the vicinity.

Willow Bend One

Views of the lakes and mountains make this small neighborhood of just 209 residents special. Located west of Rt 10 and 85, near the New Mexico border, Willow Bend One is primarily residential.

You can take your pick of local restaurants and bars. Enjoy one of Texas’ best burgers at Toro Burger Bar. Try Classico Kitchen for casual food and beer. Or have a drink at Gasoline Ray’s Dive bar. Sit outside under an umbrella at Aceitunas Beer Garden to enjoy a casual meal and live music. Coach Jack D Quarles and HT Ponsford parks are just two of the many parks found in Willow Bend One. For a unique outdoor experience, visit Keystone Heritage Park and El Paso Desert Botanical Garden, a 52-acre garden and wetland.

Housing and the cost of living are higher than average here. Housing prices are a whopping 139 percent higher than El Paso in general. The median home value is $341,100. The median rent of  $1,216 is 33% higher than El Paso. But salaries are higher too. The median household income is $100,531, and unemployment is a modest 2.2%. Crime is low. For every 100,000 people, 2.41 crimes occur daily in Willow Bend One.

The neighborhood is served by Zach White Elementary, Lincoln Middle School, and Coronado High School as well as by area private schools.

Mountain Arroyos

Located east of the North Franklin Mountains and Rt. 10, Mountain Arroyos has a population of 2,354.

Mountain Arroyos is close enough to the North Franklin Mountains to enjoy this spectacular outdoor area frequently. And add the Resler Canyon Nature Preserve to your must-do list for spectacular hiking and views. Jog, walk, or picnic in Snow Heights, Irvin J Lamka, or High Ridge parks, just three of the many El Paso parks located in this area. Celebrate your new home with dinner at Eloise, an elegant European style restaurant. Or for a more casual time, go to Lloyds or Royal Wings. Give Erin’s bar a whirl for its Irish pub ambiance.

The median home value is high at $220,300, 55 percent higher than El Paso. Rents are more moderate, with the median rent of $966 just 6% higher than El Paso. The neighborhood is a mix of owners and renters — 67.8% of the residents of Mountain Arroyos are homeowners. The median household income is $72,175. Crime is low – for every 100,000 people, there are just 2.41 daily crimes.

The area is served by Rivera and Western Hills Elementary Schools, Morehead Middle School, and Coronado High School, in addition to private schools.

Silver Springs Village

Nestled in the shadow of the North Franklin Mountains and north of the University of Texas at El Paso, this mid-size neighborhood has a population of 1,916.

Choose from several restaurants and lounges for a fun night out. You’ll have a unique dining experience at Garufa, an upscale Argentinian restaurant. Visit Grahams Corner for drinks and sports or  Nathan’s Hot Dogs for round-the-clock snacks. Enjoy the artsy vibe and contemporary menu at the Basico Bistro Café or enjoy great cocktails and live jazz at the speakeasy-style The Black Orchid Lounge. Check out the neighborhood parks like Crestwood, Palo Verde, James Schwitters, and Harvey Park.

Home prices are very high with the median cost of $306,533, 115% higher than El Paso in general. The median rent of $908 is consistent with rents in El Paso overall. About 67% of Silver Spring Village residents are homeowners, and the median household income is $82,054. Crime is low — for every 100,000 people, there are 2.41 daily crimes.

Area students attend Western Hills and Green Elementary Schools, Morehead Middle School, and Coronado High School.

East Side

If you’re looking for a more cosmopolitan vibe, East Side may be for you. One of the larger neighborhoods in El Paso, with a population of 139,672, East Side is northeast of the airport and bordered by I 376 and Route 10. East Side has something for everyone.

Take your pick of restaurants like La Tiznada, a traditional cantina; Jacks Beach House; BJs Restaurant and Brewhouse for pub food; or Heist Lounge. Or watch your favorite teams with your favorite food at Border City Ale House. Jog, walk the dog or take the kids to play at one of the many parks in the neighborhood like Dick Shinaut Park, John Lyons Park, or Argal Park. Join a  youth or adult softball or baseball league at El Paso County Sports Park. Professional level facilities will make you and your kids feel like professional athletes.

The lower cost of living here is in part due to housing costs that are 25% lower than the national average and median home values of $134,559. The median household income is $56,714, and the median rent is $763 — 16% lower than El Paso overall. About 66% of East Side residents are homeowners.
Crime is low. For every 100,000 people, 3.04 daily crimes occur in the East Side.

East Side students attend Oshea Keleher, Vista del Sol, Tierra del Sol, Myrtle Cooper, Elfida Chavez, Glen Cove, Vista Hills, and Benito Martinez Elementary Schools. William D. Slider, Desert View, Bill Sybert, Montwood, Sun Ridge, Indian Ridge, Capt Walter E Clarke are the middle schools serving East Side. High school students attend JM Hanks, Americas, El Dorado, Eastwood, and Options High Schools.

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