Los Angeles has a lot going for it, but the main downside is its high cost of living coupled with excessive housing costs. Dallas serves up the big city cosmopolitan amenities you love but without the punishing prices. Compared to LA, it costs 71% less to live in Dallas, and housing costs are an astounding 221% lower. Additionally, US News & World Report named Dallas the 21st best place to live in the U.S. for its value, steady job market, and high quality of life.
But before you tell all your friends and family that you’re moving, learn how Dallas compares and differs from Los Angeles to be sure the move is the right choice.
What to Know About Moving from Los Angeles to Dallas
Here’s what to know about living in the Big D.
Housing and Cost of Living
The median home cost in LA is $689,500. In Dallas it’s $214,700, an amazing $474,800 less. You’d be able to buy three homes in Dallas for what you’d pay for one Los Angeles home! Though homes in the Big D are currently less expensive, home appreciation is on a tear thanks to an influx of new residents. Over the past five years, homes appreciated 19% more in Dallas than LA – 62% in Dallas and 43% in LA.
When we compare the cost of living, Dallas is 71% less expensive than Los Angeles. You’ll save about 5% on groceries and 41% on transportation costs, although Dallas health and utilities will be about 5% higher.
The Dallas family median income is $51,220 compared to $61,092 in LA. But keep in mind that your living expenses will be a lot lower in Dallas, and as you’ll see next, you won’t pay state income tax.
Taxes significantly affect your cost of living, and if you’re considering moving from Los Angeles to Dallas, count on the savings you’ll enjoy by not having to pay state income tax. However, property taxes will be considerably higher.
If you buy a home in Dallas, your average property tax rate will be 2.173% – considerably higher than the .793% you pay in LA. However, many who work in Dallas live in outlying cities and, in some cases, pay lower property tax. For example, the Plano (Collin County) property tax rate is 1.918%. Wherever you choose to live in the Dallas area, you may still enjoy a lower property tax bill than in LA due to the much lower housing costs.
Dallas levies sales tax at 8.25%, and Los Angeles sales tax is over a point higher, at 9.5%.
Economy and Job Growth
Moving to Dallas from LA will land you in a diverse, stable economy and job market, just like the Los Angeles economy. Metro LA has a $1 trillion economy that places it second in the nation behind the New York metro area. Dallas has the sixth-largest economy in the U.S., with a GDP of over $620.6 billion. As the cultural and economic hub of North Texas, the Big D economy has roots in energy, insurance, commerce, banking, tech, telecommunications, healthcare, transportation, and medical research. The DFW metro area is home to dozens of Fortune 500 companies, including recognizable names like Exxon Mobile (Irving), Southwest Airlines (Dallas), and AT&T (Dallas).
The Dallas job market looks rosy with predicted 45% job growth over the next ten years. In contrast, LA is looking forward to 35% job growth in the next decade.
Transportation and Traffic
Like Los Angeles, the Big D is spread out over a vast metropolitan area, and most people own a car to commute and get around. The Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) provides light rail and bus services, but still, approximately 76% of residents drive their cars to work. Only 4% use DART.
In LA, the average one-way commute takes 31 minutes. That’s a heck of a lot of car-time over a year, but the Dallas commute is only four minutes shorter at 27 minutes. Keep in mind that both cities have toll roads that can help shorten the commute, but the expense puts a strain on your transportation costs.
Weather and Climate
Here’s where you’ll notice one of the most dramatic differences between LA and Dallas. Summers in LA will be much hotter and certainly far more humid than those in LA. Winters will be colder, and you may even see a dusting of snow or a twister now and then.
While the average July high in LA is 84 °F, in Dallas, it’s a humid 95 °F. The average January high in Dallas is 56 °F, and the low is 37 °F, with about an inch of snow each winter. LA runs an average of 12 degrees warmer in the winter with average highs of 68 °F and lows of 49 °F. With about 16 inches of annual rainfall, LA has about 50 more sunny days than Dallas, where rainfall averages about 39 inches. Each month sees a few inches of rain, with May getting the most.
When warm air in the Gulf of Mexico collides with colder Arctic air, the meeting can create some intense weather. From extraordinary thunderstorms to high winds and tornadoes, it’ll be a good idea to read through the City of Dallas Office of Emergency Management site so you’ll know how to be prepared when severe weather strikes.
Los Angeles enjoys lower crime rates than Dallas. Based on a scale from 1 to 100, property crime is 35 in LA and 51 in Dallas. Violent crime is rated 29 in LA and 37 in Dallas.
As you start researching neighborhoods that align with the lifestyle you want, also check into the crime rates. Crime is generally higher near Downtown than in communities like Plano or Richardson, although some Downtown neighborhoods, like Highland Park, are exceptionally safe.
Culture, Diversity, and Demographics
Los Angeles, with a population of 3,949,776, has three times as many people as Dallas’ 1,300,122. However, since both cities are major metro complexes, it’s essential to get a sense of how huge they both are. The Dallas Metroplex includes Fort Worth and Arlington; the total population of 7,573,136 makes it the fourth largest metroplex in the nation. In contrast, the LA metropolitan area, which includes Long Beach and Orange County, ranks as the second-largest metro area in the US, with 13,310,500 people.
In terms of population ethnicity, LA and Dallas have a similar percentage of White and Hispanic residents, but the Dallas population is 24% African American compared to 9% in LA. LA’s Asian population is higher at 12% compared to Dallas’ 3%.
In general, Dallas residents tend to vote toward the liberal side when it comes to politics. About 60% are registered Democrats compared to 72% in Los Angeles.
Dallas classics are Tex-Mex, BBQ, chili, and steak, but inventive chefs concoct those foods into unique signature dishes like guacamole-sour cream-taco meat-hot queso dip or fancy-pants barbecued baby pork ribs with passion fruit salsa. But when you move to Dallas, you can be assured of finding everything from apple fritters to ziti throughout the metropolis.
Best Neighborhoods in Dallas
Our summary includes some of the best neighborhoods in Dallas proper plus neighborhoods in smaller towns north of Downtown, like Richardson or Plano.
A community of about 5,700 people, Timberbrook, is located in the town of Plano, about 40 minutes north of Downtown Dallas. Families love Timberbrook for the highly-rated schools and the extensive Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve, which is directly south of the neighborhood. You’ll need a car to access amenities since Timberbrook is mainly residential. Learn more here.
Located about five miles north of Downtown Dallas, commutes to and from University Park are easy on the Dallas North Tollway. Southern Methodist University sits in the southeast section of the neighborhood. The schools in University Park are excellent, and housing ranges from gorgeous architecturally unique single-family homes to condos and townhomes. Find more information here.
In north-central Dallas, close to Plano, Preston Highlands has about 4,500 residents. Families with school-age children move here for access to the highly-rated Plano schools. 70% of residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher. The diverse neighborhood is 41% White, 30% Asian, 16% Hispanic, and 6% African American. Here are more details about Preston Highlands.
Just three miles north of Downtown, prosperous Highland Park is just south of University Park. Housing in this established neighborhood averages over $1,000,000, but along with the high priced homes, you’ll find some of Dallas’ best schools and lowest crime rates. Learn more about Highland Park here.
Canyon Creek South
Suburban Canyon Creek South is in Richardson, about 15 miles north of Downtown Dallas via US-75 S. The majority of the 3,352 residents own their homes and enjoy the parks, restaurants, and cafes dotted around the suburb. The median household income, at $128,076, is more than double the US average. Find out more about Canyon Creek South here.
About 4,000 people live in Bluffview, located between Dallas Love Field Airport and University Park. Downtown is about eight miles southeast via Dallas North Tollway S. Housing is almost all single-family homes that average $650,000, but you’ll also find several multi-million dollar estates in this older, established neighborhood. Here’s more about Bluffview.
Clear Spring Place
Clear Spring Place, with only 140 residents, is located in Richardson and has a dense suburban feel. Homes are more modest than in the older, established neighborhoods closer to Downtown Dallas. The majority of housing is in three- to six-bedroom single-family homes, but you can also find some condos. The median home value is $265,600. Find out more information about Clear Spring Place here.
Living in urban Oak Lawn gives you access to the hiking and bike trails along Turtle Creek plus proximity to Downtown Dallas which is only two miles south. The upscale community is home to Dallas’ gay scene, especially along Cedar Springs Road, with its happening entertainment and nightlife. Housing is available in single-family homes, townhomes, and many low-rise condos. Learn more about Oak Lawn here.
Canyon Creek North
Located in Richardson, directly north of Canyon Creek South, this neighborhood has a higher number of renters and lower home prices. Homes are mainly single-family, and the schools are highly rated. Canyon Creek North is a popular neighborhood for young families who are new home buyers and those who work at the nearby University of Texas. Here’s more info.
Just north of University Park and seven and a half miles north of Downtown, uber-affluent Preston Hollow is another older, established Dallas neighborhood. Preston Hollow was developed in the early 1920s when many affluent citizens built country estates with stables and outbuildings. Today’s residents include Mark Cuban, Roger Staubach, Lee Trevino, George W. Bush, and Ross Perot. Learn more about Preston Hollow here.
Cost of Moving from Los Angeles to Dallas
On average, it costs about $3500-$6000 to move from Los Angeles to Dallas. Though this might sound expensive, consider that you are hauling your stuff about 1436 miles across the country. The total cost of your move will depend on several variables, including your origin and destination zip codes, the time of year you’re moving, the size of your household, and which services you require. The best way to get an accurate estimate is by scheduling an in-home or virtual (no contact) walkthrough with a licensed and insured interstate mover. Get free moving quotes from the best LA to Dallas movers now!