Frequently Asked Questions about Houston

What are the best public school districts in Houston?

Houston has 67 school districts, each with a number of elementary, middle and high school options. While many expats will insist that Katy, Pearland, Cy-Fair, Klein, Spring Branch and Ft. Bend are some of the best districts, it’s important to keep in mind that certain schools in reputable districts may have poor performance records, and certain schools in districts with a less than perfect reputation may have exceptional performance records. For this reason, it’s highly advised to do your research on districts in general, but also to take the time to suss out individual education institutions. It’s useful to use the academic excellence indicator reports gathered by the Texas Education Agency (AEIS Reports) as well the school ratings (Texas Education Agency School Ratings).

What is the cost of living in Houston?

Houston claims a cost of living 11 percent lower than the national average. While this may not seem monumental, the fact of the matter is, IT IS - given that Houston is the fourth largest city in the US. The cost of livings in NYC, LA and Chicago are significantly higher. The primary reason the cost of living in Houston is lower is because the cost of accommodation in the city is so affordable. The average cost of renting accommodation in 2010 was 720 USD. Obviously, there are options that are both lower and higher than this – depending on the level of luxury you demand and the size of the space you’ll be renting. Additionally, petrol is cheap in this Texan energy capital, and food is priced lower than the national average, as well.

What are the best neighbourhoods to live in, in Houston?

A difficult question that begs a difficult answer. Different neighbourhoods are “best” for different people, depending on priorities, the desired proximity to certain places and budget.

For the young, single professional, it might be best to live somewhere in central Houston. Montrose is known for its pedestrian-friendly nature and its eclectic creative spirit; Midtown is ideal for anyone involved in the medical community, or working at the Texas Medical Center; Houston Heights is one of the city’s earliest residential communities, and is now filled with great nightlife venues and an assortment of subdivisions.

For the expat family, it may be better to live just outside of central Houston, in one of the many areas known for a high level of safety and an exemplary school district. Sugarland was voted one of the best places to live in the US in 2006, and has good schools, safe parks and lots of family-oriented activities. Katy is also a firm favourite, as well as Woodlands or Kingwood. Do note that if you work in the city, you’re in for a tough commute.

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