Located in the heart of the USA’s Deep South along the Colorado River, Austin is the state capital of Texas and the 11th most populous city in the country. The city, known as the 'liberal heart of Texas', is one of the fastest-growing cities, not only in Texas but in the USA.
So what is Austin doing to attract so many new residents? Well, there is a real mix of great economic and lifestyle benefits which serve to draw a really diverse range of people to the city.
Living in Austin as an expat
Over the last decade or so, the capital of the Lone Star State has become quite the hub for business and technology. Austin is now home to a significant number of prominent Fortune 500 names including Apple, Amazon, Google and IBM. Those with skills in business, education, tourism and technology find ample work opportunities in the City of the Violet Crown.
In recent years, Austin has also become a popular tourist destination, which is in part due to the lifestyle benefits the city has to offer. Often self-styled as the 'live music capital of the world', Austin boasts an impressive calendar of annual events, with the famous South by South West Festival being a particular highlight that draws massive crowds. Austinites can also regularly enjoy outdoor pursuits such as hiking, biking and taking a dip at one of the city’s lovely swimming spots.
Life in any new city comes with some inevitable downsides, and this is true for Austin as much as it would be for any other place. New arrivals moving to the city from places with reliable, sophisticated public transport infrastructure may struggle with the fact that Austin remains very much a car-dependent city. Still, while having a vehicle does offer one greater freedom when it comes to getting around, things are changing. In addition, to improvements to Austin’s bus and light rail networks, the expansion of e-hailing services and car-sharing schemes now offer Austinites some excellent alternatives.
Austin stays true to its unofficial slogan ‘Keep Austin Weird’ by nurturing diversity and always doing things in its own unique way. While Austin is far more progressive than much of the Deep South, it’s important for newcomers to remember that this is still Texas, and it's highly likely that they’ll encounter people that still hold conservative values when it comes to political issues such as same-sex marriages, gun ownership and religious influences.
Cost of living in Austin
There is often a misconception that the cost of living in Austin is low. While it is certainly a much more affordable place to live than major US cities such as New York, San Francisco, Chicago and Washington, DC, living expenses in Austin are higher than the state average. That said, Austin’s brilliant attractions outweigh these costs for many of the city’s residents. It’s just a case of budgeting properly.
Expat families and children in Austin
Austin is a popular relocation destination among families, not only because of the spacious accommodation on offer outside the city centre and the family-friendly attractions the city boasts, but because of its excellent schools. Home to the University of Texas at Austin, education is something that is ingrained in Austin’s DNA, and the city invests heavily in its schooling infrastructure. Austin is home to some excellent public schools, and there are private and international options available too.
Climate in Austin
The weather in Austin is unique yet generally pleasant throughout the year. The climate is characterised as humid and subtropical, but Austin is nestled between dry and lush, green, humid climate zones, making the weather an interesting mix of both. Summers are long and hot, while winters are mild and short.
All in all, it's easy to see why so many people are attracted to the vibrancy of Austin. The city offers a perfect balance between factors of practical importance along with some absolutely brilliant lifestyle benefits including great weather, a fantastic music scene and unique cultural offerings. One thing is for sure – life for aspiring Austinites may not always be easy, but it will no doubt be an adventure.
►Our Pros and Cons of Moving to Austin page gives newcomers some great insights into life in the US city
Are you an expat living in Austin?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Austin. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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