Best places to retire in Texas

Retirement in Texas comes with mild winters, low taxes and affordable housing.

  • By Josephine Nesbit,
  • U.S. News & World Report
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America's second-most populous state is a haven for retirees. Whether you're seeking warmer weather, affordable housing, lower taxes or engaging leisure activities, you will be able to find it somewhere in the state of Texas.

Texas is known for its resilience and has a number of vibrant communities for retirees to enjoy. “The state's demographic trends underscore its appeal, with a rapidly growing population and an increasing number of retirees choosing Texas as their ultimate destination,” says Graham Sowden, chief investment officer at Dallas-based RREAF Holdings.

Many cities in Texas have ample job opportunities for retirees looking to launch a second career and top doctors and hospitals that can help manage health conditions, according to a recent U.S. News analysis of the 150 largest U.S. metropolitan areas as potential retirement spots. The study included data about housing affordability, happiness, desirability, retiree taxes, the job market and access to quality health care. A bonus for retirees: Texas doesn't have a state income tax.

“One of the biggest draws for retirees is the financial affordability Texas provides. With no state income tax and a generally lower cost of living compared to other popular retirement destinations, seniors can stretch their retirement savings further here,” says Neal Shah, founder and CEO of CareYaya, a health-tech company with a large presence in Texas. “This is especially true in cities like Killeen, Beaumont and Brownsville, where the cost of housing, groceries and other essentials is significantly lower than the national average.”

Here are the best cities to retire in the Lone Star state.

10. Corpus Christi

Population: 422,194

Share of population age 65+: 14.6%

Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,091

Median monthly rent: $1,098

The laid-back lifestyle and low housing prices draw many retirees to Corpus Christi. This seaside city is an affordable place to retire near the Gulf of Mexico. The Padre Island National Seashore provides a 70-mile stretch of undeveloped coastline to enjoy the sand, sun and wildlife. Retirees may be able to visit or volunteer at the Texas State Aquarium, USS Lexington or South Texas Botanical Gardens and Nature Center.

9. McAllen

Population: 865,677

Share of population age 65+: 11%

Median monthly mortgage cost: $844

Median monthly rent: $799

The McAllen metro area, which includes Edinburg and Mission, is located at the southern tip of Texas. A modest retirement income is usually enough to pay for housing, due to McAllen's low home prices. The affordable housing and mild winter temperatures make McAllen a popular destination for snowbird retirees. McAllen is also an ideal retirement destination for birdwatching and has a World Birding Center at Quinta Mazatlan, a historic country estate.

8. Houston

Population: 7,048,954

Share of population age 65+: 11.3%

Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,246

Median monthly rent: $1,189

Houston is the fourth largest city in the U.S. Located in eastern Texas near the Gulf of Mexico, Houston has a museum district and a theater district that provide plenty of recreation and volunteer opportunities for retirees. Houston Methodist Hospital is ranked 15th in the nation on the U.S. News Best Hospitals Honor Roll. The area has several colleges, including Rice University and the University of Houston, where seniors age 65 and older are eligible to audit courses for free. Housing costs less in Houston than in similarly sized cities in other states.

“For those who are looking for a quieter, tight-knit community, Houston has plenty of suburb options such as Fulshear, Cypress, The Woodlands, Katy, Sugarland and more that are still within reasonable driving distance to the inner city,” says Kranti Kiran Reddy, CEO and managing director of real estate firm Janapriya Upscale USA.

7. Beaumont

Population: 397,924

Share of population age 65+: 15%

Median monthly mortgage cost: $997

Median monthly rent: $906

Beaumont is located in southeastern Texas along the Neches River near the border with Louisiana. Sabine Lake is an ideal spot for saltwater fishing, and the lake connects to the Gulf of Mexico. Beaumont is about a 90-minute drive from Houston, which gives retirees access to big-city amenities and health care options, but has a lower cost of living than Houston. Beaumont's low housing costs make it easier to live well on a modest retirement income.

6. Brownsville

Population: 420,554

Share of population age 65+: 13.5%

Median monthly mortgage cost: $793

Median monthly rent: $785

Brownsville is located on the southern tip of Texas along the Gulf of Mexico and the Rio Grande border with Mexico. The low cost of living and proximity to the beach often draw retirees from places with colder climates. Nearby South Padre Island is a popular beach location for "winter Texans" who come to enjoy the mild winter weather and Gulf Coast beaches. Locals may also be able to watch rockets launch into orbit from the SpaceX South Texas launch site.

5. San Antonio

Population: 2,529,453

Share of population age 65+: 13%

Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,118

Median monthly rent: $1,122

San Antonio is among the fastest-growing cities in the U.S. The metro area had the highest numeric gain, 13,626 people, between 2020 and 2021, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. Health care is available at Methodist Hospital-San Antonio. San Antonio could be an ideal place to retire for those on a budget. Retirees can enjoy the scenic beauty of the Texas Hill Country without facing high housing costs. The San Antonio Missions, including the Alamo, were declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2015.

4. Austin

Population: 2,234,300

Share of population age 65+: 11%

Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,304

Median monthly rent: $1,398

Austin's hot job market and unique, quirky culture draw many people to the area, including retirees. The state capital is the home of the University of Texas at Austin, where seniors age 65 and older can take up to six tuition-free credit hours per semester. The area is also a hub for tech jobs, including Apple (), Dell () and IBM (). Major health care providers include St. David's Medical Center and Ascension Seton Medical Center Austin. Housing in Austin costs more than in many other parts of Texas, but retirees relocating from more expensive cities with similar amenities may be able to reduce their housing costs.

3. Dallas-Fort Worth

Population: 7,543,340

Share of population age 65+: 11.3%

Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,255

Median monthly rent: $1,264

Dallas and nearby Fort Worth are among the most populous cities in the country. Fort Worth attracted 12,916 new residents between 2020 and 2021, the Census Bureau found. The low housing costs make it affordable to relocate. Major health care providers include Baylor University Medical Center and the UT Southwestern Medical Center. Sports fans have ample professional teams to root for, including the Cowboys, Mavericks, Rangers and Stars, while those interested in the arts can find volunteer opportunities and social events at the area's many museums.

2. El Paso

Population: 863,807

Share of population age 65+: 12.2%

Median monthly mortgage cost: $912

Median monthly rent: $908

El Paso is among the most affordable places to retire in the country. The median home price is among the lowest of any metro area in the U.S. This western Texas city is located directly across the Rio Grande from the Mexican city of Ciudad Juarez. The 26,627-acre Franklin Mountains State Park is the largest urban park in the nation and is located completely within the city limits of El Paso. You may be able to spot pictographs and petroglyphs made by Native Americans that are thousands of years old.

1. Killeen

Population: 467,838

Share of population age 65+: 11.2%

Median monthly mortgage cost: $920

Median monthly rent: $980

Killeen is a centrally located Texas city that is within driving distance of many larger cities including Austin, Dallas, San Antonio and Houston. But Killeen is a smaller and more affordable place to retire. Killeen's low housing costs make it easier to live well on a fixed income. The city has a large military presence, thanks to the Fort Hood military base. There's also no state income tax in Texas, which helps to keep costs low.

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