San Antonio, Texas, is one of the country’s fastest-growing cities, according to the latest data from the US Census Bureau. Second only to Phoenix, Arizona when it comes to cities with the largest numerical population gains between 2017 and 2018, San Antonio saw an increase of almost 21,000 new residents and reached a population of about 1.5 million people.
Why are people so attracted to San Antonio? What are the main reasons that encourage thousands upon thousands of Americans to move to the city each year? Find out what the biggest aces up San Antonio’s sleeve are, why so many people are making it their new home, and whether this quintessential Texan city is the right match for you.
No Income Taxes
The entire state of Texas has no income tax, which, obviously, is good news if you’re planning to work in the area. However, moving to San Antonio doesn’t mean you will stop paying taxes all together – the combined state and local sales taxes reach 8.25%, which puts San Antonio somewhere around the national average. For the fiscal year 2020, the property tax rate in the city is 55.82 cents per $100 of taxable value.
Housing and Living Costs Are Affordable for a City Its Size
The average monthly rent in San Antonio was $1,045 this September, according to RENTCafe, which is affordable for a city this size, especially when compared to the national average of $1,471. A 10X10 self-storage unit in San Antonio will set you back about $97 per month, according to Yardi Matrix data.
The data portal Numbeo puts the price of a three-course meal for two people in a mid-range restaurant at around $50, and a monthly pass for local transportation is $38. Basic utilities (electricity, heating, cooling, water, garbage) for an average apartment are around $147 per month. The Internet bill will cost you another $60, while the monthly fee at a fitness club is about $38 for one adult. The good news is that you’ll probably be able to afford all that and much more – according to the same source, the average monthly net salary in San Antonio is $3,268.
The Job Market Is Thriving
San Antonio enjoys a thriving job market as well. The unemployment rate was 3.2% in August 2019, lower than the national average of 3.6%. The San Antonio Economic Development Foundation, a local non-profit organization that helps businesses expand in the area, notes that the projects they managed created, in 2018, about 4,500 jobs in well-paying industries such as cybersecurity, biosciences and information security, and they predict the same success for 2019.
Also, a recent Brooking Institute research study puts San Antonio second nationally in terms of job creation at young firms – up 13.7% from 2007 to 2017. During the same decade, San Antonio landed a number 3 spot nationally among the 100 metros studied in terms of overall job market growth – almost 21%.
Education Opportunities Abound
San Antonio hosts about 100,000 students who are pursuing higher education in its 31 universities and colleges. The most well-known universities and colleges in the city include the University of Texas at San Antonio, Texas A&M University-San Antonio, the Alamo Community Colleges, St. Mary’s University and Northwest Vista College, to name just a few.
San Antonio encompasses 123 public elementary, middle and high schools, and it also provides dozens of charter and private institutions, from Roman Catholic to Montessori schools.
Enjoy the Historical Heritage
The city’s colorful and unique history makes it a dream destination for history buffs and families with children. You’ll have plenty of history-related learning opportunities while living in San Antonio. The San Antonio Missions National Historical Park impresses with its range of beautiful, 300-year-old architecture – and it’s also the site where the famous Battle of the Alamo took place. The city’s renowned River Walk, which comprises some charming walkways along the banks of San Antonio River, is the perfect place to appreciate the city’s history while enjoying a nice meal.
Other historical landmarks include the 200-year-old Market Square, with its over 100 locally owned shops, and the Majestic and Charline McCombs Empire theaters, which have both been in operation for about a century. Then there’s the La Villita Arts Village, which was established 300 years ago as one of the city’s first neighborhoods and acts today as an arts center with dozens of shops and galleries.
Amazing Food and Lots of Fun
In terms of food, San Antonio is defined by the Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisines. From tacos, tamales and pan dolce to pickle-flavored everything, amazing barbecues and fried chicken on a stick, San Antonio will surprise and delight your senses. And the city is the birthplace of the popular burger chain Whataburger, so obviously they know a thing or two about the fast-food end of the spectrum. The dining-out options vary from classic steakhouses like Range to modern restaurants such as Savor and health-oriented bistros like The Good Kind.
After an excellent meal you might want a bit of fun, and you’ll get plenty of that at Fiesta San Antonio, the city’s largest festival. It started in 1891 as an event commemorating the heroes of the Alamo but evolved into a huge and exuberant celebration of the city’s culture and history. Next year’s Fiesta San Antonio takes place from April 16 to April 26, 2020, and includes more than 100 events, with about 100 local organizations and 75,000 volunteers involved in the organizing process.
The Balcones Heights Jazz Festival celebrated its 25th anniversary in the summer of 2018 and prides itself on the diverse musical experience it offers. The largest annual music festival in the city is Mala Luna, traditionally held around Halloween, which is an opportunity to enjoy contemporary music and famous artists, live art installations, local food and more.
The Great Outdoors and the Weather
Cruising on the San Antonio River, swimming and fishing at Calaveras Lake, hiking through the gorgeous Texas Hill Country or visiting the spectacular Natural Bridge Caverns – there’s no shortage of outdoor activities in and around San Antonio.
The cowboy culture is deeply ingrained in San Antonio’s DNA, and many of the ranches around the city are actually open to visitors – so you can experience the lifestyle for yourself. All you need are a pair of cowboy boots and the matching hat, and you’re all set for unique experiences like arena riding, cattle roundups, and private riding lessons at one of the many ranches located around the city.
As for the weather, there are about 300 days of sunshine in San Antonio and average temperatures of 70 degrees F – which means you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy all those outdoor activities. However, be advised that San Antonio has a subtropical climate, with summers that are are extremely hot and humid. July and August have an average high temperature of 95 degrees F. Winters, on the other hand, can be quite pleasant, with very few subfreezing nights each year – there have been only 32 instances of snowfall in the city in the past 122 years.
So, how do you feel about being a modern cowboy in today’s San Antonio? Are the affordable living and housing costs, the access to well-paying jobs and the general quality of life in this city incentive enough for you to consider moving here? Let us know in the comments!