A friend of The Queen's and mine sent us a somewhat cryptic email this morning with "Houston vs. Dallas" in the subject line. He lives in Houston and is currently in thrall with a young lady in the Dallas area whom The Queen and I have known from church for many a year. I assumed from his email that he was seeking advice on which city is better. So, of course, I had to give him my opinion which I offer up to you, my readership, now as a public service and special advertisement:
You experience may vary.Now then, I assume from the subject line that you are referring to the age old argument of which city is better (for whatever purpose); and, naturally, you seek out the honest opinion of someone who has lived in both cities. I'm happy to oblige.
First, my qualifications. I was born in Dallas, raised in the greater DFW area, educated in the greater DFW area, and the majority of my family still lives in the greater DFW area. DFW is and always will be home for me no matter where I go. My father lived in Houston for about 10 years ( from '89 to '98) giving me reason to visit often, I've spent at least one day a month in Houston my entire 15 year career in handling claims, and I lived in Houston for 3 years. Houston (along with Austin) is a second home for me.
Now, let's look at some important issues and compare the respective venues.
Traffic:Houston and Dallas people always argue about which city has the worst traffic. Houston says Dallas is worse and vice versa. Based on my personal experience commuting in both cities, Houston has worse traffic. Regardless of which city you're in, traffic is a fact of life to be dealt with. I prefer to avoid it altogether.
Transportation:Dallas wins this one hands down in my opinion. Dallas is 10 years ahead of Houston on public transportation. The DART light rail system will take you from the southeast and southwest corners of the city through downtown to the north and northeast. The line heading to Las Colinas in the northwest is due to be finished next year. There is even a connection to take you from Downtown Dallas to DFW airport and downtown Ft. Worth. The bus service is good and spreads through many of the suburbs
Housing:Depending on where you look and what you want, I'd say Houston and Dallas are about evenly matched with respect to price and selection.
Church:I have to give the nod to Houston on this one. [The Queen] and I have visited a lot of congregations around the country and met quite a few people in the church from around the world, Houston has the most loving, sincere, open, welcoming, [insert your favorite descriptive adjective here] I've come across. That's not to say that there is anything wrong with the Dallas congregation because I know many good people there as well. [ed. note: These two are a part of the same church group with congregations in both cities.]
Job Market:I don't know much about the respective job markets outside of my field; however, I can tell you that, in my field, the Dallas job market is growing slowly while the Houston market is dying quickly. L., I know you mentioned you work in IT. The best man at our wedding is an IT guy here in Dallas. If you'd like, I can put the two of you in touch so you can ask someone in the business what he thinks of the job market. C., you mentioned customer service and I talked with you about insurance. There are still workers comp claim jobs in Houston as well as personal auto claim jobs, but the industry as a whole is moving away from Houston as a claims center. However, every insurance agent in the world is looking for good customer service reps, and Houston has its fair share of those.
Environment:I give the nod to Dallas. Mold is an issue in Houston. Almost every house [The Queen] and I looked at to buy had mold in it. Houston is the heart of the petrochem industry. Air pollution is a fact of life and a cause for concern especially if you have a weak immune system. Ask [The Queen]. Dallas has its issues with air pollution, but not to the same level as Houston. Houston is more humid than Dallas due to its proximity to the coast. Heat levels are about the same. If anything, Dallas gets a little hotter than Houston, but Houston feels hotter because of the humidity.
Schools:Toss up. I have no experience with public schools in either Houston or Dallas proper. I was educated in a suburb with a highly rated public school system. I can't say I got a bad education, but I didn't apply myself as much as I should have either. Based on news reports I've heard in both cities, stick to home schooling, private schools or suburban school districts if you are blessed with kids. Both cities have multiple public and private university and community college options for furthering ones education as necessary.
Miscellaneous:Toss up. Houston and DFW are both major metropolitan areas. Houston is the fourth largest city in the US. Dallas is in the top 10. You've got airports in both cities that will take you anywhere in the world. There is major industry and business in both cities. Both cities individually have more choices for entertainment and activities than some small STATES have. Both cities have former presidents in residence (Houston has Daddy Bush, and Dallas has W). It's a one hour flight on Southwest from Dallas to Houston or a four hour drive (plus or minus) on I-45 making family and friends close at hand for regular visits.