10 Things We Like About Texas, And Some We’re Not So Fond Of|
From “Remember the Alamo” to “everything’s bigger in Texas,” the Lone Star State is known for its braggadocio as much as anything else. Rarely, though, can a state back up its swagger as well as Texas.
Want to know more? The following is a list of 10 things we like about Texas. In here, you’ll uncover a few of the things that really define the size of Texas, many of which we really like (barbecue, anyone?), plus a couple of things we don’t.
Texas boasts about 13% of the cattle inventory in the United States, almost twice the number of the next-closest state (Nebraska, with 7.2%, based on 2018 numbers). Texas is also home to two of the four largest ranches in the U.S. The biggest is King Ranch, which at 825,000 acres is larger than the state of Rhode Island. It’s home to 35,000 cattle and 200 Quarter Horses (and even has an edition of a pickup truck named after it). Also on the list, at No. 4, is the Waggoner Ranch, covering 510,527 acres in north Texas, which has cattle, horses and crops.
If Texas were a country, it would have the 9th-largest economy in the world. In 2021, the gross domestic product for Texas was 1,985.32 BILLION, or roughly 10% of the nation’s economy. California leads the way, with 3,356.63 billion. (Statista, 2022)
In terms of exports, Texas ranked first at $315,938,509,210 in 2018. Texas ranked second in imports, with $304,474,647,970. (Wikipedia, 2018)
Texas, with approximately 30,000,000 residents, is second in population only to California. It’s also second in terms of size. At more than 261,000 square miles of land, it’s the largest state in the contiguous U.S., and second only to Alaska in total acreage.
Houston is the most populous city in Texas and the 4th-largest in the United States with more than 2.3 million residents. San Antonio is 7th in the U.S., with another 1.57 million residents, and Dallas is 10th, with 1.4 million. In terms of metropolitan areas, Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington is the 4th-largest in the country, with more than 7.7 million residents. Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land is right behind in 5th, with more than 7.2 million. San Antonio (24th) and Austin (28th) are also in the top 30 largest metros in the U.S.
In the summer of 2022, Texas had more than 34,000 homes available plus the highest volume of new construction, at more than a quarter-million units. Lower median home costs and lower mortgage rates make the state an attractive destination. (FitSmallBusiness, 2022)
Texas has 135 four-year institutions of higher education, plus another 83 two-year institutions, trailing only California and New York. Texas A&M University in College Station had the largest enrollment in the country, with 73,284 students for the 2021-22 academic year. The University of Texas at Austin is also in the top 10 in enrollment, with 52,384 in the fall of 2022.
Texas had more than 8 million automobile registrations in 2020, second only to California’s 14 million, and ahead of Florida’s 7.8 million. (Statista, 2020) In 2022, the Toyota Camry was the most popular car in Texas, just barely edging out the Ford F-150.
In a state of big things, it doesn’t get much bigger than Big Tex, a 55-ft.-tall statute of a cowboy that is both a cultural icon and mascot of the Texas State Fair. Big Tex has been on display in Dallas at the fairgrounds since 1952, although the original burned on its 50th birthday during the last day of the 2012 fair. The replacement, three feet taller and able to withstand 100 mph winds, debuted in time for the 2013 fair.
High School Football
Texas had the highest number of High School Football teams, with 123, two ahead of Florida with 121, as of fall 2022. It’s not just popular for the athletes, but also with the fans. Texas boasts eight of the nine largest high school stadiums in the U.S., with Toyota Stadium in Frisco and Memorial Stadium in Mesquite each able to hold 20,000 or more fans.
Two Texas schools were nationally ranked in the top 10 at the end of 2022, including Duncanville (6th) and North Shore (10th).
According to the Texas Restaurant Association, there are more than 53,000 restaurants in the Lone Star State. Famous chains that got their start in Texas include Whataburger (1950, Corpus Christi), Fuddruckers (1979, San Antonio), Chili’s (1975, Dallas), Romano’s Macaroni Grill (1988, Leon Springs), Carrabba’s Italian Grill (1986, Houston), Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille (1979, Houston), Jason’s Deli (1976, Beaumont) and Schlotzky’s (1971, Austin).
Whataburger is arguably the best-known burger joint, with 716 Whataburgers in Texas, or 76% of all their locations across the south and southeast U.S. Of the 18,139 fast-food joints in Texas, Whataburger is ranked 5th based on the number of locations, only behind national chains Pizza Hut (805), Sonic (950), McDonald’s (1,146) and Subway (2,108).
When most people think of Texas, barbecue is usually the first thing that comes to mind. Depending on who you ask, Texas has the best barbecue in the country, with three cities ranked in the top 12. San Antonio and Austin are first and second, respectively, and Dallas ranks 12th. Restaurants per capita, the distance between restaurants, the cost of meats and hosted BBQ events were among the qualifying criteria in the list of The Best BBQ Cities in America: 2022.
Texas is one of only eight states in the U.S. without personal income taxes. That’s a stark contrast from California, which has a 13.3% personal income tax rate for those earning more than $1 million (or 12.3% if you make under $1M). Hawaii (11%) and New Jersey (10.75%) are second and third, respectively.
As of 2021, Texas had the largest number of veterans in the U.S., with about 1.4 million total. San Antonio also had the third-highest percentage of veterans within the adult population, with 9.6%. Thank you for your service!
Not Our Favorites
To quote Indiana Jones, “why did it have to be snakes?” The Lone Star State has more than 115 different species and subspecies of snakes, making it the highest number of snake types of anywhere in the United States. Only 15% of those are venomous, but it’s probably a good idea to steer clear regardless.
Another thing we don’t always like about Texas has got to be the traffic. The Lone Star State has three cities listed in the top 20 for hours lost in traffic. Houston is the worst of the Texas cities, ranking 9th (with 74 hours lost per year), with Dallas, 14th (56 hours), and Austin, 18th (53 hours) also on the list. Fortunately, Houston’s tally is less than half as bad as Chicago, which tops the list with 155 hours lost (that’s almost 6-1/2 days spent in traffic per year!).
With a state as big as Texas, it’s no wonder there’s a lot of variety in the weather. The west is typically arid, while the east is much more humid.
Houston, near the Gulf of Mexico, can be hot and humid throughout the summer, with highs approaching 100 F. Austin and Dallas can hit the upper 90s in the warmest months.
Located further north, Dallas can sometimes get snow in the winter months, and can see lows in the 30s. Austin can see lows in the mid-40s, while Houston stays between 45 and 63 in the coldest months.
The state ranks first in tornadoes, with an average of 139 per year, especially in the northern and eastern portions of the state. Thunderstorms, tropical cyclones and hurricanes are common, with flooding events causing serious issues, particularly in the southeastern portion of the state.
In Conclusion: What Do You Like About Texas?
Whether you already live in Texas or are planning to move to the Lone Star State, Texas has just about everything, including a few Store Space locations. Let us know your thoughts about Texas in the comments below, especially anything we might have missed, and we’ll consider it for a future blog post.
Writer who also enjoys cars, guitars and Mars bars.