Honest Pros and Cons of Living in Fort Worth

living in fort worth pros and cons

Thinking of moving to Fort Worth?

Having grown up in Fort Worth, moved away for college, and moved back, I’ve experienced Fort Worth both as where I was raised and as a trying-to-find-my-place city post grad. Whether you’re intrigued and excited by how many people are moving to Fort Worth, or are hesitant with some of the policies in place, this is my two cents.

The Pros of Living in Fort Worth:

According to census data, Fort Worth is the third fastest growing city in the country! With the following pros of living in FW, it’s easy to see why!

1. Strong Job Market

The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is home to lots of major Fortune 500 companies, ranking 4th highest in the US.

LinkedIn updated their Top Companies: City Edition last year, and named DFW as a locale to pay attention to, with plenty of major companies investing in their workforce.

With national brands such as AT&T and Southwest Airlines headquartered in Dallas, and companies such as Toyota, Lockheed Martin, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. at the top of LinkedIn’s list, Dallas-Fort Worth has ample opportunities for those in the technology, financial services, healthcare, and aviation fields.

And if these aren’t your field, keep reading! There’s even a strong job market for artists here, too.

2. No State Income Tax, Average Cost of Living

There are currently seven states with no state income tax, and Texas is one of them. By not paying state income taxes, you have more money for…rent! Just kidding. Kind of.

While DFW saw the 8th highest increase in cost of living over the past decade, the cost of living is still an affordable alternative to other major (expensive) cities. And the fact that Texas has no state income tax will allow you to keep between 3% to 13% of your income that you would otherwise spend on taxes, depending on where you’re coming from, which is no small change.

3. Friendly People, Texas Comradery

I rarely think about the warmth of Texans y’all’s until I’m elsewhere, but it’s true, we Texans are generally friendly people. Maybe it’s the warm climate, maybe it’s the southern hospitality—but there’s a warmth and comradery that’s very quintessentially Texan.

 One example of this is Texas supermarket H-E-B, which generally has Trader Joe’s level friendly cashiers (iykyk). With lots of HEB and local brands, Texas sized grocery stores (Everything’s bigger in Texas), and employee shirts that say, “Together, we are Texas strong”, HEB is kind of its own micro-culture that I think represents Texas’s friendly, we’re-all-in-this-together qualities.

4. Mild Winters

While this has some irony given the next point, generally, Texas has very mild winters. With an average high of 60℉ December through February and lows rarely dipping below freezing (winter month lows are an average of mid 30s to low 40s), you’ll find that you can hang out in your backyard and plan days at the park year-round.

forth wort weather by month
Fort Worth’s average temperatures by month (Source: BestPlaces.net)

Fort Worth averages one inch of snow a year, and it’s usually such a big deal and such a rarity when it does snow that you’ll find kids outside playing (school is out!), and adults on walks enjoying the winter wonderland, too.

If you’re hoping to move away from a more arctic climate and looking to get more of that Vitamin D year-round, move to Fort Worth, Texas. You can keep your winter coat tucked away in your closet, reserved for a skiing vacation far far away.

5. People Rally Together in Emergencies (2021 Winter Storm)

When the winter storm of February 2021 hit (one of the worst natural disasters in the state’s history), Texans found out the hard way the powers-that-be had not winterized the power grid, nor opted to connect to the national grid.

But! No one rallies together like Texans. As the outages occurred, we networked: Who still didn’t have power? Who needed a place to stay? Local businesses set up carts of food and bottled water. Social media was used for good, with people sharing where water distribution centers were set up.

I haven’t lived in another city when a natural disaster occurred, so I don’t have a comparison. But what I do know is that Texans stick together—or we at least can rally when a catastrophe hits.

6. Great Coffee, Great Coffee Culture

It seems like there’s always another local coffee shop opening up in Fort Worth—and each one is unique. Fort Worth is known for its coffee culture, with ample coffee crawls (yep, it’s like a bar crawl, but for coffee!) and latte art throw downs. No one does small business pride like Fort Worth’s coffee and restaurant culture.

Fort Worth coffee shops and business owners honor their heritage, perfect each coffee bean’s roast, and inspire songwriters like Fort Worth local Leon Bridges. Coffee has always been a beverage that signals gathering, that cultivates community, and that comes together in beautiful ways in FW.

7. Great Parks and Hikes

You’ll find a lot of locals spending time outdoors along Trinity Trails, 100+ miles of walking, running, and biking trails along Fort Worth’s Trinity River.

fort worth trinity river trails
Fort Worth’s Trinity River trails

You’ll find great local restaurants like HG Sply Co. (HG stands for Hunter + Gatherer) that overlook the river and trails, as well as ample small parks (with a playground for the kids) where you can park your car before heading for a walk.

If you’re wanting less of a walk and more of a hiking trail, there are a surprising amount of good hiking spots in and around Fort Worth. For a hike reminiscent of Austin’s Hill Country, check out Mineral Wells State Park’s Cross Timbers Trail.

For more about Fort Worth’s parks and trails, check out The 7 Best Parks in Fort Worth.

8. Art Museums and Art Festivals

Whether you’re hoping to check out the internationally renowned Kimbell Art Museum, visit the famous Amon Carter Museum, or enjoy an afternoon at The Modern (designed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando and named as one of the World’s Most Beautiful Art Museums by Travel + Leisure Magazine), you’ll find a solid Fort Worth art scene.

You’ll find more and more weekly artisan pop-ups and coffee shop stands in areas such as Sundance Square as Fort Worth continues to grow. If you’re looking for annual festivals, there are few as iconic as Near Southside’s ArtsGoggle, which is free and hosts more than 1,000 visual artists, 50 musical performances, and draws a crowd of over 60,000 people.

The Cons of Living in Fort Worth:

Living in Fort Worth has its drawbacks too. You’ll want to keep these in mind as you consider a move to the Lone Star State.

1. Hot Summers

In the heat of a Texas summer, you’ll find most Texans inside as much as possible, unless there’s a pool nearby. It gets hot.

Summer 2022’s average daily high was 100 degrees Fahrenheit, a near record. It was one of the hottest and driest summers in Central Texas history… You can see why we Texans prefer to be inside!

It’s definitely not a place you want your A/C to go out, but it is a pro that most houses in Texas have central air conditioning.

2. Least Insured State in the US

While there are some vocational opportunities for healthcare workers in Texas (Texas Health Resources is one of the biggest employers in DFW), Texas consistently ranks as the least insured state, and in 2019, ranked dead last for health insurance coverage for women ages 19-64.

Texas is one of the 14 states that has not expanded Medicaid—a joint state-federal program providing needed health care to low-income individuals—since the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010.

If you’re coming from a state where you qualify for Medicaid or another affordable healthcare option, taking a look at Texas’ current healthcare options and coverage is definitely something to keep in mind in considering a move to the Lone Star State.

3. Ranked 44th For Overall Mental Health

Mental Health America ranked Texas 44th for mental illnesses and care, and when it came to accessing mental health professionals, the results are even more grim: Texas came in last.

This comes down to a few different factors: 1) not enough trained mental health professionals 2) a low insurance coverage rate, and 3) stigma related to mental health.

There’s hope that this will change as Texas and Fort Worth specifically continue to grow and as awareness around the importance of mental health care access and the need to be trauma-informed grows.

But as of now, it’s still a con when considering a move to Fort Worth. Make sure to ask questions about insurance (and therapy coverage) if you’re interviewing for a job in Fort Worth, and do research on affordable options if you’re an independent contractor.

Pros and Cons depending on your perspective:

1. Politics

Texas remains a majority Republican state as of October 2022, and is known for its conservative policies.

If you’re looking for a place with Cowboy culture, low gas prices, and conservative values, you’ll likely find Fort Worth to be friendly and welcoming. There’s a church on every corner, and a lot of like-minded folks who value tradition.

If you’re queer, pro-choice, and/or have been impacted by the anti-immigrant rhetoric of the GOP, you might not find Texas as friendly as advertised. If you’re liberal and hoping to connect with like-minded folks, you’ll find pockets of people to connect with. Just like anywhere, the arts are often a safe haven.

If you don’t see yourself in either of these paragraphs, you’ll likely find Fort Worth to be a mixed bag. Fort Worth is known for its tight-knit community, and that’s a multitude of communities.

Like any city, Fort Worth has kind and generous people and people that are neither kind or generous, or are selective with their kindness and generosity. Every person is going to have a different take on Texas politics and policies.

Conclusion—So, is Fort Worth a good place to live?

Having grown up in Fort Worth and lived here for years as an adult, I’d say that Fort Worth is a good place to live, but like every city, it has its pros and cons. If you’re looking for a city with warm weather, a changing landscape and strong job market, Fort Worth could be for you.

I found pockets of people I connected with having moved back to FW from Washington State, and a third wave coffee shop with the familiar local, hipster vibe I knew and loved in the PNW.

Like anywhere, Fort Worth is not a place to move to on a whim. Especially if you have concerns about health care coverage or feel unsafe with GOP policies, try to network ahead of time and make sure you can find a welcoming community.

There’s community to be found, and warm weather to be enjoyed by all. I think that Fort Worth is a gem of a city, despite some of the strong opinions I have about it.