Manhattan residents often find themselves dreaming of the paradise that is Houston, Texas. The cars; the affordable barbecue; the murders. It's a working man's promised land. But why must some people have the bad fortune to get stuck in NYC, while others live the dream by breaking free and making their way to the sweltering heart of Texas? Luckily there's a Harvard economist to explain exactly how Houston came to be so much better than New York!
Edward Glaeser, an Econ professor at Harvard, has a long study in the New York Sun today about why Houston's population grew more than seven times faster than NYC over the last seven years. My guess would have been "nothing to do down there but make babies," but no! Turns out the answer is Houston's "ability to provide affordable living for middle-income Americans, something that is increasingly hard to achieve in the Big Apple."
- Housing costs are way cheaper in Houston. Middle class people can buy houses.
- There's no state or city income tax in Houston.
- Property taxes are lower in Houston.
- You earn less money in Houston, but not that much less. You pay more in transportation costs, but not that much more. And you get to ride around in an air conditioned SUV, rather than a subway car.
- It's cheaper to build sprawling, hellacious strip developments in Houston because there's less government regulation of construction.