Austin was recently named the best city in the U.S. to live by U.S. News & World Report. We wholeheartedly agree! For outsiders, though, it might take some convincing to get someone to understand what makes Austin the best. Although we could do a very good job of convincing you, we’d rather you hear from other experts who don’t live here.
Austin’s Booming Tech Scene
Forbes recently did a pretty good job of explaining what makes Austin the best place to live in the U.S. Chief among them is that in addition to being the political capital of the state, Austin is the tech capital of Texas. Austin has some pretty big names to brag about, such as Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Samsung and Oracle.
And we can’t mention tech giants without giving a special mention to Dell, which was founded in 1984 by Michael Dell while he was at the University of Texas at Austin. That fledgling tech company helped set the stage for the city’s tech boom. Since then, Dell has grown to become one of the biggest employers in Austin.
A Thriving Startup Environment
You can’t talk Austin tech without also mentioning the incredible startup environment here. According to the Forbes article, there are about 6,500 startups and tech companies based in Austin. In fact, Austin is described as “one of the most significant cities in the country for entrepreneurship and a recognized hub for startups.”
Angelos G. Angelou, CEO of AngelouEconomics, a technology consulting firm that advises cities trying to attract investment, as well as companies looking for new locations.
Previously, Angelou was the vice president for economic development for the Austin Chamber of Commerce, as well as its chief economist. He helps to illustrate the significance of the Austin startup scene and what it can provide entrepreneurs.
“Austin attracts annually about a billion dollars in venture capital investment and another billion dollars in corporate entity investments.” With investment power like that, Austin can make a lot of entrepreneurial dreams come true. Since the cost of living in the Austin area is significantly less than other U.S. tech hubs, starting a business here allows business owners to stretch those investment dollars to get more for their money.
An Affordable Lifestyle
A low cost of living is appealing to just about everyone, which is one reason why so many people are relocating to the Texas capital. The state requires no personal income tax, and the city has more affordable housing than it’s more high-profile competitor cities. According to the Economic Policy Institute’s family budget calculator, which factors in expenses like housing, food, transportation, and health care it costs about $3,197 per month for a single adult to live in Austin. In comparison, it costs $5,756 per month for a single adult to live in San Francisco.
“Housing options can cost [thousands] a month more in California than a comparable option in Austin, so moving employees here can effectively give them a pay-raise without raising their salary,” says Hurley.
A Collaborative Environment and Abundant Lifestyle Options
Outside of financial benefits, Austin has a very rich and vibrant startup culture with a strong sense of collaboration that doesn’t seem to be common. William Hurley, a.k.a. “whurley,” is a highly recognized Austin-based entrepreneur who is now on his third startup, Strangeworks. Its mission is to use quantum physics to reinvent computing. His previous company, Honest Dollar — a retirement platform — was bought by Goldman Sachs in 2016. Before that, he sold Chaotic Moon, a creative studio, to Accenture. Hurley has lived in Austin for almost 25 years. “Austin is an amazing city for entrepreneurs,” says Hurley. “There are tons of founders and a community of startups to lean on when you’re just getting started.”
Unlike most other startup hubs, Austin is a thriving city, rich with amenities and blessed with an abundance of outdoor activities. According to Lorek: “Austin is a special place with an appealing culture. It has a lot of great parks, river access, hike and bike trails, good food, great music and it has a collaborative tech culture that is warm and accepting of people who are not from here.”
An open and accepting attitude toward newcomers is a big benefit to the thousands of people moving here every year. According to census figures released April 18, the Austin metro experienced a net migration of 37,212 newcomers to the area. That breaks down to 102 people moving to the metro per day.
All of that in-migration is fueling the economic growth that the region has been experiencing in recent years. Since job growth leads to population growth, Austin’s sustained economic expansion has brought new consumers to the region that provide the energy for the region to continue to grow. That growth isn’t expected to end anytime soon.
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