Dallas Vs. Nashville: Which City Is Better to Live In?

Upgraded Home Team
by Upgraded Home Team

Comparing two Southern cities is tricky, especially two cities as vibrant and exciting as Dallas and Nashville. Both offer fantastic culture, plenty of entertainment, and generally lovely weather all year. But, upon closer examination, Dallas is a better city to live in for the average person.

While the cost of living is comparable between Dallas and Nashville, Dallas offers more opportunities for new residents. Excellent education, the highest median salaries, and a lower cost of living make Dallas a desirable place to move. Further, Dallas has top-notch educational facilities and better transportation, making this a fun and accessible city to live in.

Of course, Nashville should not be overlooked, offering a safer city with more nightlife and entertainment. If you have trouble deciding between the two cities, consulting with a real estate agent or the respective chamber of commerce can help answer your questions and point out the pros and cons of living in each city.

Which City Is Better: Dallas or Nashville?

For our comparisons, we take a deep dive into several measurable and abstract features of the cities to determine a winning city. Of course, we always want to consider our final verdict based on how an average person would live and work within the city limits.

Quality of Life

If you are willing to relocate to a different city, considering the quality of life is the paramount factor to determine your final location. Of course, you want to afford the city you move to, but you also need to be sure that you will be healthy and happy in your new city.

Dallas and Nashville are virtually tied for the overall cost of living, however, housing will be less expensive in Dallas. Residents in Dallas will also enjoy less pollution, cheaper food and groceries, and will see their money go further with far more purchasing power.

Alternatively, Nashville offers cheaper transportation and a slightly shorter commute with better transportation options. Nashville also boasts a safer city with lower crime rates, giving you much-needed peace of mind living in the city.

Winner: Dallas

Cost of Living

Being able to afford the city you live in is essential for overall quality of life, and happily, Dallas and Nashville are just about tied (with Dallas being 0.2% cheaper) when it comes to the cost of living. In Dallas, people will enjoy cheaper housing options for both purchasing a home and rental costs. However, transportation will cost about 16% more, and utilities will be slightly higher at about 0.7% more costly.

On the other hand, Nashville is slightly more expensive for food and groceries, costing residents about 3% more than Dallas. The big difference in the cost of living comes from the housing. In Nashville, expect to pay about 18% more for a new home and slightly more in rental prices.

Winner: Tie

Housing Costs

Housing is one of the major differentiators between Dallas and Nashville. Dallas offers much more affordable living accommodations, with lower average home prices and lower rental rates. The average home sells for about $188,000 in Dallas, yet only about 41% of the population owns a home.

Comparatively, Nashville housing is much more expensive. The median price for a home is around $239,000, and rentals for a one-bedroom apartment will be approximately $1,100 per month. Despite the higher home prices, more people own their homes in Nashville, with about 54% of the resident population owning their homes.

Median House Price$188,100$239,000
Average Rent 1 BDRM$1,052$1,100

Winner: Dallas

Job Market

Examining the job market shows the tale of two very different cities and situations. Dallas is hard hit with unemployment rates that are almost twice the national average. Further, the projected job growth is not nearly as strong, forecasting only 45%. Yet, the median household income is higher compared the Nashville. Several major companies, including Exxon Mobile and Southwest, have their headquarters in Dallas.

Comparatively, Nashville has a much lower unemployment rate and a higher projected job growth expectancy than Dallas. Still, the median family income is almost $25,000 below that of Dallas. Major industries in Nashville include tourism, music production, and healthcare management. Both Nissan North American and The Kroger Company are headquartered in Nashville.

Projected 10-Year Growth45.1%48.3%
Median Household Income$85,982$59,828
Median Personal Income$34,479$35,243

Winner: Nashville


Nashville is the heart of music country and has strong African American influences. Because Nashville is the home of several famous blues musicians, you can expect to find live music regularly throughout the city. Several venues also offer jazz, country, and rock music, which help create a southern atmosphere and culturally blended city.

Comparatively, Dallas has been historically White but has seen more Hispanic immersion in the culture in the past few years. This fact is most present in culinary offerings. Dallas is home to some of the best BBQ, Mexican Cuisine, and Tex Mex food offerings in the country. Further, Dallas has a strong religious base, being part of the Bible Belt, and there is heavy Christian influence in day-to-day life.

Winner: Tie


As the state’s capital, Nashville has plenty to offer residents in the way of leisure and entertainment. Not only is the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, but residents will also get to visit the Johnny Cash Museum as well as the Ryman Auditorium in the downtown area. Nashville has a lively nightlife with live music readily available for people passing through the city or enjoying a night out on the town.

Not to be outdone, Dallas also has several attractions and leisure activities. There is a museum that commemorates the site where President Kennedy was assassinated. The city has a great collection of Asian Art available at the Dallas Museum of Art, which also features sculpture. This northern city in Texas has plenty of nightlife offerings with bars, clubs, and restaurants available in the city center.

Winner: Nashville


Dallas has some fantastic public transportation options that make it very easy to move throughout the city. There are buses, and a public rail system helps people get anywhere in the downtown area. Couple this with great highways to connect to other cities and not one but two airports, and transportation is a breeze through Dallas.

Although there is a great public bus system in Nashville, it just can’t compare to what Dallas offers when it comes to transportation. Nashville has major highways to help connect to other cities, as well as an international airport.

Winner: Dallas


The demographic landscaping is continuously evolving in Dallas, and what was once a predominantly White city has recently included several other ethnicities. According to the most recent census, 50% of people in Dallas self-identified as White (but only 28% were non-Hispanic).

In comparison, 24.8% were Black or African American, and 2.9% of the population identified as Asian. Most of the people living in Dallas are between 25 and 44 years of age, and at least 45% of the population has had some experience with a high school degree and some exposure to college.

Likewise, Nashville is also a diverse city but is still predominantly White, with 65.5% of the population identifying as White and 58% as non-Hispanic. Nearly 29% of the population is African American, and 3.5% identifies as Asian. The majority of people at least have a Bachelor’s degree or some exposure to college. Nashville is a diverse city with people of all adult ages, ranging from 25 to 54.

Winner: Dallas


The education system in Dallas is top-notch for grade school and high school. Both public and private schools received the best possible ratings when considering both the academics and the athletic opportunities for students. There are also several higher education facilities, including branch campuses for the University of North Texas and the University of Texas. Dallas is home to the University of Dallas.

Comparatively, Nashville doesn’t fare well when it comes to high school and grade school options for children. These schools offer limited educational exposure and are only mediocre for both private and public instruction. Nashville, however, is home to the prestigious Vanderbilt University, which provides high-quality education to those pursuing higher education degrees.

Winner: Dallas


The weather comparison between Nashville and Dallas can be a bit of a toss-up. In Nashville, residents will experience a broader range of temperatures. Summers will be around 90 degrees F, while winters will drop to about 40 degrees F. Dallas comparatively has warmer weather, with summers reaching the mid-90s and winters only dropping to around 60 degrees F on average.

Strong and violent storms are a significant consideration with Nashville weather, which frequently sees tornadoes and damaging thunderstorms. While Texas is home to powerful storms and frequent tornadoes, these intense storms rarely ever reach Dallas. Instead, the neighboring cities and communities, like Fort Worth, receive the brunt of the severe weather.

Winner: Dallas

Crime Rates

Unfortunately, neither Dallas nor Nashville are particularly great for crime rates, with both reporting much more crime than the national averages. Dallas has a high occurrence of violent crimes, with murder more than twice the national average. Both assault cases and rape cases are more than double the national average. Theft is below the average, however, motor vehicle theft is about three times as high in Dallas compared to the norm.

Crime is still prevalent in Nashville, but not quite as high. Assault, murder, and rape are about twice the average. However, property crimes are better than in Dallas. Burglary rates are below the national average, and theft and motor vehicle theft are only slightly over average.

Winner: Nashville

Related Questions

Is Dallas really home to “America’s” football team?

The nickname “America’s Team” started in the 1978 film featuring the Dallas Cowboys. It was explained that the Cowboys football team appears in public more than any other team in the NFL. While football is a huge part of Dallas culture and weekend activity, the city is slowly losing its grasp as America’s team. It was recently suggested that the Kansas City Chiefs are growing in popularity and may soon become the new “America” team.

What food is Nashville known for?

Nashville has loads of culture and history just brimming around every corner, and a significant component of their culture is their famed cuisine. Nashville is known for its comfort food and is home to some of the best fried green tomatoes, mac and cheese, collard greens, baked beans, and potato salad around.


Comparing two cities can be difficult, especially two cities that seemingly have nothing in common. While the cost of living is just about the same between Dallas and Nashville, Dallas becomes the clear-cut winner.

Between excellent projected job growth, cheaper housing options, and a higher family median income, Dallas easily becomes a more affordable city with money stretching further. Couple this with the fantastic demographic blend, Southern culture, and fantastic educational opportunities, and it is hard to beat Dallas as the outright winner.

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