Houston More Expensive Than New York? Not So Fast

A recent study claiming that transportation costs in Houston, among other expenses, raise the cost of living almost to the same level as living in New York City. Some took exception to the study's methodology.

Read Time: 1 minute

January 29, 2020, 7:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


I-45 and I-69

Trong Nguyen / Shutterstock

A recently published report by the Citizens Budget Commission made news in urbanism circles for daring to publish the claim that living in Houston is almost expensive as living in New York City, due to the former's sprawling layout.

The study invoked vitriol among some online commentators (many tending toward the "market urbanism" spectrum of the urbanism debate) about the assumptions embedded in the study's methodology.

Connor Harris, writing for the Manhattan Institute, fleshes out those objections in a full-fledged attack on the Citizen Budget Commission's report. Harris argues that the study made several crucial mistakes, with more detail listed in the article for each: 1) Using metropolitan-area averages, 2) Counting taxes selectively, 3) Overlooking differences in quality, and 4) Making misleading income adjustments.

"Texas Monthly [which broadcast the study's findings] told a story that a lot of people wanted to hear: loosely regulated housing markets like Houston have long embarrassed ideological opponents of free markets who insist that only rent controls and massive public subsidies can provide affordable housing," writes Harris. "There is a ready audience for the argument that Houston’s affordability is a mirage. If you ever find an argument like this tempting, though, ask yourself: is it more likely that you’re mistaken, or that the millions of Americans voting with their feet are?"

Saturday, January 25, 2020 in E21

Chicago Commute

The Right to Mobility

As we consider how to decarbonize transportation, preserving mobility, especially for lower- and middle-income people, must be a priority.

January 26, 2023 - Angie Schmitt

Aerial view of Bend, Oregon with river and old mill district

Bend Eliminates Parking Minimums

The city is complying with an Oregon state mandate that some cities have challenged in court.

January 20, 2023 - KTVZ

Sunset view over canal and downtown Scottsdale, Arizona

Scottsdale Cuts Water Supply to Nearby Suburb

The city claims it has no responsibility to provide water to the unincorporated Maricopa County community.

January 18, 2023 - The Washington Post

Aerial view of Ogden, Utah with Wasatch Mountains in the background

Utah Could Eliminate Parking Requirements Near Transit

A proposed state bill would bar cities from requiring parking in areas adjacent to transit stations in an effort to make housing production more affordable and encourage walking and transit use.

6 hours ago - The Salt Lake Tribune

People on bikes on crowded Rue de Rivoli in Paris in 2020

Where Pandemic Bike Improvements Won Out

While some cities are reverting back to pre-pandemic street configurations, others are taking advantage of the momentum for bike and pedestrian infrastructure to make pandemic-era projects permanent.

January 29 - Momentum Magazine

Atlanta Rail Service

Atlanta Transit Plans Stall Due to Budget Concerns

With MARTA facing a potential billion dollar shortfall, the agency says it can’t fulfill its system expansion plan.

January 29 - Urbanize Atlanta