Founded in 1881, this central Texas town started as a small farming community until a railroad company bought a one-square-mile plot of land to the southwest.
The town was named Killeen after Assistant Director Frank Killeen.
The first building was constructed within one year, followed by a saloon, depot, school, and small grocery store.
As time passed, more residents called Killeen home, then by the early 20th century, the town became a shipping station for neighboring counties.
Then, in 1950, the U.S. Government placed Fort Hood in the area, which further helped the population expand.
Today, Killeen is a city of over 150,000 residents.
If you’re interested in becoming one of those growing numbers of residents, keep reading to learn more about the pros and cons of living in Killeen, Texas!
- Pros of Living in Killeen, TX
- Cons of Living in Killeen, TX
- Pros and Cons of Living in Killeen, TX – Summary Table
- Frequently Asked Questions
Pros of Living in Killeen, TX
1. Excellent Air Quality
Given its central Texas location, the area around Killeen is relatively flat, with some minor hills dotting the landscape.
That means any pollution generated by the city and surrounding area quickly moves east.
Also, with an average humidity level of around 75% year-round, which is close to the average state humidity level of 76%, Killeen lacks dry air, which helps eliminate smog and other hazardous air particles, thus allowing for clean and fresh air.
Given its low crime in many areas, excellent educational system from kindergarten through college, open-mindedness, and spacious living, Killeen is a family-friendly destination, especially for those who are relocating due to the military.
Many others have set up shop with their family in Killeen, and they are helpful and friendly to outsiders.
Although there aren’t many family community events in Kileen, the area boasts plenty of water parks, trampoline businesses, and bowling alleys for a fun family day or evening.
3. Fast Internet Connectivity
Given its low population and number of colleges and universities in the area, one major advantage is Killeen boasts excellent internet connectivity.
For those working remotely and looking to move to this area, having secure, robust, and fast internet connectivity can be a major advantage compared to large cities where internet transfer rates can drastically slow during peak usage times.
4. Generally, a Safe City
Killeen has a total crime rating higher than the national average, with 28 incidents per 1,000 people.
However, violent and property crimes are lower than the national average, with ratings of 4 and 23 per 1,000 residents.
The reason for this discrepancy is crime rates vary significantly between neighborhoods, so it’s important to evaluate more granular crime levels in your desired area.
Overall, Killeen is a safe place to live and raise a family, especially in the low-crime areas.
5. High Education Quality Level
92% of Killeen residents hold a high school diploma, while 21% have a bachelor’s degree or higher.
Also, the high school dropout rate is only 8%, meaning residents of the town emphasize basic education.
Also, major colleges and universities are located within the metropolitan area, including Texas A&M University, Temple College, the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, and Central Texas College, not to mention a variety of community colleges.
This brain power and advanced education bring innovation to the surrounding area.
6. LGBTQ+ Friendly
The open-minded thinking congruent with colleges and universities has made Killeen an LGBTQ+-friendly destination with gay-friendly shops, restaurants, and hotels popping up around town.
Since most residents accept the LGBTQ+ community, more establishments are opening to cater to this group and support an alternative lifestyle.
7. Spacious Area
Unlike many other Texas cities, Killeen residents don’t live on top of each other.
The population density continues to remain low, with new developments popping up around the area, but still maintaining a high level of distancing between neighbors.
For those looking to move from an overpopulated and overcrowded city, where traffic is high and personal space is limited, Killeen maintains that distancing feels that America was originally built upon.
As a result, many new residents have flocked to Killeen to live a more spacious lifestyle.
8. Well-Organized Traffic
Like with any city, traffic during rush hour periods can be crippling.
However, given Killeen’s small population, it won’t take long to get to most places.
Killeen’s city planners over the years have expanded with future growth in mind, which is heavily reflected in the clean and efficient streets that keep traffic moving.
With highway 90, business route 190 (for trucks), and route 195 running through town, it’s easy to drive in or out of the city for work or to make your way around town to run weekend errands.
Cons of Living in Killeen, TX
1. Cold in the Winter
With such elevated temperatures in the summer, you would think the winters would be pleasant and mild.
Well, they are freezing. Given Killeen’s location in the mostly flat central part of the state, it’s wide open air.
Therefore, the same breeze and openness that quickly push pollution out of the area lack the protective qualities of an ocean or mountains.
The result of this protective cover is low in December, January, and February into the 30s.
It’s not unheard of for Killeen to also have snowfall, although it doesn’t stick.
Instead, ice is a significant problem in central Texas during the winter and can be incredibly dangerous.
2. Expensive Food
Although Killeen is well under the national and Texas cost of a living average, utilities and grocery bills are near the Texas average, which is surprising for such a small city.
In recent years, there has been an increase in new development in the city, with a lack of new business growth
This is likely attributed to remote employees who want to escape city life and have more space, less traffic, and a calmer lifestyle.
The result of new residents in town causes all prices to rise, almost to an unaffordable rate.
3. Incredibly Hot in the Summer
Summers across Texas, including Killeen, are absolutely brutal to the point where it’s difficult to go outside.
Unsurprisingly, June, July, and August are the three hottest months of the year, with average highs being 91 F, 94 F, and 95 F.
Couple these already excessive temperatures with high humidity levels and dew points, and your real feel temperatures will consistently be in the 100s
If you don’t like hot weather or humidity, Killeen is not the place for you or become a snowbird!
4. Lack of Police Presence
Overall, Killeen is a safe city with minor property crimes being the biggest offenders, which usually relates to bored teenagers since there isn’t much to do in this town.
Since it’s a safe city, there is a significant lack of police presence unless major events occur.
That means drivers ignore local traffic laws, have poor driving habits, including reckless driving, and plenty of loud vehicles don’t follow local noise laws.
5. Limited Activities
Although a family-friendly town due to safety, spacious land plots, and excellent education, few activities exist to support families.
Killeen lacks extensive community programs geared toward children and family bonding events.
Also, there aren’t many parks within the town limits, and the only museum in town is a tattoo museum.
Given the excellent education system in Killeen, it’s surprising there aren’t more museums and activities for children to expand their horizons.
6. Little to No Uniqueness
If you’re moving to Killeen expecting a nice range of ma and pa stores and restaurants, think again.
Killeen is full of chain restaurants and big box stores, which steal the town’s identity.
Also, there isn’t much downtown area to walk around and pop into a local restaurant or bar.
Killeen will be your worst nightmare for those coming from major cities that are walkable and have cute little shops and eclectic restaurants.
7. Not Safe for Women at Night
Given the lack of police presence, the city can be unsafe for women walking around late at night.
Also, given that several major colleges and universities are in the area, women need to be vigilant when at bars and nightclubs at night since slipping drugs into women’s drinks has been known to occur.
Traveling with a companion or group is always best when going out on the town and having a few drinks.
8. Poor Entertainment Options
Despite the several colleges in the area, the entertainment options in Killeen are lacking compared to many other Texas college towns and cities of comparable size.
Texas A&M Central is the newest member of the A&M public school system, so they don’t yet have a football team.
Those looking to go to a Texas A&M game must drive two hours to College Station.
Austin is the closest major city and is a one-hour drive away without traffic.
That means it’s feasible for a day trip but not a good option to visit regularly.
Pros and Cons of Living in Killeen, TX – Summary Table
|Pros of Living in Killeen, TX
|Cons of Living in Killeen, TX
|1. Excellent Air Quality
|1. Cold in the Winter
|2. Expensive Food
|3. Fast Internet Connectivity
|3. Incredibly Hot in the Summer
|4. Generally, a Safe City
|4. Lack of Police Presence
|5. High Education Quality Level
|5. Limited Activities
|6. LGBTQ+ Friendly
|6. Little to No Uniqueness
|7. Spacious Area
|7. Not Safe for Women at Night
|8. Well-Organized Traffic
|8. Poor Entertainment Options
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Killeen a nice place to live?
Like any city, living in Killeen has plenty of drawbacks.
However, Killeen was ranked as the 5th best place to live in Texas based on the “Best Places to Live in Texas” study launched by U.S. News & World Report.
The other four were the four largest Texas cities – Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, and San Antonio.
Do hurricanes impact Killeen?
Since Killeen is so far inland, hurricanes that tear through the Texas coastline have a minor impact on the city.
Rain and flooding could occur as a side effect of the hurricane bands, but it’s rare to have significant damage.
Does Killeen get tornadoes?
Given its relatively flat location, you would think Killeen gets slammed with tornadoes yearly.
While Killeen falls outside Tornado Alley, it still receives some tornadoes that produce minor damage.
71 historic tornadoes have been recorded of at least a magnitude of 2 since records were first kept.
What are the top three best Killeen neighborhoods?
The three safest areas in the city are Kiowa Court / Tonkawa Court, which is comprised of residences from the 1970s – 2000s, Santee Court / Shawnee Court, which has homes from 2000 to the present, and Hood Road / Central Avenue, which is a historic neighborhood with homes before 1939.
What are the top three neighborhoods to avoid in Killeen?
Most residents would agree that the area bordering Fort Hood and Rancier Avenue is the most dangerous in the city.
This section of town also happens to be the oldest to date.
One of the other oldest and most dangerous is North Young Drive and Lake Road, which borders the Fort Hood Army Airfield and Westcliff.
The third most dangerous is the bustling area at East Veterans Memorial and South W.S. Young Drive near Trimmier Road.