16 Pros and Cons of Living in Waco, TX

Updated On October 9, 2023
Waco, TX

There are many wonderful places to live in the United States of America.

You can choose from a variety of landscapes across the fifty states.

Texas is a popular state for individuals to live in, as it is in the center of the state, does not have very cold weather, and is well known for its culture, food, and more.

Waco, Texas is one of the cities that is popular for Texans to choose to live.

Waco is known for many things, both good and bad.

Waco is well known for the siege of the Branch Davidian compound back in 1993, putting the city on the map for true crime fans all over the country.

Several years later, Chip and Joanna Gaines started a home improvement show on the home and garden network (HGTV) that started the Magnolia empire of home decor, home improvement, DIY, and so much more.

Now Waco is known as the home of Magnolia as well. 

Waco has tourists that travel from all over the world to visit Magnolia, various historical sites, factories, and more.

However, when it comes to choosing a place to live, what are the pros and cons of living in Waco, Texas?

Read below to see both the pros and cons of living in this central Texas city. 

Waco, TX
Waco, TX

Pros of Living in Waco, Texas

1. Energetic City

With the addition of more tourist attractions also comes better dining, lodging, and overall infrastructure.

People love to visit Waco, Texas because of its overall pleasant atmosphere.

Energy radiates throughout the downtown streets, attracting people to come and enjoy what Waco has to offer.

With so many colleges in and around Waco, Texas, there are many young people around that contribute to the overall energy and vigor that is felt all around Waco. 

2. Lots to Do and Explore

Tourists come from all over the world to Waco for the different tourist spots in the city.

These include the Magnolia Homes empire, the Dr. Pepper museum, and so much more.

There is no lack of things to do for residents of Waco.

The tourists come for the attractions, but there is also natural beauty all around.

The people all across Waco are friendly and make the town feel more like a small town than a big city.

You will never have to be bored in Waco. 

3. Central Texas

Waco is located in the central part of the state of Texas.

This is a good thing because it is an easy drive to any of the many other parts of Texas.

The lack of a central airport in Waco is a disadvantage, but the location of the city also makes it a relatively simple drive to get to one of the other airports in another major city.

The central location gives residents of Waco easy access to all of the major Texas cities. 

4. Low Cost of Living

Compared to the rest of Texas, and even compared to the national average, Waco has a below-average cost of living.

Almost everything in Waco is less expensive than in other parts of the state and in other parts of the country.

These include everything from gas to dining, groceries, healthcare, housing, and more.

The overall consensus about living in the city of Waco is that the livability and quality of life in the city are above average.

5. Parks and Recreation

For the majority of the year, Waco has a relatively mild climate.

This means that the majority of the year is ideal for outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, biking, parks, and more.

The area around Waco is naturally beautiful, and many people who live in the area enjoy the many parks and recreation areas and activities all year round.

Some of the popular places in Waco are Cameron Park, a municipal park that spans 400 acres where the two major rivers in the area meet, and Lake Waco, a man-made reservoir that is made for swimming.

There are many more activities that parks and recreation provide as well.  

6. Great Education

The education system in Waco is highly rated for many reasons.

Also, because Waco is a college town too, the focus on education in the city of Waco is very strong.

The schools in Waco are highly rated because of a low student-to-teacher ratio, great extracurricular opportunities for students, and a strong focus on academics.

The school district requires the typical core classes as well as Advanced Placement classes.

With so many colleges and universities around, there are also a lot of opportunities for high school students to take part in dual credit classes as well. 

7. Social Effects of High Population

There are great things that come with a growing city.

Waco’s tourists sometimes decide to come and move to the city after falling in love with the atmosphere, or after attending one of the colleges and then deciding to stay.

As the population grows, there are some positive effects.

One major positive side of a growing population is growing social opportunities.

The infrastructure of a growing city will be put at a higher priority than a city that is not growing as quickly.

The rapid growth that Waco has seen in the last few decades has contributed to its overall high energy, great parks and recreation, and overall impressive livability scores. 

8. Numerous Historic Sites

There are several historic sites and important places to see when you live in Waco, Texas.

The area has a rich history that is both good and bad.

Historic sites in Waco include the Waco Suspension Bridge, Waco Mammoth National Monument, Branch Davidian Memorial Park, Branding the Brazos Sculpture, and so much more. 

Cons of Living in Waco, Texas

1. High Crime Rate

The crime rate in Waco, Texas, is actually quite a bit higher than the national average.

This is the case for both property crimes and violent ones.

The overall crime rate is a whole 49% higher than the national average.

Although there is some crime, both property and violent, in any city, this may be something you want to consider if you are moving to Waco, especially with a family.

Do your research to find out what areas are the safest, and which you may need to avoid altogether. 

2. High Poverty Rate

One of the factors that affect the high crime rate in Waco is the high poverty rate.

When people are feeling desperate, they tend to be more susceptible to crime.

The overall poverty rate in Waco is higher than the national average, and will also affect what areas of the city you should look to live in. 

3. Environmental Effects of High Population

As mentioned above, there are both pros and cons to a growing city with a rising population.

While some of the social factors and increased infrastructure can be a good thing, there are also many negative effects that can happen as a result of a higher population density.

Most significantly, the environmental factors are something that needs to be considered.

With an increased number of people in the area, there is also an increased amount of waste, air pollution, and more. 

4. Inflated Taxes

Taxes always seem to be going up everywhere, but this is especially true in Waco, Texas.

Because of the rise in population and the increased value of land and property in and around Waco, there has definitely been a rise in both property and real estate taxes.

This is important to consider when you are looking into living in a new place.

The heightened real estate and property taxes may be a reason to look to live elsewhere.

5. Summer Weather and Heat

As with anywhere in the southern United States, the summers can be quite unbearable.

The heat and humidity can be a big reason why people choose not to live in Waco.

This is also true for many other cities in Texas and for many cities all across the South.

The rest of the year in Waco is quite mild and very pleasant, but the high heat and humidity in the summer months are a dealbreaker for some people.

6. Lots of Allergens in the Air

In addition to the heat and humidity, many areas in Texas have issues with allergens that can affect the people in the area greatly.

Waco is no exception to this.

If you are very sensitive to seasonal allergies like grasses, trees, pollens, and more, you may want to visit a few times in spring and summer to make sure that you can handle the allergy season before you commit to living in Waco.

The allergens in the air can be a con for those that have seasonal allergies. 

7. Small Regional Airport

Waco does not have a very good airport in its vicinity.

If you want an airport that has more flight options, more destinations, fewer connecting flights, and more, you will need to travel to one of the larger cities in Texas first. 

8. Tourism

Tourism can be a big negative point for anyone who does not like a growing economy and higher population density.

Tourism may have helped the infrastructure of Waco to grow over the last few years, but the increase in press and people can be a negative factor for those who like their space. 

Waco, TX
Waco, TX

Pros and Cons of Living in Waco, TX – Summary Table

Pros of Living in Waco, TexasCons of Living in Waco, Texas
1. Energetic City1. High Crime Rate
2. Lots to Do and Explore2. High Poverty Rate
3. Central Texas3. Environmental Effects of High Population
4. Low Cost of Living4. Inflated Taxes
5. Parks and Recreation5. Summer Weather and Heat
6. Great Education6. Lots of Allergens in the Air
7. Social Effects of High Population7. Small Regional Airport
8. Numerous Historic Sites8. Tourism

Waco Safety Overview

READ THE FULL REPORT: Waco Safety Review

Safety Index:

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the main industry in Waco, Texas?

The main industry in Waco is manufacturing, with many foods and beverage plants.

Does Waco, Texas get tornadoes?

Yes, Waco does occasionally get tornadoes, although not as frequently as some neighboring Midwestern states.

Is Waco, Texas a safe place to live?

Overall, Waco is a safe place to live.

Every city has its own areas that are safe and areas that are not.

Just make sure to do your research ahead of time.

What is Waco, Texas best known for?

Waco is best known for the siege of the Branch Davidian compound when the government arrested their leader for stockpiling weapons.

Who is the main employer of residents in Waco, Texas?

The main employer in Waco is Baylor University, with just under 4,000 employees.

3 Comments on 16 Pros and Cons of Living in Waco, TX

  1. A
    Angelica Hayes says:

    I’ve been living in Waco for a while now, and I’ve come to appreciate its unique charm. The cost of living here is incredibly affordable, making it an excellent choice for families and young professionals.

  2. G
    Gladys Coleman says:

    Waco is a hidden gem in the Lone Star State. The friendly people here are what stand out the most. It’s a tight-knit community where you’ll quickly feel like you belong. The housing market is incredibly affordable compared to many other places in Texas, making it an ideal spot for first-time homebuyers.

  3. J
    Jerome Burke says:

    Waco boasts a rich cultural and historical heritage. The city is steeped in history, with attractions like the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum. The cost of living here is significantly lower than in many major cities in Texas, allowing residents to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle without breaking the bank.

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