As someone who has lived in the two most discussed and opposing states in our great nation, I feel as if I have a unique perspective on the merits and downfalls of California and Texas. While they have some obvious, glaring differences, these states are similar in a number of ways. Here is a side by side comparison of California and Texas, based on the biggest qualities that make states great.
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California and Texas have been neck and neck in economic development. Though Texas has a higher growth rate, California has had a very strong start, with Silicon Valley growing and continuing to improve. I cannot attest to the future of economic development in these two states, but I can give a summary of what experts agree on now.
Compared to other states, California is ranked 11 by Business Insider and 3 by the US News and World Report. They have attributed this score to the strong growth rate, and apt business environment, juxtaposed with a relatively high unemployment rate. It has the biggest state economy with a 2.6 trillion dollar GDP; if ranked as its own country, California would have the fifth largest GDP in the world.
Texas is ranked by Business Insider as the fourth best state economy, whereas the US News and World Report puts Texas at number six. The strong economic growth rate, steadily increasing real-estate value, and lower unemployment rates account for the high ranking. Texas has the second largest state GDP, sitting at 1.6 trillion dollars. If compared as its own country (yes Texas we all know you were your own country for about as long as it took for Miley to go from Disney sweetheart to crazy "Wrecking Ball") Texas would be the 10th largest economy in the world.
And the winner is: California
These states are pretty close when it comes to overall economic profile — both ranking high on each of the reports I cited, however California boasts a 62 percent higher GDP, the highest out of any state by far.
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California and Texas have very similar violent crime rates, with California at 396.1 (per 100 thousand people) and Texas at 405.9. Here I will discuss the major differences they have.
California's highest crime comes primarily from their motor vehicle theft, so be sure to lock your doors and opt for the cheaper rental car if you come to visit (let's be real you don't want to be driving those crazy California highways anyway). The overall incarceration rate is 329 people per 100,000.
Texas has unusually high rates of rape, property crime and burglary. The incarceration rate is 568 If you visit this website, where I acquired my statistics, you can see a more accurate, side by side comparison of the two states.
And the winner is: California
While these states have similar overall crime rates, California excels in many of the aforementioned areas. Additionally, the incarceration rate is considerably lower.
Terrain and weather
As two of the largest states in the country, both have a wide variety of climates and terrains... this will be another close race!
California boasts the longest coastline, with 1100 miles of it. Additionally, the Sierra Nevada and other mountain ranges make for the perfect place to hike in the summer and ski in the winter. There are also several beautiful, unique national parks, including world-famous Yosemite and the Redwoods. The weather couldn't be any more perfect; Southern California boasts "sunny and 75" for the majority of the year, whereas northern California is perfect for those who prefer cooler temperatures.
Sadly, California is also home to a variety of problems in this area. With the dry weather comes many forest fires, along with a minuscule amount of natural bodies of water. Earthquakes are also very common, some devastating.
Though smaller than California's, Texas has a relatively long coastline, with 367 miles in the south. Additionally, they have several natural bodies of water due to the variability of weather. This weather variability allows for beautiful fields of their famous Bluebells in the spring (pictured above), however, it also brings the hottest, most humid summers. Though mostly flat, Texas does have some mountains in the East. Even so, the flat landscape makes for some of the most beautiful, huge sunsets I've ever seen.
As far as natural disasters, hurricanes, brush fires, and tornadoes are prevalent in the various part of the state, however, they are usually relatively confined to their regions.
And the winner is: California
Obviously, this is the most subjective ruling so far, so feel free to disagree on this one. However, it is hard to beat the vast variety of options you get in California. In my home of San Diego, the average temperature is between 60-75 year round. Additionally, the fact that most cities are by beaches, but also within two hours of perfect hiking destinations, makes this state ideal for anyone who wants to be outdoors for their vacation or everyday life.
The biggest cities in California include San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Jose (Silicon Valley). San Diego, known for its perfect weather, is also the perfect type of city — small enough to get to know, but big enough for fun, adventure, and job acquisition. Los Angeles, like New York City, is divided into several sub-divisions, with a different experience everywhere you go. San Francisco, on the other hand, is cozy and congested, but with enough personality for the whole state. No need to explain Silicon Valley; with the tech industry as big as ever, it's no wonder why those trying to find their way into this sector are interested in moving here.
Texas has a wide variety of cities; there is something for everyone if you're looking for it. Fort Worth is a unique spin on the "typical Texas town," in that it is the size of a big city, but sticks close to small-town roots. Dallas on the other hand is full of young professionals, as well as big corporations and families just settling down. San Antonio is where you go for a little piece of history, and Houston is another big city where families can afford to live. Austin is the "San Francisco of the South," with a Texas touch on what it means to be yourself.
And the winner is: Texas
Okay, I will always think San Diego is the greatest city in the world. However, Texas has a little something for everyone. With a variety of cities to choose from, not to mention low costs of living, all types of people can find their home.
To be frank, I really don't care if a state is blue or red. Here I would like to focus on the major interests of the state, as that is what (should) sway the votes of the people of each state.
The major interests of California voters include jobs, education, healthcare, homeland security, and social security. Much of this can be attributed to the high unemployment rate, poor education ratings, and high levels of immigration.
The primary issues that Texas voters are concerned with include immigration, border security, political leadership and corruption, education, and unemployment. Notably, they share almost all of the same interests as California unsurprisingly, as Texas has exceptionally low education levels, high amounts of immigration, and higher levels of unemployment.
And the winner is: Really I don't care at this point it's just good to know.
Because of how much immigration California gets from all around the world, the state is lucky enough to have a wide variety of food specialties that locals have turned into their own. California is a state that focuses strongly on health, taking advantage of proximity to the ocean and the large Japanese population by making fresh sushi (and no, California rolls are not real sushi. We just have lots of avocados in California). Additionally, the seafood trend and Mexican border mean great fish tacos and burritos. As California produces the majority of fruits for the United States, as well as many vegetables and nut varieties, these are core to Californian diet. Microbrews and craft beers are also extremely popular, with Napa adding to the popular wine hobby that many Californians share. Overall, California diets are an eclectic mix of healthy yet diverse food options.
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Texas boasts its own food culture that has developed in the heart of the state. Brisket is a Texas staple, with entire festivals revolving around deciding who makes it the best. Texas barbecue has become an art form, developed over the state's long history. Tex-Mex is another thing unique to Texas, differentiating itself with queso dip, tamales, and margaritas. Their food — though adopted by other regions — takes the motto "bigger is better," and never ceases to surprise you with what really can be fried. While California has local beer options, Texas beers are known around the country and are gaining popularity. One of the things that Texas borrowed is kolaches; though originally a Czech dessert, Texas popularized the sweet danish and turned it into one of their most popular treats.
And the winner is: California
While Texas created their food culture, going to California gives you the option of eating food from all over the world; it only takes a walk downtown to experience Italian food made by someone who grew up in Rome. Additionally, our Mexican food is subjectively better (It is. Please just try it and you'll understand).
So overall, what state wins? It depends on how important you see any of these factors. California will always have my heart. It will always be my home, but Texas showed me a way of life that was vastly different than what I was used to — not better, but different. I would highly advise living in both of these states because they both have incredible things to offer!