Money, Money, Money

How Do Houstonians Earn and Spend Their Money?

We break it down.

By Laura Furr Mericas December 31, 2018 Published in the January 2019 issue of Houstonia Magazine



Average salary in the Houston area. That’s 6.32 percent higher than the average salary in the U.S.


Average hourly wage in the Houston area, 6.29 percent higher than the average hourly wage in the U.S.


Percentage of Houston-area residents employed as of September 2018

3 million

The size of the Houston-area labor force last year, not counting farm jobs


Percentage who work in oil-and-gas exploration and production, oilfield services, oilfield equipment manufacturing, fabricated metal products, and engineering


Average salary of a chief executive in the Houston area, the metro’s highest-paying job, followed by:

  • $269,170 for anesthesiologists
  • $231,320 for surgeons
  • $213,300 for family and general practitioners, and
  • $191,970 for architectural and engineering managers


Average wage, per hour, for a retail salesperson in the Houston area

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Where does it all go?!

Spending Habits


Percentage of their incomes Houston-area residents spend, on average, each year


Amount Houston-area residents spend at restaurants each year, $100 more than what they spend eating at home. Houston and Washington, D.C. are the only metros where residents spend more dining out than eating in.


Average price for dinner for two at a mid-priced Houston restaurant


Average amount Houstonians spend on groceries per visit


Median sale price for a single-family home in the Houston area in 2017

6.55: Percent cheaper than the median U.S. sales price the same year


Median one-bedroom apartment rent in the Houston area in 2018

11.09: Percent cheaper than the national average for a one-bedroom unit


Year-over-year percentage increase in overall Houston-area rent prices from 2017 to 2018


Average amount Houston-area residents spend each year on items like clothing, shoes, uniforms, and accessories, $500 more than the national average for large cities


Average amount Houston-area residents spend on health care each year


Average per year that Houston-area residents spend on entertainment—things like tickets, TVs, technology, pets, and hobbies—the same amount as residents of the San Francisco area

Less than $1,500*

The average amount Houston-area residents spend on education each year, about $300 less than the national average.

* Refers to figures per consumer unit, defined as an individual, household, couple, or set of people that makes financial decisions together.

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Houston Association of Realtors, the National Association of Realtors, Apartment List, WalletHub, and NerdWallet



The average credit card balance carried by Houstonians, 5.6 percent less than the average in the 10 most populous U.S. cities


The average amount owed by Houston-area residents with student loans, 3.27 percent higher than the average in the 100 most populous U.S. cities

Data from Experian and Lending Tree

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