Austin vs. Harrisburg: Comparing City Life & Culture - Essay Sample

Published: 2023-09-12
Austin vs. Harrisburg: Comparing City Life & Culture - Essay Sample
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Culture Tourism Society
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 1003 words
9 min read


Most cities in the world that share things in common but also have other contrasting characteristics that make them unique. Austin is a city in Texas with an area of 271.816 per square mile. Harrisburg is a city in Pennsylvania state with a 11.861058 square mile of land area. The cities of Austin and Harrisburg are state capitals (Austin for Texas and Harrisburg for Pennsylvania), yet they provide many different experiences to both residents and visitors. Comparing and contrasting Austin TX and Harrisburg PA based on weather, cost of living, population demographics, and tourism culture indicates how different and similar the two are.

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Austin is more densely populated than Harrisburg. According to (USA n.d.), Austin has a population of 964,243-a 2.48 % growth. The Medium age is 33.6, while median household income is $71,543. Austin has an average of 564,744 employees and a median property value of $365,500 (USA, n.d.). Austin has five main ethnic groups, including whites (non-Hispanic) 48.8%, White (Hispanic) 22%, Black/white American (Non-Hispanic) 8.13%, Asian (Non-Hispanic) 7.59% and ‘other race (Hispanic) 8.21%. Only 32 % of people speak a non-English Language, and 87.5 are English speaking US citizens (USA, n.d.). On the other hand, the population in Harrisburg, PA, is 49,278-a 4.56% growth. The median age in Harrisburg is 31.1 2.5 less than that of Austin. The average number of Employees in Harrisburg is 21,021, and the median house property is $82,100 (USA, n.d.). Five main ethnic groups in Harrisburg include 48.3% blacks or African Americans (Non-Hispanic), 23.4% Whites (Non-Hispanic), 10.4% whites (Hispanic), 5.02% Asians (Non-Hispanic) and 4.66% other race who are Hispanic. The majority of the population in Harrisburg are US citizens and speak English (USA, n.d.). When it comes to religion, people in Harrisburg are 3.9% less likely to identify to a religious affiliation than in Austin.

The cost of living in Austin, Texas, is 3% lower than the US national average. Housing expenses are 2% higher than the national average and utility 12 percent lower than the national average (Pay Scale n.d.). Taking 100 as the US average, the cost of housing in Texas is 159.6, indicating that it is expensive to rent a house in Austin (Pay Scale n.d.). The median home costs $369,000, still meaning how expensive this housing option is. In Harrisburg, on the other hand, the cost of living is much lower than that of Austin. Housing in Harrisburg is 22.2 of the 100-national average, meaning it is 86.1% less than Austin (Pay Scale n.d.) Median home cost in Harrisburg is only $51,300 that is 86.1% lower than Austin. According to (PayScale, n.d.), A salary of $60,000 in Austin could be $36,923 in Harrisburg. Healthcare in Austin is 1% lower than the national average while in Harrisburg, it is 12% lower than the average. Generally, taking median home costs as the most significant factor to consider, living in Harrisburg, is 37.2% cheaper than Austin.

Summers are hot and cruel in Austin, while in Harrisburg, the summers are warmer and humid. Winters in Harrisburg are very cold with snowfall at certain times of the season. In Austin, winters are cold but not as those in Harrisburg; they are short and windy. Over the year, the temperature in Harrisburg varies from 23 degrees Fahrenheit to 86 degrees Fahrenheit and rarely below 11 degrees Fahrenheit or above 94 degrees Fahrenheit (Weather Spark, n.d.). In Harrisburg, the hot season lasts from May to September, with daily high temperatures recording over 76 degrees Fahrenheit. The cold season lasts from March to November, with the coldest month being January. On the other hand, in Austin, Temperatures over the year vary from 43 degrees Fahrenheit to 97 degrees Fahrenheit and in rare times, do they drop below 30 degrees Fahrenheit and above 102 degrees Fahrenheit (Weather Spark, n.d.). The hot season starts from June and lasts till September with daily high-temperature recording above 90 degrees Fahrenheit (Weather Spark, n.d.). The cold season in Harrisburg lasts from November to February, with an average low temperature being 43 degrees Fahrenheit.


Both countries have great tourist sites to visit. Austin prides itself on great music, world-class Museums, shopping places, and beautiful outdoor spaces. Being an inland city, paddling on the lake are some of the great activities. In Harrisburg, Susquehanna river provides a wide range of tourist activities such as kayaking and biking around the Capital Area Greenbelt. Austin records approximately $128 billion in gross domestic product annually for Texas, and Harrisburg records 41Billion of the same annually (Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, 2015).


In conclusion, although there are many differences in population demographics, weather, and cost of living, Austin and Harrisburg share some similarities in these categories. Both countries experience warmer weather between June and September and the coldest part of the season in January. Despite having a lesser population than Austin, TX, Harrisburg’s population growth rate is higher. Both cities have five main ethnic groups; however, African American is the largest in Harrisburg, while the Non-Hispanic White population is the largest in Austin. Both cities are good sites for tourists in terms of good weather, great culture, and peaceful sceneries.


Weather Spark. (n.d.). Average weather in Austin, Texas, United States, year-round. The Typical Weather Anywhere on Earth - Weather Spark.

Weather Spark. (n.d.). Average weather in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, United States, year-round. The Typical Weather Anywhere on Earth - Weather Spark.

Data USA. (n.d.). Harrisburg, PA. USA. (n.d.). Austin, TX.

PayScale. (n.d.). Cost of living in Austin, TX. PayScale - Salary Comparison, Salary Survey, Search Wages.

Best Places. (n.d.). 2020 compare cities economy: Austin, TX vs Harrisburg, PA. Best Places to Live | Compare cost of living, crime, cities, schools and more. Sperling's BestPlaces. Retrieved June 22, 2020, from

Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. (2015, March 2). PA tourism - Pennsylvania Dept. of community & economic development. PA Department of Community & Economic Development.

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