How Austin’s $5.5 billion budget compares to other US cities

How does Bat City’s spending per capita compare to that of other similarly sized cities?

The Austin skyline

Let’s break down how Austin’s newly approved $5.5 billion annual budget compares to the budgets of other cities.

Photo by @giovannisabala

Austin City Council just approved a $5.5 billion city budget — the largest in city history.

We’ve already broken down the draft proposal, which was adopted this week with amendments that change about ~$10 million worth the budget allocation.

Today, we’re taking a look at how Austin’s budget compares to those of other cities.


Although Austin ranks No. 10 for population, its city budget surpasses that of San Antonio, San Diego, and Dallas.

Graphic by ATXtoday; data based on most recently approved city budgets

How Bat City compares

As the newly named 10th largest city in the US, Austin is bound to have one of the biggest city budgets in the country. But it turns out, ATX also punches above its weight when it comes to spending in proportion to its size.

Out of the top 10 largest cities in the country, Austin’s budget ranks No. 7.

In Texas, the Capital City pulls in at No. 2, behind Houston. Here’s how the most recent city budgets for other Lone Star State cities compare:

  • Houston: $6.2 billion
  • Austin: $5.5 billion
  • Dallas: $4.51 billion
  • San Antonio: $3.4 billion
  • Fort Worth: $2.3 billion

When breaking down city budgets per capita, Austin surpasses most other cities in the Top 10 for population.

Graphic by ATXtoday

Austin also has one of the largest budgets per capita in the country.

In fact, when you divide the most recently approved budget by the most recent estimated population, Austin comes out to roughly $5,650 per capita in city spending. That ranks ATX at No. 3 among the ten largest cities in the US — above Dallas, Houston, and Los Angeles.

What else should I know about the budget?

Now, the slightly less fun stuff. Even though this year’s budget actually comes with a reduction in the overall tax rate, most Austin homeowners will still see a ~6.1% increase in their tax bill due to rising property values.

For the typical Austinite, that amounts to about ~$1,782 yearly ($102 higher than last year). Increases in fees for electricity, water, and other city services will also increase by ~3.6%, adding an additional $172 yearly.

Take a look at the full budget proposal online.