When government and local leaders of a city get together to try and plan for the future of their city, they often look at other cities of the same size for ideas and comparison, but they also look at other cities in their own state. Looking locally can make a lot of sense, as they often might struggle with the same issues, considering the similar geography, regional economy, and demographics.

For leaders of the Texas city of San Antonio, that can inevitably mean comparisons to cities like Austin, Dallas, Houston, and El Paso. It’s instinctive to look at other cities and yearn to learn from their success so that the citizens, government branches and departments, and businesses and companies of San Antonio might prosper in a similar fashion.

However, is it actually that wise? San Antonio is not quite the same as these other cities. Dallas and Houston are huge metropolitan areas, big enough to have multiple major league teams and franchises across more than one sport. Austin is the state capital, and as such has quite a few government employees and departments or locations slanting its local economics. El Paso is a border city, so it shares a metropolitan area with neighboring Juarez across the Rio Grande, giving it economics and demographics far different than any other city in the state.

San Antonio itself has characteristics that many of the other cities do not have. For starters, features like the famous riverwalk or the Alamo make it more of a tourist destination than other places in Texas. Also, the proximity of major military installations in and around the city give the local demographics and economics a very distinct mix that isn’t present in other corners of the Lone Star State.