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Houston SkylineHouston is the fourth-largest city in the United States of America and the largest city in the state of Texas. As of the 2009 U.S. Census estimate, the city had a population of 2.3 million within an area of 579 square miles. Houston is the seat of Harris County and the economic center of the Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown metropolitan area—the sixth-largest metropolitan area in the U.S. with a population of 5.9 million.

Houston was founded on August 30, 1836, by brothers Augustus Chapman Allen and John Kirby Allen on land near the banks of Buffalo Bayou. The city was incorporated on June 5, 1837, and named after then-President of the Republic of Texas—former General Sam Houston—who had commanded at the Battle of San Jacinto, which took place 25 miles east of where the city was established. The burgeoning port and railroad industry, combined with oil discovery in 1901, has induced continual surges in the city's population. In the mid-twentieth century, Houston became the home of the Texas Medical Center—the world's largest concentration of healthcare and research institutions—and NASA's Johnson Space Center, where the Mission Control Center is located.

Rated as a beta world city, Houston's economy has a broad industrial base in the energy, manufacturing, aeronautics, transportation, and health care sectors and is a leading center for building oilfield equipment; only New York City is home to more Fortune 500 headquarters in the city limits. The Port of Houston ranks first in the United States in international waterborne tonnage handled and second in total cargo tonnage handled. The city has a population from various ethnic and religious backgrounds and a large and growing international community. It is home to many cultural institutions and exhibits—attracting more than 7 million visitors a year to the Houston Museum District. Houston has an active visual and performing arts scene in the Theater District and is one of few U.S. cities that offer year-round resident companies in all major performing arts.

Houston Cityscape
Houston was incorporated in 1837 under the ward system of representation. The ward designation is the progenitor of the nine current-day Houston City Council districts. Locations in Houston are generally classified as either being inside or outside the Interstate 610 Loop. The inside encompasses the central business district and many residential neighborhoods that predate World War II. More recently, high-density residential areas have been developed within the loop. The city's outlying areas, suburbs and enclaves are located outside of the loop. Beltway 8 encircles the city another 5 miles farther out.

Though Houston is the largest city in the United States without formal zoning regulations, it has developed similarly to other Sun Belt cities because the city's land use regulations and legal covenants have played a similar role. Regulations include mandatory lot size for single-family houses and requirements that parking be available to tenants and customers. Such restrictions have had mixed results. Though some have blamed the city's low density, urban sprawl, and lack of pedestrian-friendliness on these policies, the city's land use has also been credited with having significant affordable housing, sparing Houston the worst effects of the 2008 real estate crisis. The city issued 42,697 building permits in 2008 and was ranked first in the list of healthiest housing markets for 2009.

Voters rejected efforts to have separate residential and commercial land-use districts in 1948, 1962, and 1993. Consequently, rather than a single central business district as the center of the city's employment, multiple districts have grown throughout the city in addition to downtown which include Uptown, Texas Medical Center, Midtown, Greenway Plaza, Energy Corridor, Westchase, and Greenspoint.

Houston Economy
Houston is recognized worldwide for its energy industry—particularly for oil and natural gas—as well as for biomedical research and aeronautics. Renewable energy sources—wind and solar—are also growing economic bases in Houston. The ship channel is also a large part of Houston's economic base. Because of these strengths, Houston is designated as a beta world city by the Globalization and World Cities Study Group and Network.

Considered to be the energy capital of the world, five of the six supermajor energy companies maintain a large base of operations in Houston (international headquarters of ConocoPhillips; US operational headquarters of Exxon-Mobil; US headquarters for international companies Shell Oil (US subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell located in London and The Hague, Netherlands), and BP whose international headquarters are in London, England).The headquarters of Shell Oil Company, the US affiliate of Royal Dutch Shell, is located at One Shell Plaza. While ExxonMobil maintains its global headquarters in Irving, Texas, its upstream and chemical divisions as well as most operational divisions, are located in Houston. Chevron has offices in Houston in a 40-story building originally intended to be the headquarters of Enron. The company's Chevron Pipe Line Company subsidiary is headquartered in Houston, and more divisions are being consolidated and moved to Houston each year. Houston is headquarters for the Marathon Oil Corporation, Schlumberger, Halliburton, Apache Corporation, and Citgo and alternative energy companies such as Horizon Wind Energy.

Greater Houston is a leading center for building oilfield equipment. Much of Houston's success as a petrochemical complex is due to its busy man-made ship channel, the Port of Houston. The port ranks first in the United States in international commerce, and is the tenth-largest port in the world. Unlike most places, high oil and gasoline prices are beneficial for Houston's economy as many of its residents are employed in the energy industry.

The Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown MSA's gross area product (GAP) in 2008 was $440.4 billion, slightly larger than the gross domestic product (GDP) of Belgium, Malaysia, Venezuela or Sweden. Only 21 countries other than the United States have a gross domestic product exceeding Houston's regional gross area product. Houston's MSA gross area product for 2007 is estimated to be 416.6 billion, up 13.8 percent from 2006. Mining, which in Houston consists almost entirely of exploration and production of oil and gas, accounts for 26.3% of Houston's GAP, up sharply in response to high energy prices and a decreased worldwide surplus of oil production capacity; followed by engineering services, health services, and manufacturing.

The Houston area added 42,400 private-sector jobs between November 2007 and November 2008 and registered the nation’s largest gain in private sector employment among the nation's cities, according to employment statistics of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate in the city was 3.8% in April 2008, the lowest level in eight years while the job growth rate was 2.8%.

In 2006, the Houston metropolitan area ranked first in Texas and third in the U.S. within the Category of "Best Places for Business and Careers" by Forbes magazine. Foreign governments have established 89 consular offices in metropolitan Houston. Forty foreign governments maintain trade and commercial offices here and 23 active foreign chambers of commerce and trade associations. Twenty-five foreign banks representing 13 nations operate in Houston, providing financial assistance to the international community.

In 2008, Houston received top ranking on Kiplinger's Personal Finance Best Cities of 2008 list which ranks cities on their local economy, employment opportunities, reasonable living costs and quality of life. The city ranked fourth for highest increase in the local technological innovation over the preceding 15 years, according to Forbes magazine. In the same year, the city ranked second on the annual Fortune 500 list of company headquarters, ranked first for Forbes Best Cities for College Graduates, and ranked first on Forbes list of Best Cities to Buy a Home.

Houston Tourism and Recreation
The Theater District is a 17-block area in the center of downtown Houston that is home to the Bayou Place entertainment complex, restaurants, movies, plazas, and parks. Bayou Place is a large multilevel building containing full-service restaurants, bars, live music, billiards, and art house films. The Houston Verizon Wireless Theater stages live concerts, stage plays, and stand-up comedy; and the Angelika Film Center presents art, foreign and independent films.

Houston is home to 337 parks including Hermann Park, which houses the Houston Zoo and the Houston Museum of Natural Science, Terry Hershey Park, Lake Houston Park, Memorial Park, Tranquility Park, Sesquicentennial Park, Discovery Green and Sam Houston Park (which contains restored and reconstructed homes which were originally built between 1823 and 1905). Of the 10 most populous U.S. cities, Houston has the most total area of parks and green space, 56,405 acres. The city also has over 200 additional green spaces—totaling over 19,600 acres that are managed by the city—including the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center. The Williams Waterwall serves as a popular tourist attraction and sits in Uptown Houston. The Houston Civic Center was replaced by the George R. Brown Convention Center—one of the nation's largest—and the Jesse H. Jones Hall for the Performing Arts, home of the Houston Symphony Orchestra and Society for the Performing Arts. The Sam Houston Coliseum and Music Hall have been replaced by the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts.

Space Center Houston is the official visitors’ center of NASA's Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. Here one will find many interactive exhibits including moon rocks, a shuttle simulator, and presentations about the history of NASA's manned space flight program.

Earth Quest Adventures, a 1600-acre eco-green theme park and research center, is expected to open in 2013.

Other tourist attractions include the Galleria (Texas's largest shopping mall located in the Uptown District), Old Market Square, the Downtown Aquarium, and Sam Houston Race Park.


Houston TX Area Information

Houston TX Community Characteristics and Facts
  • Total Crime Risk: 213.0 (100 = National Average)
  • Population: 2,260,967
  • Population Growth Since 2000: 15.73%
  • Annual Max Avg. Temperature: 79 F
  • Annual Min Avg. Temperature: 57 F
  • Male Median Age: 30.3 years
  • Female Median Age: 32.3 years
  • Median Household Income: $54,650
  • Highest Education Level Attained: High School 21.89%, Bachelors 19.69%, Grad School 10.55%

Community Demographics

Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Demographic Information FAQ

Houston Crime Rate Indexes Graph

Houston TX Crime Rate Indexes


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2010 Population Growth and Population Statistics Houston, TX Texas
Total Population 2,260,967 25,028,293
Square Miles 799.72 261,797.12
Population Density 2,827.20 95.60
Population Change Since 1990 36.27% 47.32%
Population Change Since 2000 15.73% 20.03%
Forecasted Population Change by 2014 8.17% 9.71%
Population Male 1,135,305 50.21% 12,517,396 50.01%
Population Female 1,125,662 49.79% 12,510,897 49.99%
Median Age 31.30 32.30

Houston TX Population Growth and Population Statistics


Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Demographic Information FAQ

2010 Weather Summary Houston, TX Texas
Weather Index 149 175
Annual Maximum Avg. Temperature 79.0 °F 77.0 °F
Annual Minimum Avg. Temperature 57.0 °F 53.0 °F
Annual Avg. Temperature 67.9 °F 65.2 °F
Annual Heating Degree Days (Tot Degrees < 65) 1,599 2,368
Annual Cooling Degree Days (Tot Degrees > 65) 2,700 2,479
Percent of Possible Sunshine 58 66
Mean Sky Cover (Sunrise to Sunset - Out of 10) 6 5
Mean Number of Days Clear (Out of 365 Days) 91 140
Mean Number of Days Rain (Out of 365 Days) 106 72
Mean Number of Days Snow (Out of 365 Days) 0 1
Avg. Annual Precipitation (Total Inches) 46.00" 26.00"
Avg. Annual Snowfall (Total Inches) 0.00" 4.00"

Houston TX Weather, Forecast, Temperature and Precipitation


Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Demographic Information FAQ

Houston Population by Age Graph

Houston TX Population by Age


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Houston Quality of Life Indexes Graph

Houston TX Quality of Life Indexes


Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Demographic Information FAQ



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