Houston Texas – City Overview
Houston’s Downtown District
Downtown Houston is central to the largest city in state of Texas. Houston is the fourth largest city in the United States, and is one of the top producing economic areas in the Gulf Coast region. The city of Houston is located in Harris County which holds title to that of the third most populous county in the United States. The City of Houston extends beyond Harris County with a portion of its southwest region extending into Fort Bend County and northeast a portion extending into Montgomery County.
Downtown Houston holds the site in which the Allen brothers first landed to establish the city of Houston. At Allen’s Landing, (which lies across from the University of Houston Downtown) John Kirby Allen and Augustus Chapman Allen founded Houston in 1836. Houston continues to be one of the fastest growing major cities in the United States and has held this title for quite some time. The 2004 Census estimates Houston’s population at more than 2 million.
Downtown Houston is central as the main cultural and economic center of the Harris, Fort Bend, and Montgomery County area. These counties coupled with 7 addition counties make the Greater Houston Area the seventh largest metropolitan area in the United States with a population beyond 5.2 million residents.
Downtown Houston and the Greater Houston area are world renowned for its energy, medical, and aeronautics industries. Houston is also famous for its ship channel. The Port of Houston is one of the busiest ports in the United States and second in the world in foreign tonnage. As the result of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the Port of Houston is handling even greater tonnage as the Port of New Orleans undergoes repairs. Second only to New York City in Fortune 500 headquarters, Houston is home to the Texas Medical Center.
The Texas Medical Center is the world’s largest and most important concentration of research and healthcare institutions. This city unto itself is also experiencing a phenomenal rate of expansion as biotechnology and nanotechnology emerge as Houston dominated industries.
Houston has much to offer, including the lowest cost of living and the least-expensive housing among 27 major U.S. metropolitan areas with populations of more than 1.7 million.
Houston ranks in the top 10 in the follow categories:
#1 Least-Expensive Housing among 27 Metropolitan Areas with Populations of More Than 2 Million
ACCRA Cost of Living Index, First Quarter 2003
Least-Expensive City for Cost of Living Alone
Forbes.com, Best Cities for Singles, June 2004
Largest Collection of African-American Art in the Country, Museum of Fine Arts
Los Angeles Times, September 9, 2004
Most Diverse University Campus (University of Houston)
U.S. News & World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges Guide,” September 2002
#2 Fortune 500 Headquarters (in the city)
Fortune 500, April 5, 2004
Best Cities for African-American Families
BET.com, September 2002
#3 Top U.S. Cities for Starting or Expanding a Business
ING U.S. Financial Services Gazelle Index, February 2004
#5 Top Metro Areas Favored for Relocations or Expansions
Plants Sites & Parks Magazine, March 2003
Top U.S. Cities for Black Americans
Black Enterprise Magazine, June 2004
#7 Potential for Economic Growth
The Rise of the Creative Class
By Professor Richard Florida of Carnegie Mellon University, May 2002
#8 Fastest-growing Metro Areas for Women-Owned Businesses
Center for Women’s Business Research, February 2004
Houston has been nicknamed the Space City as it is home to the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, home of the Mission Control Center (referred to by space missions as simply “Houston”). Houston offers a wide range of business, entertainment and cultural opportunities, including a respected and thriving theater district central in Houston Downtown. For residents living in Downtown Houston the sunny beaches of Galveston are less than an hour’s drive away. Residents in Houston’s Downtown area also enjoy the benefits of proximity as Downtown has apartments, lofts and luxury residential high rises to fit all tastes and lifestyles. Downtown Houston is also home to shopping and retail with tunnel, street level, and high-rise shops numbering in the hundreds. Additionally the benefit of being centrally located between both major Houston airports insures that Downtown Houston is the center of Houston’s mass-transit system. For those on the move in both career and education, the University of Houston Downtown offers an environment that caters to the working professional in Houston’s Downtown area. Additionally South Texas College of law furthers central Houston’s role in success and achievement. For those with few hours in the day Downtown Houston offers such amenities as childcare centers, a hospital, clinics and dozens of doctors and dentists.
Houston is the fourth most populous city in the nation (trailing only New York, Los Angeles and Chicago), and is the largest in the southern U.S. and Texas.
Founded in 1836, the City of Houston has a population of 1.9 million.
Houston metro area’s population of 4.8 million is 10th largest among U.S. metropolitan statistical areas.
Houston has professional teams representing every major sport.
More than 38 million people each year fly in and out of Houston’s two major airports: Bush Intercontinental and William P. Hobby.
Houstonians eat out more than residents of any other city. Houston has more than 11,000 restaurants.
Houston has a Theater District second only to New York City in terms of a concentration of seats in a single geographic area. Located downtown, the 17-block Theater District is home to eight performing arts organizations with more than 12,000 seats.
Houston has a unique museum district offering a range of museums, galleries, art and cultural institutions, including the Houston’s major museums.
Houston has more than 500 cultural, visual and performing arts organizations, 90 of which are devoted to multicultural and minority arts.
More than 90 languages are spoken throughout the Houston area.
Houston is home to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. The largest rodeo in the world, it attracts more than 1.8 million visitors each year.
Houston has a young population; 37 percent of Houstonians are 24 years old or younger and 34 percent are between the ages of 25 and 44.
Houston boasts more than 40 colleges, university and institutions – offering higher education options to suit all interests.
Houston is home to the Texas Medical Center, the largest medical center in the world, with a local economic impact of $10 billion. More than 52,000 people work within its facilities, which encompass 21 million square feet. Altogether 4.8 million patients visit them each year.
Home to 18 Fortune 500 companies and more than 5,000 energy related firms, Houston is considered by many as the Energy Capital of the world. Companies headquarted in Houston include Halliburton, ConocoPhillips, Marathon Oil Corp and Dynegy.
The Port of Houston ranks as the nation’s largest port in international tonnage and second in total tonnage.
Houston has the most affordable housing of 10 most populated metropolitan areas; Houston housing costs are 39 percent below the average of 26 U.S. urban populations of more than 1.5 million.
Houston has the second lowest cost of living among major American cities.