Life in Houston
With a population of more than 2.24 million residents (as of January 1, 2009), Houston is the fourth largest city in the United States and largest city within the state of Texas. The Houston metropolitan area is also the sixth-largest metropolitan area in the U.S. with a population of more than 5.6 million residents. Houston is a leader in business, entertainment, the arts and so much more.
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 2009, the city ranked second on the annual Fortune 500 list of company headquarters, and ranked first for Forbes Best Cities for College Graduates.
Houston is a diverse and international city, in part because of its many academic institutions and strong industries. More than 90 languages are spoken in the city. Houston also has among the youngest populations in the nation. Houston is the nation’s demographic future with 31% Anglo, 37% Hispanic, 25% African American, and 7% Asian/other residents. Although large and diverse, Houston offers a small-town atmosphere in its many neighborhoods and suburbs. Just 30 minutes from the Gulf of Mexico and 30 minutes from the piney woods, Houston is ideally located in southeast Texas.
Read on or visit Houston for yourself and you’ll understand why Houston is a city of infinite opportunities.
Houston remains the energy capital of the world. But today, the city is an industrial, commercial, educational, and financial center. Its diverse economy comprises leading medical facilities, universities, space and science research firms, and a wide array of other businesses. Houston is home to 27 Fortune 500 companies, second only to New York City.
A sizable portion of the Houston economy is internationally driven. International trade directly or indirectly supports approximately one third of all jobs in the Houston metropolitan area. As such, 87 foreign governments maintain official representation in Houston through consulates or trade offices.
Despite being 50 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico, the Port of Houston is a world center of waterborne commerce. In terms of international tonnage, the Port of Houston ranks first in the United States
The Bayou City offers over 40 excellent higher education options, including Rice University, University of Houston, St. Thomas University, Baylor College of Medicine, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, and The University of Texas Medical Branch.
The arts and entertainment scene in Houston is one of the best in the country. With more than 14,000 theaters in a concentrated Theater District, Houston offers a variety of options for theater-goers. Combine this with approximately 1,480 movie seats, the Houston Theater District ranks second behind New York City for the number of theater seats in a concentrated downtown area. Additionally, Houston is one of only 5 cities with permanent professional resident companies in all of the major performing arts disciplines of opera, ballet, music, and theater.
Explore a world of art, history and nature in the fourth largest museum district in the United States, featuring 15 world-class museums. The Museum District is one of the top cultural districts in the country with more than seven million visits annually. It is comprised of 18 institutions, 11 of which are free all of the time. Included in the Museum District is the Houston Zoo, with more than 4,500 exotic animals representing more than 800 species.
Houston has a rich sporting culture with professional sports teams including the Houston Astros (MLB), Houston Texans (NFL), Houston Rockets (NBA), Houston Dynamo (MLS), and Houston Aeros (AHL).
Minute Maid Park (home of the Astros) and Toyota Center (home of the Rockets, and Aeros) are located in downtown—contributing to an urban renaissance that has transformed Houston's center into a day-and-night destination. Also, the city has the first domed stadium in the United States and also holds the NFL's first retractable roof stadium—Reliant Stadium.
In addition to spectator sports, residents are active in many outdoor activities. Houston boasts more than 43,700 acres of green and growing city parks. Area residents enjoy activities from running in Memorial Park, to playing golf at one of the over 165 local golf courses, to sailing and fishing on Galveston Bay and Clear Lake.
Home to two major airports (Bush Intercontinental Airport and Hobby Airport), Houston is also a major employment center for the south and is becoming a tourist destination. Local public transportation is provided by the METRO Bus and Rail System. METRORail offers convenient accessible service within the heart of the city between downtown Houston and Reliant Park, including the Museum District and Texas Medical Center.
Various public and private organization are available to help you relocate to Houston.