A Thriving City

Life is good in Houston. With world-class educational, cultural, social and business opportunities and networks, Houston is huge in both scale and attitude. The Houston Metro Area covers 26,061 km² more than the entire country of El Salvador.

It’s good in Houston…

  • Adjusted for cost of living, wages are higher than in any other U.S. city. The average annual wage adjusted for cost of living was $75,256 in 2012, over $12,000 more than the second highest city. [1]
  • Houston’s housing costs are 33.5% below average among the 29 metropolitan areas with more than 2 million residents, and its overall costs are 16.8 percent below the average for this group. [2]
  • Low housing costs and a low cost of living are the main reasons Houston’s overall living costs are 7.8% below the nationwide average, largely due to housing costs that are 14.6% below the average. [2]
  • Houston gains another resident every 5 minutes. [4]
  • The Houston area encompasses more than 66 school districts in addition to over 230 private schools. [5] At the University Level, Rice University is widely recognized as one of the top twenty universities in the nation [6] and the University of Houston is a Tier One research university.[7]
  • Houston’s Baylor College of Medicine is among the top schools in the U.S. The MD Anderson Cancer Center is one of the top two U.S. hospitals for cancer treatment. [8] Both institutions are located in Houston’s Texas Medical Center, the largest concentration of medical facilities in the world. [9] More heart surgeries are performed at the Texas Medical Center than anywhere else in the world. [10] The first totally artificial heart implant was performed in Houston in 1969. [11]

It’s fun in Houston…

  • Houston was rated the “Coolest City in America” by Forbes in 2012 for its unique combination of opportunity, youthfulness, and culture. [12]
  • Of the 10 most populous U.S. cities, Houston has the most parks and green space, with over 56,400 acres (228 km²). [13]
  • Houston has a world-class restaurant scene with over 11,000 restaurants[9], which could be why Houstonians eat out 4.1 times a week, more than residents of any other city. [14]
  • Houston has over 165 public and private golf courses. [15]
  • Houston’s Theater District is second only to New York City in size, with over 12,000 seats. [9]


A Global City

A recent Rice University study found that Houston now surpassed New York as the country’s most ethnically diverse area. [1] In 2010, the Houston Area contained an estimated 1.33 million residents born outside the United States or 22.3 percent of all Houstonians. Among these, 67% percent were born in Latin America, more than 20% were born in Asia. [1]

It’s diplomatic in Houston…

    • Houston’s concentration of consular offices ranks third in the nation with 92 countries represented. [9]
    • Over 90 languages are spoken by Houston residents. [9]
    • Of the world’s 100 largest non-U.S. based corporations, 66 have a presence in Houston. [16]
    • Among Houston’s Sister Cities are: Shenzhen, China, Tampico, Mexico, and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. [17]

A Business City

Houston is a business city, it has an entrepreneurial culture, talented workers, and world-class infrastructure. This winning combination has made Houston one of the strongest economic regions in the world.

It’s growing in Houston…

  • Houston’s Gross Area Product (GAP) in 2012 was $449 billion, larger than Austria’s or South Africa’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). If Houston were an independent nation, it would rank as the world’s 26th largest economy for 2012. [18]
  • Houston ranked in the top 10 of America’s fastest growing cities in 2013 [19] Houston has had one of the strongest increases in manufacturing over the past decade of any major city. [1]
  • Houston has had one of the largest increases in employment of any major metropolitan area, up 15 percent between 2000 and 2011. [1]
  • Houston has the third tallest skyline in North America and the 12th tallest in the world. [20]
  • Houston led the nation for growth in the number of resident millionaires in 2011, and was second in 2012. [21]
  • For 2011, Houston had 22 Fortune 500 company headquarters, only New York City had more. [22]
  • The Port of Houston ranks 1st in the United States in international waterborne tonnage handled and 2nd in total cargo tonnage handled. It is the tenth largest port in the world. With the Panama Canal expansion, Houston is predicted to see even more traffic. [1]
  • Houston has a continuously expanding freeway system, with over 739.3 miles (1,189.8 km) of freeways and expressways in the metropolitan area. [23]
  • Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) is the 6th busiest in the U.S. for total passengers, and 14th busiest worldwide. Bush Intercontinental currently ranks 3rd in the United States for non-stop domestic and international service with over 182 destinations. [24]
  • Houston has no land zoning regulations, and minimal bureaucratic restrictions on business. [25]


It’s growing in Texas too…

  • Texas’ Gross State Product was $1.43 trillion dollars in 2013. If Texas were still a country, it would be the 13th largest in the world. That is more than the GDP of South Korea or Mexico. [26]
  • Texas has more trade with foreign nations than any other state. In 2011, Texas sold over $249.8 billion dollars worth of exports, up from $206.9 billion in 2010. [27]
  • Texas is the best state for business according to an annual survey of America’s biggest CEOs. [29]
  • Texas is one of the best states in the U.S. for government transparency, currently ranking number 6. Texas has consistently ranked in the top 10. [30]
  • Texas has no city or state income taxes, and no taxes on goods in transit and was ranked one of the Tax Foundation’s top 10 in 2012 for most business friendly. [31]
  • Texas’ flagship university, the University of Texas at Austin, was ranked the 25th best university in the world for 2012. [32]