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Houston, A Leading Metropolitan Area in the U.S.


Population Growth

Houston ranks among the leading metropolitan areas in the U.S. and is the fourth largest city and the fifth largest Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) in the nation. Metro Houston area, which consists of ten counties, grew by more than 125,000 people between July 2015 and July 2016, making it the second fastest growing metropolitan region in the country. Despite the fall in oil prices, Metro Houston’s population gain remains solid. Forecasts show Houston’s population growth to be between 1.5% and 2.3% in 2018.

On a more long-term basis, demographers project strong population growth for the area over the next thirty years as domestic and international migration trends favor Houston’s geographical, cultural and economic strengths. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Houston had a net gain of 18,666 new residents in 2016, which is low compared to the 40,817 resident net gain in 2015. The median household income for the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land metro area was $61,708 in 2016, down 0.4% from 2015. Houston’s 2016 median household income is more than 9.0% higher than both the median Texas and U.S. household incomes. 


Twenty of America’s top 500 companies are headquartered in Houston. Four of Houston’s top five are in the energy industry.

in billions
 34 PHILLIPS 66 $72.4
 57 SYSCO $50.4

Houston’s strong economic base continues to be a key factor, driving both domestic and international migration trends, although Houston’s Fortune 500 rankings prove to be less impressive than last year, with three Houston companies falling o the 2016 list. Houston still ranks third among U.S. cities with the most Fortune 500 headquarters with twenty (20) companies on the 2017 list, following New York with a total of sixty-eight (68) and Chicago with thirty-four (34). Phillips 66 ranked highest on the list again list again for Houston-based headquarters on the Fortune 500 list, however fell from its No. 30 ranking with $87.2 billion in revenue to a No. 34 ranking with $72.4 billion, a drastic 20.4% decrease in revenue. Statewide, Texas was the No. 3 ranking state with fifty-four (50) companies on the list, just three less than California and four less than New York with fifty-five (55). All but three of Houston’s twenty (20) companies on the Fortune 500 list are in the energy industry and the weakened rankings of each company on the list reœect the negative eects that low oil prices have on Houston energy companies.

Houston area residents are well-educated, with the majority of the population over 25 years of age holding a high school diploma and residents with college/graduate educational studies outnumbering those with less than a high school education. This high level of educational achievement is not surprising given Houston’s numerous nationally recognized colleges and universities, as well as technical and trade schools, including Rice University, University of Houston, University of St. Thomas, Texas Southern University, Houston Baptist University, Baylor College of Medicine, San Jacinto College, Lone Star College and Houston Community College. Rice University ranks in the No. 14 spot in U.S. News & World Reports National University Rankings 2017 guide to America’s best colleges, the only Texas college in the top 20.

Bolstered by above-average demographic trends and a strong base of diverse industries, Houston is well-positioned to compete in today’s global markets. Long recognized as the energy capital of the world, with every major energy company represented locally, Houston now stands as a global example of economic diversity. The area is home to a thriving base of industries including medical/biomedical technology, global trade (particularly airborne and waterborne domestic/international cargo), aeronautics, plastics manufacturing, electronics, computers, software design and integrated power.



Front cover Economic Outlook 2018 150


 This Houston Population Growth overview is part of the annual 2018 Houston Economic Outlook. For the full report click here

Sections covered in the full report include:

Population Growth | Employment Sector | Business Climate | Global Energy Capital | Petrochemical & Plastics Industry | Port Houston | NASA/Johnson Space Center | Mobility Infrastructure | Airport System | Texas Medical Center | Biosciences & Biotechnology