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Houston ranks among the leading metropolitan areas 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 nine counties, recorded the third largest numeric population gains in population growth between July 2017 and July 2018 of 91,689 people. A minimal decline when compared to the 93,435 people added between July 2016 and July 2017. Metro Houston’s population forecasts show Houston’s population growth to increase 7.1 million by 2020. 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.

The median household income for the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land metro area was $63,802 in 2017, up 3.4% from 2016. Houston’s 2017 median household income is more than 7.8% higher than both the median Texas household income and 5.7% higher than the median U.S. household income. 2018 data will be released in September 2019. 


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

in billions
 23 PHILLIPS 66 $114.2
 54 SYSCO $58.7

Houston’s strong economic base continues to be a key factor, driving both domestic and international migration trends. Houston’s Fortune 500 rankings increased by one over the previous year. Houston’s MSA ranks fourth among U.S. cities with the most Fortune 500 headquarters with twenty-two companies on the 2019 list, following New York (73), Chicago (31) and Dallas-Ft Worth (24). Phillips 66 ranked highest on the list again for Houston-based headquarters on the Fortune 500 list, moving up to 23rd place from its No. 28 ranking in 2018. Statewide, Texas was the third ranking state with 49 companies on the list, just one less than California with 54 and ten less than New York with 58. All but three of Houston’s 22 companies on the Fortune 500 list are in the energy industry and the stronger rankings of each company on the list reflect a healthier economy than last year.

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. 16 spot in U.S. News & World Reports National University Rankings 2019 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.




This Houston Population Growth overview is part of the annual 2019 Houston Economic Outlook.

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 



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Lisa Bridges

Director of Market Research


Lisa joined Colliers in 2010 as Director of Market Research and has 37 years of commercial real estate experience. Lisa initiates proactive market research projects to further the business goals of the company. She writes and prepares 29 market reports annually, including quarterly reports on Houston's retail, office, industrial and healthcare properties.  Further, she prepares statistical ownership reports for various clients as well as an annual Houston Economic Overview. Lisa also creates PowerPoint market presentations, trade journal articles, and other marketing materials supporting the company's business endeavors. She works with senior management in planning the company's marketing strategy and public relations support for local and national conferences, luncheon meetings, recruitment programs, and special events.  Lisa works closely with the company's brokers to develop effective custom market research material specific to existing and potential clients.

Lisa serves on the Colliers Editorial Board, the Colliers U.S. Research Council, and is a recipient of the Colliers Researcher of the Year Award.

Lisa earned the Commercial Property Research Certification (CPRC) from Colliers University.  CPRC is the first and only accreditation for commercial real estate research professionals. It offers a professional development path to increase strategic and tactical expertise in marketing/research, knowledge of the industry and capabilities with commercial real estate tools.

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