Houston by the Numbers: The City's Demographics and Economy

Houston, flooded by Hurricane Harvey, is the fourth largest city in the United States. The population is 2,303,482, based on data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau for 2016. It has 814,599 households and a median household income of $46,187, about $8,000 below the national average.

Like many large cities, Houston has a poverty problem. The poverty rate in the city is 22.5%, above the national rate of just over 15%. A little more than 23% of the population are black Americans, compared to 13% nationwide. Nearly 44% are Hispanic or Latino, sharply above the national average.

For a large city, Houston’s population has surged recently, up 9.7% since 2010. The total population of the city has more than doubled since 1960, when the count was 938,291.

The median value of a house is $131,700. There are 892,646 housing units in Houston. It is a huge city, geographically. It covers 599 square miles and has a population density of 3,501 per square mile.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land Metropolitan Statistical Area had a 5.3% unemployment rate in June, well above the national average. The civilian labor force for the area, which is larger than Houston proper, was 3,322,070.

Houston’s economy is dominated by energy businesses. Among the largest employers are ConocoPhillips, Halliburton, Baker Hughes and Apache Corporation. Twenty Houston companies are listed in the Fortune 500, including Baker Hughes, Kinder Morgan and Phillips 66.

Finally, Houston gets just below 50 inches of rain a year. The downpours from Hurricane Harvey could match that in a few days.

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