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4 Facts About Houston That Shows How Big This City Is

4 Facts About Houston That Shows How Big This City Is

It’s no surprise to Houstonians that their big city has many sights to see—from spectacular sceneries that’ll impress photographers to romantic spots to take your beloved for a date night.

But did you know Houston is the biggest city in Texas and is twice the size of New York City?

To learn more about this interesting city, here are some facts and stats about Houston you should remember before exploring H-Town: 

How Big is Houston?

As the biggest city in Texas and the 8th largest in the US, the area size of Houston is around 640.617 mi² or 1659.19 km². With this size, Houston is bigger than the country of Andorra and almost the same size as Singapore in terms of land area.

To give you a better idea of just how large this city is, read on!

1. Houston is the biggest city in Texas and the 8th largest in the US in terms of land area

Houston is the biggest city in Texas and the 8th largest in the US in terms of land area

Photo from Ken Lund/Wikimedia Commons

It’s common knowledge to its residents that Houston is an expansive city. If you’re not familiar with the area, you may find yourself lost in its 640.617 mi² or 1659.19 km² of land area according to the US Census Bureau.

With that size, Houston is the biggest city in the state of Texas. To paint a clearer picture, let’s compare Houston to its neighboring cities:

CityLand Area Size
Houston640.617 mi² (1659.190 km²)
San Antonio498.922 mi²(1292.202 km²)
Fort Worth349.587 mi² (905.426 km²)
Dallas339.604 mi² (879.570 km²)
Austin320.56 mi² (830.246 km²
El Paso258.515 mi² (669.551 km²)
Corpus Christi162.282 mi² (420.308 km²)
Canyon Lake142.712 mi² (369.622 km²)
Lubbock138.039 mi² (357.519 km²)
Brownsville131.654 mi² (340.982 km²)

Source: US Census Bureau 2022 data

Looking at the table, the total land area of Houston is a tad bigger than the combined areas of Texas’ capital Austin and the city of El Paso. 

Moreover, the city can even fit the land areas of Corpus Christi, Canyon Lake, Brownsville, and Lubbock in its entirety with around 65.53 mi². to spare. No wonder it takes forever to drive around the city!

In addition, Houston also ranks as the 8th biggest city in the US according to the US Census Bureau. Compared to the other cities on the list, Houston has the largest population number.

CityStateArea Size
SitkaAlaska2,870.058 mi² (7433.416 km²)
JuneauAlaska2,704.025 mi² (7003.393 km²)
WrangellAlaska2,555.994 mi² (6619.994 km²)
AnchorageAlaska1,706.886 mi² (4420.814 km²)
JacksonvilleFlorida747.261 mi² (1935.397 km²)
AnacondaMontana736.683 mi² (1908.000 km²)
ButteMontana715.757 mi² (1853.802 km²)
HoustonTexas640.617 mi² (1659.190 km²)
Oklahoma CityOklahoma606.479 mi² (1570.773 km²)
PhoenixArizona518.311 mi² (1342.419 km²)

Source: US Census Bureau 2022 data

When juxtaposed with other well-known cities, the geographical area of Houston is roughly the size of 2 New Yorks or 10 Washington DCs or 17 Miamis! 

2. Houston is the most populous Texas City and 4th in the US

Houston is the most populous Texas City and 4th in the US

Photo from Jennifer Woodard Maderazo/Wikimedia Commons

As the most densely-populated city in Texas, Houston houses 2,288,250 people within its borders. This count is almost double the population of San Antonio and more than the combined residents of Dallas and Austin.

CityPopulation (in 2021)
San Antonio1,451,853
Fort Worth935,508
El Paso678,415
Corpus Christi317,773

Source: US Census Bureau 2022 data

With this count, Houstonians compose approximately 7.85% of the total Texas population.  In relation to that, Houston is the 4th most populated city in the US, forming at least .68% of the population of the US.

CityStatePopulation (in 2021)
New York CityNew York8,467,513
Los AngelesCalifornia3,849,297
San AntonioTexas1,451,853
San DiegoCalifornia1,381,611
San JoseCalifornia983,489

Source: US Census Bureau 2022 data

Despite its slowing growth and a slight decrease in population, Houston remains one of the largest cities in the US. The neighborhoods of Sugar Land and Houston Heights are becoming preferred destinations for those moving into this city.

3. It is one of the most culturally and racially diverse cities in the US

It is one of the most culturally and racially diverse cities in the US

Photo from Jackster121212/Wikimedia Commons

There’s no question that Houston is one of the melting pots of cultures in America. Let’s look at the table to see the diversity index of the city based on the US Census in 2020:

CityStateDiversity Index Percentage
Jersey CityNew Jersey71.70
New York CityNew York71.59
Los AngelesCalifornia71.30
Silver SpringMaryland71.20
Long BeachCalifornia71.06
Chicago & DanburyIllinois; Connecticut71.05

Source: US Census Bureau 2020 Census data compiled by WalletHub

In terms of culture, economic condition, household composition, socioeconomic status, and religious belief, Houston is the most diverse city in the country. This diversity can be seen in the ethnic composition of the city’s inhabitants.

Race or Ethnic OriginPercentage
White alone51.5
Hispanic or Latino44.5
African-American or Black alone22.8
Two or more races7
Asian alone6.9
American Indian and Alaska Native alone0.3
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone0

Source: US Census Bureau data

Despite the majority of the Houston populace being white, almost half of the city’s population are persons of color (POC). The majority of POCs identified in the census are African-American, Black, Hispanic, Latino, and multiracial individuals.

The diversity of people in Houston influences many aspects of city life, including the art, culture, and food found here. 

According to Yelp, Houston has more than 160 types of cuisines, including Chinese, Italian, Mexican, and others. If you’re craving a gastronomic adventure, the city is the perfect spot for you!

4. Houston Metropolitan Area is one of the most robust economies in the US

Houston Metropolitan Area is one of the most robust economies in the US

Photo from KMJ/Wikimedia Commons

Business is still booming in the Houston Metropolitan Area, as it is one of the biggest metro economies in the country in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), or the money produced by an area in a specific period.

Metropolitan Statistical AreaStateGDP in 2019
New York-Newark-Jersey CityNY-NJ-PA$1,500,986,298,000.00
Los Angeles-Long Beach-AnaheimCA$880,234,370,000.00
San Francisco-Oakland-BerkeleyCA$525,830,66,000.00
Dallas-Fort Worth-ArlingtonTX$477,022,901,000.00
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar LandTX$455,302,437,000.00

Source: US Bureau for Economic Analysis

The statistical area, which includes Houston, Sugar Land, and the Woodlands is the largest contributor to the country’s total (GDP) with $477.02 billion in earnings in 2020.

This amount is higher than the 2021 GDP of Nigeria ($440.78 billion) and right below the GDP of Austria ($477.08 billion)  as per the World Bank’s data.

Also, Houston Metro’s earnings make up approximately 26.05% of Texas’ GDP and 2.78% of the country’s total GDP.

Take note that the figures on the said list are the real GDP, which means that its value is already adjusted for inflation.

On the other hand, the top industries contributing to Houston MSA’s GDP are manufacturing, professional and business services, real estate, and wholesale based on the 2018 GDP.

IndustryShares (in billions)% of GDP
Professional and Business Services$70.7014.80%
Real Estate and Rentals$45.609.50%
Health Care and Social Assistance$25.205.30%
Finance and Insurance$23.304.90%
Transportation and Warehousing$21.204.40%
Mining (exploration, oil field services)$20.504.30%
Accommodation and Food Services$12.602.60%
Other Services$9.502.00%
Educational Services$4.200.90%
Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation$4.100.90%

Source: US Bureau for Economic Analysis, Greater Houston Partnership

The top 4 industries make up more than half of Metro Houston’s total revenue or around $244.7 billion. 

Although, note that these figures don’t fully include the extent of the energy industry’s shares on the GDP despite the industry’s sizable contribution to the economy of both Houston and the US.

Industry Type# of FirmsAverage # of EmployeesAverage Weekly Wage
Oil & Gas Extraction49537,131$3,669
Drilling Oil and Gas Wells13811,308$2,490
Support for Oil and Gas78929,016$2,291
Pipeline Construction19826,728$1,740
Petroleum Refineries429,253$3,053
Chemical Manufacturing45939,925$2,420
Valve Manufacturing703,972$1,632
Pipe and Fitting Manufacturing905,729$1,241
Oilfield Equipment Manufacturing25328,637$2,055
Pump and Compressor Manufacturing461,775$2,055
Industrial Equipment Wholesalers1,17022,947$1,760
Chemical Wholesalers4517,395$2,137
Petroleum Wholesalers23611,100$2,541
Pipeline Transportation8711,382$2,864
Engineering Services1,82247,970$2,357
Geophysical Services1413,4322,349

Source: Texas Workforce Commission’s and Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages; Compiled by Greater Houston Partnership

Dubbed the “Energy Capital of the World,” Houston Metro is home to around 5,992  energy exploration, production, and transmission firms. The industry provided an average of 260,000 jobs to Houstonians in the 2nd Quarter of 2019.

Based on these figures, the bulk of energy-related services in Houston work on nonrenewable energy sources given the richness of the city in oil and petroleum. In fact, 9 refineries in this city produce 2.3 million gallons of crude oil per day.

Despite that, the city generates 18.6% of Texas’ wind energy output. The city also accommodates more than a hundred companies producing electricity from solar power.

Now that you’re educated on the relevant facts and figures about Houston, you can use this knowledge to help you discover the beauty of the city. Make sure to remember these when you need some answers for trivia night!

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