Houston, Texas Economy and History

Houston, Texas Economy and History


The Sam Houston Ship Channel Bridge from the Sam Houston Tollway. There is a lot of petrochemical industry along the Houston Ship Channel.

According to thembaprograms, Houston is an important industrial city, especially in the east and south of the metropolitan area there are vast industrial areas, often with heavy industry, especially along the Houston Ship Channel. The petrochemical industry is important in Houston. Although air pollution has an easier chance of diluting and drifting away, air quality is relatively poor, mainly caused by ports and the petrochemical industry. The Port of Houston is the United States’ second largest in throughput and the largest in foreign trade. Houston has historically been a city whose economy is based on oil and gas, but in recent decades its share of the economy has been declining, but remains of great importance. Many major oil companies have headquarters or regional offices in Houston or the suburbs. However, Houston’s economy is based less on oil extraction as in the past and more on the processing of oil products, which has significantly reduced the economic impact of low oil prices compared to the 1980s. Many industries around Houston are benefiting from low oil prices.

Major industrial complexes include a 25-mile industrial area along the Houston Ship Channel, the Baytown Refinery (35 km from downtown), the Texas City Refinery (60 km from downtown), and the large-scale industry around Freeport, most notably Dow Chemical. Although Freeport is well south of the metropolitan area on the Gulf of Mexico, it is considered part of Houston’s petrochemical industry. Freeport is 90 miles south of downtown Houston. Houston also has many light industrial estates, especially along the Northwest Freeway (US 290) and in the vicinity of the George Bush Intercontinental Airport.

Houston has the largest medical center in the world, the Texas Medical Center, which employs 73,000 people. The northern suburb of The Woodlands is home to many large corporate campuses, including the ExxonMobil campus, which has more floor space than Houston’s tallest skyscraper. Along I-10 in west Houston is the Energy Corridor, which is home to many energy company offices.

Houston has multiple subcenters. Important are, in addition to Downtown, Uptown, located on I-610 to the west, the Texas Medical Center, the Energy Corridor and The Woodlands and Spring. Most offices are located in the north and west of the conurbation, most industry in the east and south-east. In the north of Houston is the George Bush Intercontinental Airport, the 10th busiest airport in the United States.

The metropolitan area has one of the most robust economies in the United States. It was the first city to recreate all the jobs lost in the 2007-2008 crisis, and the number of jobs is growing at around 100,000 per year, attracting a lot of domestic migration, also increasingly due to the low cost of living. the livelihood. In terms of cost of living, the value of an average salary in Houston is the highest in the country. In 2014, an average house cost only 3.1 times the average household income. In well-known high-income cities such as San Francisco and Los Angeles, it is two to three times higher. Between 2008 and 2015, the number of jobs in the Houston area grew by 10%. In 2019, Houston was ranked No. 1 on the list of U.S. cities in the Economic Freedom Index.


Houston’s history dates back to 1836, when two entrepreneurs named Allen purchased 26.9 km² of land around the Buffalo Bayou with the intention of founding a city. The city was named after Sam Houston (1793-1863), who was responsible for Texas becoming part of the United States with the Battle of San Jacinto (1836) that took place near Houston. Houston became a city with mayor in 1837. At the same time, Harris County was organized. In 23 years the city grew to 5,000 inhabitants and developed as a hub and port for the export of cotton. Beginning in 1860, Houston’s population doubled approximately every 10 years, surpassing the 100,000 mark between 1910 and 1920. From 1890, Houston was Texas’ main rail hub.

In 1900, the coastal town of Galveston was devastated by a hurricane. Until then, Houston and Galveston were about the same size, and Galveston was the main port in Texas. However, the hurricane made it clear that Galveston was too sensitive to the impact of hurricanes, and from then on, Houston began to grow as a port city. Oil was discovered near Beaumont in 1901. The Houston Ship Channel was dredged and after a few years Houston was the largest port in Texas. Between 1910 and 1914, the canal was further deepened to accommodate large ships. This started the development of Houston as a port city, mainly because of the petrochemical industry. Due to its proximity to the Texas oil fields, large oil refineries were built east and southeast of Houston. By 1930, Houston crossed the 300 mark. 000 inhabitants and became the largest city in Texas. The oil industry around Houston was booming during World War II. In 1945, the Texas Medical Center was founded, which in the following decades would grow into the largest medical complex in the world and one of the largest employers in the Houston area.

Houston had hardly any suburbs until 1950, almost all residents of Harris County lived within Houston’s municipal boundaries. The city became more attractive to live in from the 1950s due to the availability of affordable air conditioning, which was in high demand due to the high temperatures and humidity in the region. Houston came on the map from 1961 because of NASA’s space center, which was called the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center from 1973. Beginning in the late 1970s, the population of Houston and the surrounding areas began to grow very rapidly, primarily due to inland migration from the Rust Belt in the northern United States. In the 1960s, Houston crossed the 1 million population mark, and it was from 1990 that Harris County had 1 million residents living outside the city limits of Houston, in the many suburbs. However, Houston’s growth was interrupted in the 1980s by an oil surplus, which delayed investment and hit Houston economically. Since then, attempts have been made to make Houston’s economy less dependent on the oil industry.

In 2001 Houston was hit by Tropical Storm Allison, which flooded large parts of the city after 1,000 millimeters of rain. Damage ran into the billions and was considered the worst natural disaster in Houston history at the time. Houston was evacuated in 2005 because of the approaching Hurricane Rita. This was the largest evacuation in US history, with 2.5 million residents leaving the city in a highly chaotic evacuation. The freeways were fitted with contraflow deployed in one direction, but even with 12 lanes of traffic, it created unimaginable congestion, and led to changes in urban evacuation policies in the United States, as chaos was a bigger problem than extreme weather. Houston was hit by the financial crisis from 2008, but was the first major conurbation in the United States to recreate all the jobs lost in the crisis, and the city was the country’s largest job engine between 2010 and 2015. However, Houston’s growth has been dampened somewhat from 2015 due to low oil prices. In 2017, Houston was hit by Hurricane Harvey, which dumped extreme amounts of rain of up to 1,500mm in just days on Houston. There was widespread flooding and economic damage in the tens of billions of dollars.

Houston, Texas History