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Talking Points

A snapshot of Houston's demographic and economic growth for a quick reference guide of the regional economy | Q4/19
Published on 10/4/19
Talking Points Q3/19


  • 7.0 million residents live in the nine-county Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land MSA
  • The Houston metro is the nation's 5th most populous metro area, larger than Missouri or Maryland
  • Approximate number of city of Houston residents: 2.3 million
  • Houston is the nation's 4th most populous city 
  • Nearly 1 in 4 Houstonians are foreign born

Houston race/ethnicity 2018

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2018 American Community Survey


  • Fifteen foreign governments maintain trade and commercial offices in Houston and the region has 35 active foreign chambers of commerce
  • 17.3% of the region's economy is tied to exports and exports support 330,000 jobs
  • The Houston Airport System served 58.3 million passengers in '18: 11.8 million international and 46.5 million domestic travelers
  • Houston serves 182 nonstop destinations
  • $233.3 billion in trade was handled by the Houston-Galveston Customs District in '18: $92.7 in imports and $140.5 in exports
  • Houston has the largest export market in the U.S.
  • Port Houston is the largest Gulf Coast container port
  • Port Houston ranks 1st in foreign tonnage for 22 straight years and 2nd in total tonnage for 26 straight years
  • Over 5,000 Houston companies are doing business abroad
  • More than 1,700 Houston companies report foreign ownership
  • Ninety nations have consular representation in Houston, the third largest representation in the nation
  • Nineteen foreign banks are located in Houston from 10 nations


  • If Houston were an independent nation, the region would have the 26th largest economy in the world, behind Belgium and ahead of Thailand
  • Real (i.e., net of infation) GDP in the Houston region is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 2.9 percent from ’20 to ’45
  • Houston's GDP is expected to more than double between '20 and '45

GDP Chart

  • Houston is the nation's seventh largest metro economy
  • Twenty-two Fortune 500 companies call Houston home


  • There are 3.2 million jobs in the Houston MSA, more jobs than in 35 states
  • Service industries account for 4 out of 5 workers in the region
  • The goods-producing sector accounts for 1 in 5 of the region's jobs


Employment by industry


  • The Texas Medical Center is the world's largest medical complex

TMC Graphic

  • Houston is home to 83,100 engineers and architects
  • Approximately 225,000 people work in the region's manufacturing industry
  • 44 of the 128 publicly-traded oil and gas exploration firms are housed in Houston
  • 650 exploration and production firms and 800 oil field service companies are located in the Houston region
  • Houston employs 25% of the nation's oil and gas extraction jobs
Demography Economy

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