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Talking Points

A snapshot of Houston's demographic and economic growth for a quick reference guide of the regional economy | Q1/21
Published on 2/11/21
Talking Points Q1 '21


  • 7.1 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

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2019 American Community Survey


  • Fifteen foreign governments maintain trade and commercial offices in Houston and the region has 41 active foreign chambers of commerce
  • 17.3% of the region's economy is tied to exports and exports support 330,000 jobs
  • Prior to COVID-19, Houston served 184 nonstop destinations
  • $197 billion in trade was handled by the Houston-Galveston Customs District in '20: $67 in imports and $130 in exports
  • Houston has the largest export market in the U.S.
  • Port Houston is the largest Gulf Coast container port
  • Over 5,000 Houston companies are doing business abroad
  • More than 1,700 Houston companies report foreign ownership
  • Seventy-eight nations have consular representation in Houston, the third largest representation in the nation
  • Sixteen foreign banks are located in Houston from 9 nations


  • If Houston were an independent nation, the region would have the 27th largest economy in the world, behind Belgium and ahead of Nigeria
  • Since 2001, real (i.e., net of inflation) GDP in the Houston region has grown at a compound annual growth rate of 2.6 percent

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


  • There are 3.1 million jobs in the Houston MSA
  • The Health, Education, and Business & Professional Services industries account for nearly 1 out of 3 jobs in the region
  • The goods-producing sector accounts for more than 1 in 6 of the region's jobs


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

TMC Graphic

  • Houston is home to 84,560 engineers and architects
  • Approximately 230,300 people work in the region's manufacturing industry
  • More than 350 aviation and aerospace-related companies are in Houston
  • Houston has 8,800 tech-related firms, including more than 700 venture-backed startups
  • Houston employs 84,000+ workers in computer & mathematical occupations
Economy Demography

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