Skip to main content

Houston Still Most Diverse City in the Nation, Report Finds

Published Apr 12, 2019 by A.J. Mistretta

Downtown People Streetscape Small

A new report finds Houston remains the most diverse city in the nation. 

Several studies in recent years have shown the Bayou City at the top of the list for ethnic and racial diversity. The city has no ethnic majority and nearly one-in-four residents are foreign born. In fact, Houston today mirrors what demographers forecast the U.S. population will look like in four decades. 

The latest report from WalletHub shows Houston is the most diverse city out of the 501 municipalities researchers examined. WalletHub looked at diversity across five categories: socioeconomic, cultural, economic, household, and religious. The report examines additional factors such as industry diversity, income, age, religious affiliation, education, language, worker class, and marital status. 

According to WalletHub: “By 2050, many shifts will happen. For example, while non-Hispanic whites are expected to remain the largest ethnic group, they will no longer make up a majority of the population. But America’s transformation is more than skin-deep — it’s economic, too. Not only have waves of immigration changed the face of the nation, they’ve also brought in fresh perspectives, skills and technologies to help the U.S. develop a strong adaptability to change. Economies generally fare better when they openly embrace and capitalize on new ideas. Conversely, those relying on old ways and specialized industries tend to be hurt more by changes in the market.”

When it comes to other major Texas cities: Dallas ranked No. 5 on the list of most diverse cities, followed by Arlington at No. 9 and Fort Worth at No. 25. Austin ranked No. 42 on the list and San Antonio ranked No. 62. 

Houston is the fourth largest city in the nation with a total population of 2.3 million. The broader metropolitan area is home to just under 6.9 million residents. The local population is also among the youngest in the nation: 36% of metro area residents are under the age of 25 and the largest percentage of adults (15.1%) are age 25 to 34, according to research from the Greater Houston Partnership. 

Click here to see other recent rankings. 

Related News

Demography

Metro Population, Industries, Quality of Life and More in 2020 Houston Facts

8/5/20
What does Houston’s population look like today? How has the energy industry changed here in recent decades? And just how much does the arts and culture sector contribute to the local economy? These questions and many others are answered in the Partnership’s annual Houston Facts publication, a helpful reference guide and resource for understanding the dynamics of the region.  Houston Facts is put together by the Partnership’s Research team led by Patrick Jankowski. In an August 4 virtual presentation, the staff discussed various segments of this year’s publication. Here are a few highlights from team members:  Quality of Life – Heath Duran  In 2018, the latest period for which figures are available, the Houston region welcomed 22.3 million visitors.  As of 2019, the area has more than 980 hotels and motels with a total of 95,000 rooms. That’s up from 85,000 in 2017 when Houston hosted Super Bowl LI.  Airbnb listings have grown in the Houston region in recent years. Last year, the platform generated $117 million in revenue for hosts. Arts and culture contribute roughly $1.1 billion to the local economy.  The city’s profile as a dining destination has grown significantly in recent years with 13 James Beard Award semifinalists last year. Houston restaurants boast more than 130 different categories of cuisine.  Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has shuttered a wide assortment of customer-oriented businesses across Houston. Earlier this year roughly 3,500 Yelp-reviewed businesses in the region were closed, and only a fraction of those have since reopened.  Health Care – Heath Duran  Roughly 376,000 people are employed in health care in metro Houston. That translates to about one out of every eight workers.  Across the region there are approximately 19,000 licensed physicians and about 19,300 patient beds in area hospitals.  The Texas Medical Center, the world’s largest medical campus, is actually the 8th largest business district in the U.S.  TMC logs more than 8 million patient visits per year and roughly 180,000 surgeries. TMC3, the translational research campus now being built adjacent to TMC, will bring academic institutions, researchers and private sector companies together to collaborate. Set to open in 2022, TMC3 is expected to have an annual economic impact of $5.4 billion.  Innovation and Tech – Josh Pherigo  Tech contributes approximately $28 billion to the Houston economy and employs roughly 235,000 workers across a wide assortment of industries.  Houston area companies received $600 million in venture capital funding in 2019. Over the last five years, about $1.9 billion in venture capital funding flowed into the region, more than double the previous five-year period.  The leading sectors in local venture capital investment are health care, information tech, business services and energy.  Energy – Roel Martinez  With some historical reference from previous iterations of Houston Facts, we know that Texas produced roughly 30 million barrels of crude oil in 1905. In 2018, the state produced 1.85 billion barrels.  Houston today is home to roughly 4,600 energy-related companies, up from 1,000 in 1940. The city’s refining capacity in 1940 stood at 575,000 barrels a day. Today that has grown to 2.6 million barrels a day.  Energy jobs in the region peaked at 293,000 in 2014. By last year that had fallen to about 257,000 jobs. It’s unclear right now how much COVID-19 and the dramatic fall of the energy markets will further diminish energy employment in the region by year-end.  International Business and Trade – Berina Suljic  The Houston/Galveston Customs District, which includes six seaports and two airports, is the busiest district by tonnage in the nation. It has been the busiest in nine of the last 12 years.  The total value of trade moving through the region was $236 billion in 2019.  About 8,300 ships move through the Port of Houston annually, many of them tied to the petrochemical industry which dominates large sections of the Houston Ship Channel.  Houston trades with more than 200 countries around the world. The region’s largest trade partners in 2019 were Mexico, Brazil, China, South Korea and the Netherlands, in that order.  How Houston’s trade ties will be affected by the pandemic and the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which replaced NAFTA, remain to be seen.  Demographics – Elizabeth Balderrama  The population of the Houston region has grown by more than half a million people every decade since 1950.  Over the last decade, there were nearly 900,000 babies born in our region. During that same period, more than 600,000 people moved to the area, most of them from abroad.  Today, nearly a quarter of our residents are foreign-born.  Last year, for the first time, the largest percentage of residents in the region were not white but Hispanic or Latino. Over the last 25 years, the Latino segment of the population has grown from 29% to 38%.  The Latino population in the Houston region is the fourth largest among U.S. metro areas.  Looking at our population through the lens of COVID-19, we see a disproportionate number of infections and serious cases in minority populations.  Since May, more than 50% of new COVID hospitalizations have been Hispanic patients in Harris County; 25% have been Black patients.  On the education front, Houstonians are more educated than ever before as educational attainment has increased steadily in recent years. One out of every three adults in the region holds a bachelor’s degree.  While educational attainment has been moving in the right direction, it remains to be seen how the pandemic will impact k-12 and postsecondary education.  Click here to view and download the 2020 edition of Houston Facts.  
Read More

Related Events

Education and Workforce Event

2020 Houston NEXT: An ERG Summit

Bringing together D&I, HR leaders and Talent Attraction professionals, this event explores how Houston must take a leadership role in addressing diversity, equality, inclusion and justice for our region and…

Learn More
Learn More
Executive Partners