By TRP Staff
According to US Census reports Houston is poised to become the third largest city in terms of population, surpassing Chicago to move in right behind Los Angeles. While some of the reasons for the population shift can be attributed to internal problems with the Windy City, a good of the sudden population shift can be attributed to the Bayou City's job friendly environment, low cost of living and almost unsurpassed ability to absorb the extra population. Red Pub talked to several community leaders about what our city has to offer it's newest Houstonians.
A. J. Mistretta, the Senior PR Manager for the Greater Houston Convention and Visitor's Bureau pointed out Houston's great diversity and its love of culture provides newcomers with a feeling there is always something to do. “What we find is a lot of people come to Houston for two things, arts and culture”
“It is a very diverse population, the most diverse country in country, no majority. They come to visit friends and family, especially Mexico and Central/South America. Combine this with our tremendous museums, we have nineteen within walking distance. We have a printing museum, a bicycle museum, several other little known museums as well. Off the radar there is the Beer Can House, the Art Car Musem, You can visit the James Turrell Sky Space at Rice, formally known as Twilight Epiphany with its almost pyramid like structures. Foodies like Chinatown, Montrose Areas. Houston is a big city, you have to find what appeals to you. Every day at least 100 events going on.”
Gina Miller, the programming & public relations manager of the Houston Museum District Association backed up Mistretta's statement, adding: “The Houston Museum District represents a synergistic collection of nineteen museums, each with its own specialty. Located in the heart of Houston, nestled between Downtown and our world-renowned Texas Medical Center near Hermann Park, the museums proximity to one another creates one of the largest walkable cultural districts in the U.S."
"Museums located in the district include those boasting iconic architecture and landmarks, those with collections ranging from abstract to avant-garde, contemporary craft, design and those that focus on heritage and culturally-specific subject matter. Visitors can expect to experience a cultural passport to the world in one destination. With free times available at all nineteen museums, everyone has equal opportunity to experience these world-class institutions."
Speaking of the culinary inclined, Melissa Stewart of the Greater Houston Restaurant Association had nothing but praise for our highly diverse and varied culinary selection, and our thriving night life. “With 8,000 restaurants representing cuisine from more than 35 countries and American regions, Houston's restaurant scene is as ethnically diverse as its more than 4-million residents. With so many options, it's not surprising that visitors leave the city with plenty of good things to say about dining in Houston. In fact,Esquire named Houston one of the 'Top 10 Restaurant Cities in America, while The New York Post called Houston "one of the most satisfying food scenes in the country”.
For those worried about where the new population will live, Nancy Furst, the chair of the Houston Area Realitors, also with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Anderson Properties was positive on the the cities future growth, including its healthy housing market and strong economy. “Houston remains a national beacon in terms of quality of life and affordability. The local housing market has maintained a robust performance throughout 2015, keeping pace with last year’s record-breaking numbers. As we transition to the fall home buying season, we have begun to see signs of more sustainable inventory levels, with more new listings coming onto the market. We’ve also seen continued strength within the rental home market."
“Despite ongoing concerns about falling oil prices and layoffs within the energy industry, the Houston Association of Realtors (HAR) believes the strength of Houston’s housing market continues to be buoyed by our tremendously diverse local economy. There is hiring going on within the health care and technology sectors as well as in construction and the service industry, and that translates to demand for housing. Harris County alone has added almost 9,000 new households through domestic migration, the second largest number of any county in Texas. It’s predicted that the population of Texas will double to more than 54 million by 2050. We think it’s fair to say that many of those people will choose to make the greater Houston area their home.”
Houston has long been a refuge for people seeking a better life, even when the Spanish flag flew over our city. We asked Patrick Jankowsky, the Senior Vice President of Research for the Greater Houston Partnership, and no small fan of our cities history, about the diverse history of our home.
“There is no more friendly city than Houston. Look at 10 years ago with Hurricane Katrina when we willingly took in over 100,000 refugees. Go back to days before the Republic, when we were Spanish. People in US were having hard time financially and were in danger of going to jail, they knew got across the border they were safe. They would paint GGT- Gone to Texas on their houses to show they were going to a place to make a better life for themselves. In the last century, our population increase was from local sources, now it's international. 20% of Houstonians now are born outside the US. There was never more welcoming city.”
With Houston's strong economy, available housing, bustling arts and culture scene and it's historical generosity, it is no surprise our city is growing at a pace that outstrips other major cities. There is so much to do and see, our new neighbors will not lack for activities or events.