Houston and Beyond
More Than 5 Million People Call the Region Home
While Houston is the most populous city, the Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown Metropolitan Statistical Area (Houston MSA), consists of 10 counties: Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, San Jacinto and Waller. The 2010 population of more than 5,946,000 ranks Houston sixth among U.S. MSAs. Houston MSA is among the nation’s fastest-growing in the nation. The area grew 7.5 percent between the 2000 and 2010 censuses. In the next 20 years, it an additional 2 million people are expected to move to the Houston MSA.

Houston’s Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area (Houston CMSA) covers 8,778 square miles, an area slightly smaller than Massachusetts but larger than New Jersey. Houston’s official altitude is 43 feet above sea level.

If you compare the region to a national economy, only 21 countries other than the United States have a gross domestic product exceeding Houston’s regional gross area product, and only New York City is home to more Fortune 500 headquarters.

While the energy industry is a strong contributor to the region’s growth, in the last 10 years, the region has diversified its economic base. Industries, such as the services sector, continue to grow, led by gains in professional and business services and education and health services. Other industries driving the economy are the manufacturing of durable goods, construction and transportation.

With steady job growth throughout the region, the Houston area is well-positioned to continue to prosper in the global economy, with a sizable number of export-oriented businesses and one of the busiest ports in the world.

AUSTIN COUNTY – OVERVIEW
Austin County is located 35 miles west of Houston. Bellville, the county seat, is 50 miles west-northwest of Houston. Austin County covers approximately 656 square miles and elevations range from 460 feet above sea level in the northwest to 120 feet in the southeast. Temperatures range from an average high of 96°F in July to an average low of 41°F in January. Rainfall in the area averages 42 inches annually. Petroleum and natural gas reserves are the most significant of the county’s limited mineral resources. Between one-fourth and one-third of the county remains heavily wooded. Agribusiness, tourism and manufacturing are key elements of the economy and many residents commute to work in Houston. Recreational areas include the 667-acre Stephen F. Austin State Historical Park at San Felipe, which attracts thousands of visitors annually.

— Major Communities
  • Population
    Bellville (4,097), Brazos Country (469), Industry (343), San Felipe (747), Sealy (6,019) and Wallis (1,348)
  • Demographics
    • Population............................................28,417
    • Population Growth (2000–10)..........20.5%
    • Persons Per Square Mile..................44
  • Projected Population
    • 2020......................................................28,533
    • 2030......................................................30,273

— Education
  • Independent School Districts: Bellville, Brazos, Brenham, Columbus and Sealy
    Countywide Enrollment..................................5,601 
  • Educational Attainment (Adult population) 
    • High school diploma..........................74.5%
    • College degrees.................................17.3%

For more information, visit Austin county’s website at www.austincounty.com/ips/cms/.

BRAZORIA COUNTY – OVERVIEW
Brazoria County sits on the prairie of the Gulf Coast at the mouth of the Brazos River in Southeast Texas. It covers an area of 1,407 square miles. Angleton is the county seat. The annual rainfall is 52 inches and the mean annual temperature is 69°F. The growing season averages 309 days a year. The Brazos River divides the county in two, the western one-third covered by hardwoods and the rest by prairie land. Two major national wildlife refuges, the Brazoria and San Bernard, are in the county. The petrochemical industry and mineral resources including oil, gas, sulfur, salt, lime, sand and gravel dominate the county economy.’’

— Major Communities
  • Population
    Alvin (24,236), Angleton (18,862), Bailey’s Prairie (727), Brazoria (3,019), Brookside Village (1,523), Clute (11,211), Danbury (1,715), Freeport (12,049), Hillcrest (730), Holiday Lakes (1,107), Iowa Colony (1,170), Jones Creek (2,020), Lake Jackson (26,849), Liverpool (482), Manvel (5,179), Oyster Creek (1,111), Pearland (91,252), Richwood (3,510), Surfside Beach (482), Sweeny (3,684) and West Columbia (3,905)
  • Demographics
    • Population............................................313,166
    • Population Growth (2000–10)..........29.5%
    • Persons Per Square Mile..................230.7
  • Projected Population
    • 2020......................................................336,158
    • 2030......................................................379,479

— Education
  • Independent School Districts: Alvin, Angleton, Brazosport, Columbia-Brazoria, Damon, Danbury, Pearland and Sweeny 
    Countywide Enrollment..................................60,251 
  • Educational Attainment (Adult population) 
    • High school diploma..........................83.6% 
    • College degrees.................................25.3%

For more information about Brazoria County, visit its website at www.brazoria-county.com.

CHAMBERS COUNTY – OVERVIEW
Chambers County, named for Thomas Jefferson Chambers, is a rural county less than 20 miles east of Houston. The county is divided by the Trinity River and comprises 599 square miles. Anahuac is the county seat. The elevation rises from sea level to 50 feet. The county has a subtropical, humid climate with rainfall averaging 49 inches, a mean annual temperature of 69°F and a growing season averaging 261 days per year. Petroleum and chemical production, agribusiness, fish and oyster processing and tourism are key elements of the area’s economy. Natural resources include salt domes, industrial sand, pine and hardwood timber, oil, gas and sulfur. Several important wildlife areas are located in Chambers County, including Moody National Wildlife Refuge and Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge at the juncture of Oyster Bay and East Bay.

— Major Communities
  • Population
    Anahuac (2,243), Baytown (71,807), Mont Belvieu (3,835), Old River-Winfree (1,245), Stowell (1,756) and Winnie (3,254)
  • Demographics
    • Population............................................35,096
    • Population Growth (2000–10)..........34.8%
    • Persons Per Square Mile..................58.8
  • Projected Population
    • 2020......................................................38,508
    • 2030......................................................44,760

— Education
  • Independent School Districts: Anahuac, Barbers Hill, East Chambers, Goose Creek
    Countywide Enrollment..................................6,707
  • Educational Attainment (Adult population) 
    • High school diploma..........................83.0%
    • College degrees.................................14.8%

For more information about Chambers County, visit the website at www.co.chambers.tx.us.

FORT BEND COUNTY – OVERVIEW
Richmond, the county seat, is 28 miles west-southwest of Houston and at the center of the county. The county comprises 869 square miles of level to slightly rolling terrain with an elevation ranging from 80 to 250 feet above sea level. Streams include Big Creek, which flows east into the Brazos River, Oyster Creek and Buffalo Bayou. Temperatures range from an average high of 94°F in July to an average low of 44°F in January; rainfall averages slightly more than 45 inches a year, and the growing season lasts 296 days. Mineral resources include natural gas, oil, sulfur, sand, clay and gravel. Property development, high-technology, oil and agribusiness are key industries.

— Major Communities
  • Population
    Arcola (1,642), Beasley (641), Fairchilds (763), Fulshear (1,134), Katy (14,102), Kendleton (380), Meadows Place (4,660), Missouri City (67,358), Needville (2,823), Orchard (352), Pleak (1,044), Rosenberg (30,618), Simonton (814), Stafford (17,693), Sugar Land (78,817) and Thompsons (246)
  • Demographics 
    • Population............................................585,375
    • Population Growth (2000–10)..........65.1%
    • Persons Per Square Mile..................679.5
  • Projected Population
    • 2020......................................................560,606
    • 2030......................................................669,481
 
— Education
  • Independent School Districts: Brazos, Fort Bend, Katy, Lamar, Needville and Stafford
    Countywide Enrollment..................................99,080
  • Educational Attainment (Adult population) 
    • High school diploma..........................87.5%
    • College degrees.................................38.9%

For more information about Fort Bend County, visit www.co.fort-bend.tx.us.

GALVESTON COUNTY – OVERVIEW
Galveston County is located 80 miles southwest of the Louisiana state line. The county comprises mainland, Galveston Bay and Galveston Island. Galveston, the county seat, is located at roughly the geographical center of the county, which comprises 450 square miles. Altitudes range from zero to a maximum height of 35 feet above sea level in the northwest. The county has nearly 400 miles of beach. Rainfall averages 47.06 inches annually, and the growing season lasts for 320 days a year. The county’s economy historically derives from its location as an important hub of land and sea transportation on the Gulf. Galveston is the oldest deepwater port west of New Orleans.

— Major Communities
  • Population
    Bayou Vista (1,537), Clear Lake Shores (1,063), Dickinson (18,680), Friendswood (35,805), Galveston (47,743), Hitchcock (6,961), Jamaica Beach (983), Kemah (1,773), La Marque (14,509), League City (83,560), Santa Fe (12,222) and Tiki Island (968)
  • Demographics
    • Population............................................291,309
    • Population Growth (2000–10)..........16.5%
    • Persons Per Square Mile..................769.9
  • Projected Population
    • 2020......................................................290,934
    • 2030......................................................300,694
 
— Education
  • Independent School Districts: Clear Creek, Dickinson, Friendswood, Galveston, High Island, Hitchcock, La Marque, Santa Fe and Texas City
    Countywide Enrollment..................................75,260
  • Educational Attainment (Adult population)
    • High school diploma..........................85.4%
    • College degrees.................................25.6%

For more information about Galveston County, visit www.co.galveston.tx.us.

HARRIS COUNTY – OVERVIEW
Harris County is located on the upper Gulf Coast in Southeast Texas. Almost three-quarters of the county are covered by the city of Houston and 30 smaller communities; only 27 percent (310,000 acres or 485 square miles) of the county is rural. The county comprises 1,778 square miles (1,729 in land) and is the largest Texas county east of the Nueces River. Its southern half is level coastal prairie, and the northern half touches the rolling East Texas timberlands. Central Harris County is 55 feet above sea level. The land rises gradually to more than 200 feet on the northern borders while the smallish bluffs around upper Galveston Bay descend to sea level. The soil is heavy black coastal clay in the south and sandy loam north of Buffalo Bayou. Addicks and Barker dams provide flood control in western Harris County. The average annual rainfall in Harris County is 48.19 inches, and the mean temperature is 69.1°F. The growing season lasts around 300 days. Native trees include pine and hardwoods, such as oak, ash and hickory. County agriculture embraces 50,000 irrigated acres planted in rice, soybeans, grains, hay, corn and vegetables. Houston’s economy has a broad industrial base in the energy, manufacturing, aeronautics, transportation and health care sectors.

— Major Communities
  • Population
    Baytown (71,802), Bellaire (16,855), Bunker Hill Village (3,633), Deer Park (32,010), El Lago (2,706), Galena Park (10,887), Hedwig Village (2,557), Hilshire Village (746), Houston (2,099,451), Hunters Creek Village (4,367), Jacinto City (10,553), Jersey Village (7,620), La Porte (33,800), Morgan’s Point (339), Nassau Bay (4,002), Pasadena (149,043), Piney Point Village (3,125), Seabrook (11,952), Shoreacres (1,493), Southside Place (1,715), Spring Valley (3,715), Taylor Lake Village (3,544), Webster (10,400), West University Place (14,787)
  • Demographics
    • Population............................................4,092,459
    • Population Growth (2000–10)..........20.3%
    • Persons Per Square Mile..................2,402.4
  • Projected Population
    • 2020......................................................4,521,231
    • 2030......................................................5,033,819

— Education
  • Independent School Districts: Aldine, Alief, Channelview, Clear Creek, Crosby, Cypress-Fairbanks, Dayton, Deer Park, Galena Park, Goose Creek, Houston, Humble, Katy, Klein, La Porte, North Forest, Pasadena, Sheldon, Spring, Spring Branch, Stafford, Tomball and Waller
    Countywide Enrollment..................................811,198
  • Educational Attainment (Adult population)
    • High school diploma..........................77.3%
    • College degrees.................................27.8%

For more information about Harris County, visit www.co.hctx.net.

LIBERTY COUNTY – OVERVIEW
Liberty County, bisected by the Trinity River, is on U.S. Highway 90 halfway between Beaumont and Houston. The county comprises 1,174 square miles, and the altitude varies from 20 to 200 feet. The climate is subtropical and humid, the annual rainfall averages 51.15 inches and the temperature ranges from a minimum of 40°F in January to a maximum of 94°F in July. The northern fourth of the county is part of the Big Thicket, a once-impenetrable wilderness. Hogs, beef cattle, sheep, goats and poultry are raised and honey is produced commercially. Natural resources include deposits of lignite, iron ore, sulfur, brick clay, salt, lime and glass sand as well as oil and gas. Big Thicket National Preserve, in the northern part of the county, provides recreation with its several lakes.

— Major Communities
  • Population
    Ames (1,003), Cleveland (7,675), Dayton (7,242), Daisetta (966), Hardin (819), Kenefick (563), Liberty (8,397) and Plum Grove (600)
  • Demographics
    • Population............................................75,643
    • Population Growth (2000–10)..........7.8%
    • Persons Per Square Mile..................65.3
  • Projected Population
    • 2020......................................................97,672
    • 2030......................................................111,390

— Education
  • Independent School Districts: Cleveland, Dayton, Devers, Hardin, Hull-Daisetta, Liberty and Tarkington
    Countywide Enrollment..................................14,830
  • Educational Attainment (Adult population)
    • High school diploma..........................72.2%
    • College degrees.................................9.2%

For more information about Liberty County, visit www.co.liberty.tx.us.

MONTGOMERY COUNTY – OVERVIEW
Montgomery County is located on Interstate 45, 40 miles north of downtown Houston. Montgomery County covers 1,047 square miles, and the county seat is Conroe. The average annual relative humidity is 73 percent, and the average rainfall is 47.44 inches. The average annual temperature is 68°F. Temperatures in January range from an average low of 39°F to an average high of 61°F and in July range from 72°F to 95°F. The growing season averages 270 days per year. Thick stands of longleaf, shortleaf and loblolly pines and hickory, maple, sweet and black gum, oak and magnolia proliferate. Natural resources include timber, gravel and oil; the Conroe oilfield was at one time the third largest in the United States. The city of Montgomery is thought to be the birthplace of the Texas flag.

— Major Communities
  • Population
    Conroe (56,207), Magnolia (1,393), Montgomery (621), Pinehurst (4,624), Oak Ridge North (3,049), Splendora (1,615), Spring (54,298), The Woodlands (93,847) and Willis (5,662)
  • Demographics
    • Population............................................455,746
    • Population Growth (2000–10)..........55.1%
    • Persons Per Square Mile..................437.5
  • Projected Population
    • 2020......................................................492,124
    • 2030......................................................608,687

— Education
  • Independent School Districts: Conroe, Magnolia, Montgomery, New Caney, Richards, Splendora, Tomball and Willis
    Countywide Enrollment..................................87,679
  • Educational Attainment (Adult population)
    • High school diploma..........................85.3%
    • College degrees.................................28.7%

For more information about Montgomery Country, visit www.mctx.org.

SAN JACINTO COUNTY – OVERVIEW
San Jacinto County consists of 628 square miles and is situated in southeast Texas, 50 miles north of Houston on State Highway 59. The county is heavily wooded with longleaf and loblolly pine, cedar, oak, walnut, hickory, gum, ash and pecan. Sixty percent of the county is in the Sam Houston National Forest. The Trinity River serves as the eastern boundary of the county. The San Jacinto River, Big Creek, Winter Bayou and Stephen Creek also flow through the county, and Peach Creek flows along the southwestern boundary. Lake Livingston is also located in the county. The county’s major industries are timber and oil and gas production. The temperature ranges from an average low of 36°F in January to an average high of 94°F in July. The average growing season extends 261 days.

— Major communities
  • Population
    Coldspring (853), Oakhurst (233), Point Blank (688) and Shepherd (2,319)
  • Demographics
    • Population............................................26,384
    • Population Growth (2000–10)..........18.6%
    • Persons Per Square Mile..................46.3
  • Projected Population
    • 2020......................................................29,690
    • 2030......................................................32,735

— Education
  • Independent School Districts: Coldspring-Oakhurst, Cleveland, Shepherd and Willis
    Countywide Enrollment..................................3,565
  • Educational Attainment (Adult population)
    • High school diploma..........................77.0%
    • College degrees.................................9.5%

For more information about San Jacinto County, visit www.co.san-jacinto.tx.us.

WALLER COUNTY – OVERVIEW
Waller County is in the lower coastal plain of southeast Texas. Hempstead, the county’s seat of government and largest city, is 25 miles northwest of Houston. The county covers 514 square miles of land, from the rolling timbered area in the northern part of the county to the coastal prairie in the south, where marsh and bunch grasses grow. Temperatures range from an average low of 41°F in January to an average high of 95°F in July. The average annual precipitation is 42 inches, and the average growing season lasts 288 days. The economy of Waller County revolves primarily around farming (rice, cotton and watermelons), cattle and forest products. Mineral resources include oil and gas, salt domes, shell, gypsum, sulphur, sand, gravel and brick clay.

— Major communities
  • Population
    Brookshire (4,702), Hempstead (5,770), Pine Island (988), Prairie View (5,576) and Waller (2,326)
  • Demographics
    • Population............................................43,205
    • Population Growth (2000–10)..........32.3%
    • Persons Per Square Mile..................84.1
  • Projected Population
    • 2020......................................................52,181
    • 2030......................................................63,976

— Education
  • Independent School Districts: Hempstead, Katy, Roya and Waller
    Countywide Enrollment..................................48,975
  • Educational Attainment (Adult population)
    • High school diploma..........................78.8%
    • College degrees.................................17.8%

For more information about Waller County, visit www.co.waller.tx.us.
 
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