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Welcome to Houston!


"Small-town big city?" Yep. Houston is probably one of the few (and perhaps, the only) big cities in the United States that has a small-town feel to it. Regardless of where you live in this city, you probably know a good many people that live and work around you. Although you may not know them in depth, you can probably pick a face out of a crowd, and you may even know the name of your local grocery store clerk. It's the fact that Houstonians are - in general - a personable bunch that gives this city of some 2.5 million a small-town feel.

THE BASICS

Houston is a city of some two million. We're a very diverse population, consisting primarily of 37.4% Hispanics, 30.8% White (non-Hispanic), and 25.3% African-American. We're pretty evenly matched across genders, and we have rated "significantly above (national) average" in regards to the number of African-Americans, Hispanics, and foreign-born citizens. All of this makes Houston an extremely diverse and multi-cultural city.

Houston has one of the lowest housing costs in the nation (according to current market data), and the majority of Houston renters average between $450 and $499 per month in rent.

Houston is not the safest city in the world, with 278 murders (that's 14.2 murders for every 100,000 people), 738 rapes, and 10.985 robberies in 2003. Unfortunately, while the number of rapes has declined (slightly), the number of robberies and murders have risen. Houston is now rivaling New Orleans for the Murder Capitol of the United States. I'd just as soon let them keep that title. (Keep in mind, however, that these numbers only reflect within the city limits of Houston, and do NOT take into account the subhurbs and smaller towns.)

Houston's climate is a hot, sub-tropical one. We are consistently above the national average for June, July and August - in fact, we define the top line of the US average on most graphs. Our precipitation comes and goes, with the highest amounts (on average) in June and September. July and August are our drier months. Houston's morning humidity? Way, WAY above the national average. Our evening humidity defines the top line of the national average on most graphs.

DEMOGRAPHICS

Houston occupies 579.4 square miles, and has a nearly even split of males to females (49.9% male, 50.1% female). As expected, the predominate race in Houston is Hispanic (37.4%), with White Non-Hispanic being second (30.8%). Black follows, a slightly distant third (25.3%). Who won't you be seeing much of? American Indians (only 0.8%). Of the ancesteries, German (6.1%) wins out over English (5.0%), with Italian (1.6%) bringing up the far rear.

Houston isn't the most educated city in the States, as a whopping 29.6% never finished high school (70.4% have finished high school (or higher), 27% a bachelors degree (or higher), and 9.7% went on to get a graduate/professional degree). A semi-reasonable (depending on how you look at it) 7.6% is unemployed (although any unemployment is far from reasonable... I'm being comparitive). The mean (average) travel time to work, in Houston? 27.4 minutes.

Houston's a thriving place for singles, with 51.2% of Houstonians, single (including never married, seperated, widowed, or divorced).

Want some more? Houston has significantly more (rated as "significantly above" national average) blacks, hispanics, and foreign-born citizens than the national average (this section did not give hard numbers). Our median age and the length of time we stay once moving in is significantly below the national average. We rent more than we buy, have smaller homes, and younger homes, compared to the national averages.

The majority of renters, amazingly, pay between $450 and $499 per month for rent. The largest household income group was $60,000 to $74,999 (60,444 people), but that was the first group that went up by $15,000. The rest were going up by $10,000 or $5,000. Did you know that for males and females (combined) over the age of 25, 45,245 said they've had no formal schooling? 22,250 quite before starting fifth grade. Thankfully, 245,349 completed high school (or equivalent), and 207,787 went on to get a bachelors degree.

Out of all races, black males had the highest unemployment rate, with American Indian/Alasan Native males coming in second at 8.3%. From there it went Mixed Race (7.8%), Hispanic/Latino (7.4%), Asian (4.9%), and White non-hispanic (4.2%). For females, the numbers are even more interesting. American Indian/Alaskan Native females had the highest unemployment rate at 12.5%. Then it went to Hispanic/Latino females at 11.7%, Black females at 11.3%, mixed-race females at 10.7%, Asian females at 5.9%, and White (non-hispanic) females at 4.2%. Some numbers that are both surprising, and not-so-surprising at the same time. I pretty much had the males pegged, but the females threw me for a loop, initially.

This page at city-data has the ultimate demographic information on Houston. It's a post, all by itsself. Trust me, look. It's... intriguing. Where do you think I got the last two paragraphs worth of information?

CRIME

Using data from 2003, Houston's murder rate was a total of 278 murder, or 14.2 murders for every 100,000 people. That's pretty darned high, folks. There were a staggering 738 rapes (shame on you, rapists) (39.3 per 100,000), thankfully down from 892, the year before. There were 10,985 robberies in 2003 (I was one of them), meaning that 562.3 people out of every 100,000 got robbed. 11,957 assaults; 26,522 burglaries (wow!); 72,032 counts of larceny; and 21,451 auto thefts. Busy little crime lords, aren't we? Houston's crime index of 651.4 is more than twice that of the national average (329.7). With the problems in Houston's police force, it worries me that crime will only continue to rise.

CLIMATE

Needless to say, Houston was above the national average for temperature, except in June, July and August, where we defined the top line of the US Average. Houston's precipitation is all over the map, with the highest points in June and September. Our morning humidity is almost always above the national average, with out evening humidity being right on the high line of the national average. No big surprise, there. Houston's the only place you can walk outside when it's 40 degrees, and immediately break a sweat. Part of the cause of that Humidity? Our average wind speed was well below the median national average. Our snowfall line shot straight across the bottom of the graph, with only a slight blip (to about an eighth of an inch) around the end of January/Beginning of February. You'll be glad to know, of course, that we get around the national average of sunshine.

PEOPLE AND BUSINESSES

Several famous people are from Houston (well, at least born there), and we're not talking poker players, including:
Jennifer Garner (actress), James Baker (politician), Hillary Duff (actress), Beyonce Knowles (singer/actress), Billy Preston (soul musician), Dennis Quaid (Actor), Wes Anderson (director), Kenny Rogers (country music superstar), and Adam Dunn (MLB player (Cincinatti Reds)).

Of course there's a ton of businesses in Houston. In fact, Houston is the publically listed adress for:
T-3 Energy Services, Inc (manuf. bolts, nuts, screws, etc...), Oyo Geospace Corp (measuring and controlling devices, NEC), First Investors Financial Services Group, Inc (Personal Credit Institution), Baker Hughes, Inc (oil and gas machinery, equipment and exploration), Comsys IT Partners, Inc (listed as "supply services"?!), Diamond Offshore Drilling (oil and gas well drilling), and 191 other public companies.

Houston is listed as having 43 hospitals (I guess this qualifies as "businesses"), three major airports, and three other "public-use" airports, nearby.

The local government employs 21,853 Houstonians (full-time), with an average yearly wage of $39.054. The top government employer is the police department with 5,424 full-time officers, making an average of $47,638 a year. Next comes the the fire department, employing 3,552 Houstonians, making an average of $45,456 per year. The lowest-paying government job? The Streets and Highways department, making an average of only $27,953 a year. The highest paying, on average? The affor-mentioned police department. Surprise surprise, the Housing and Community Development (local) agencies employ only 109 people. They make pretty good money, though, $45,424 a year, on average.

EDUCATION

Houston has some 20 colleges and universities. There's no surprise which is the biggest. University of Houston Main, of course, with some 25,479 full-time students. The smallest? The Ultrasound Diagnostic School, with only 429 full-time students. Not surprisingly, the Art Institute of Houston (551 students) ranked above both ITT Technical Institutes (538 and 457 students at each).

The biggest high school, by enrollment? Westfield. 4,112 students. Jersey Village closed out the top ten with a total of 3,072 students. The biggest private high school was not Strake Jesuit (which came in fourth at 742 students), but Kinkaid at 1,289. This is probably because Kinkaid does pre-K through 12th, whereas Strake is only 09-12. Houston's School for Accelerating Learning rounded out the top ten at 618 students. If we take the top ten list of private high schools, and count only the schools that are ONLY 09-12, we get Strake Jesuit on top, followed by St. Agnes Academy (732), and St. Pius X (670).

The biggest Primary/Middle school? Northshore High School (classified as thus, because it only goes to 11th grade) with 2,123 students. Discounting Northshore (that's cheating, chopping out the senior students like that, just to get on top of a list), we go to Pershing Middle as top kick, with 1,691 students. Amazingly, Young Learners - which is only pre-kindergarten - is in third position with 1,611 students. Whoa! Rounding out the top ten public, we have Cook Middle School 1,446 students. Okay, private schools. Topping the list for privates is The Village School (752 students), followed by River Oaks Baptist School (734 students), St. Michaels Catholic (501) rounding out the top ten.

The Houston Public Library is the largest library in town, with an annual operating budget of a whopping $36,806,321. They have a total of 2,615,959 books; 163,310 audio materials; 84,543 video materials; and 15,677 serial subscriptions. By contrast, the only other game in town, the Harris County Public Library, is like a poor relative, with an annual operating budget of only $14,552,446. They're getting cheated on the materials, as well, with only 1,240,577 books; 36,918 audio materials; 34,794 video materials; and 2,994 serial subscriptions. Now, I'm not certain if these figures are system-wide, or just the main branches (Mckinney and El Rio, respectively), but even so, the Harris County system needs some help! It reaches the majority of Houston's youth!

MEDIA (Radio and Television)

The "Strongest AM Radio Stations" table lists 13 seperate AM stations, with KPRC, AM 950, being the highest. KXYZ, 1320 AM is the lowest. (Kilowattage had nothing to do with this, evidentally, as KPRC is listed as 5kw, and KXYZ as 10kw.) The FM stations table lists 20 stations with KLTN, 102.9, as the highest; and K259AB (99.7, KSBJ's Sugarland Translator) as the lowest.

Houston is listed as having 25 broadcast stations. There are several I don't recall ever seeing. As I no longer have antennas for my TV (having had cable for a while), I'm unable to check. Has anyone ever heard of KVVV-LP (Channel 53), K30CV (Channel 30), KXLN (Channel 45, out of Rosenberg), KVDO-LP (Channel 69), KBPX-LP (Channel 33), KJIB-LP (Channel 5), KHMV-LP (channel 28, "Pappas telecasting of the gulf coast"... perhaps related to the Pappas family of restaurants), KVQT-LP (channel 24), KVIT-LP (Channel 28), KZJL (Channel 61), and KHLM-LP (Channel 43)

 







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