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How Houston Compares Favorably to Rest of U.S. Economy

And we look purty too.
And we look purty too.
Photo by Jeff Balke

Recently, I wrote about the realities of income distribution in the U.S. Today, I'm going to focus on Houston. The following information comes from the American Community Survey done by the U.S. Census Bureau. (Link here). The figures are from 2012.

Here's some good news: we make more money in Houston. That is, our median income -- $55,910 -- is $2,303 higher than the national average ($53,607). What should we do with that extra money? About 550,000 folks in the metro area make six figures or more (out of 4.7 million total, or almost 12 percent of the population).

However, Houston has a slightly higher poverty rate than the national average, and almost a quarter of Houston metro area residents lack health insurance compared to 14.7 percent nationwide.

But, back to some good news: we're more diverse. As you might know, the Houston metro area is now the most diverse in the nation (NYC is now second). Reflecting this diversity, over 22 percent of our residents are foreign-born versus 14.8 percent nationwide.

More good news. Housing, at least in the metro area as a whole, is much cheaper than elsewhere to the tune of $47,000 in savings for median value of a house ($188,300 nationally vs. $141,400 here).

However, we are just a tad less educated -- college educated -- 31.2 percent have their bachelor's degree nationwide versus 29.6 percent here.

Finally, here's some shocking news: 90 percent of those us in the workforce drove to work; about 2.5 percent of us took public transportation.

So, what's the verdict? Well, we make a little bit more money here and housing is much more affordable here (tho certain inner loop areas remain beyond the means of the median earners, of course). What is more, we are really, really diverse. This is an inherently good thing, plus it means a diverse restaurant scene -- if you live here, you can pretty much get any kind of good food. Always a plus.


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