Census: Houston Sees Flat Growth, Suburbs Thriving

Recent Census figures show Houston's suburbs are growing at five times the pace of the city proper.

The city of Houston added only 8,200 people in 2017, while the portion of Harris County outside the city proper added 28,000. The seven counties which surround it saw an increase of 53,000 residents.

Dr. Stephen Klineberg, Kinder fellow and founding director of Rice University's Kinder Institute for Urban Research, says any slowdown in Houston is magnified because of the city's rapid growth a decade earlier.

“The growth rate is scored based on what was the growth five years ago and ten years ago, so the increase of the rate of growth is going to be greater in the suburbs,” says Klineberg.

“Up until 2014 when the price of oil hit $100 a barrel, Houston was the fastest growing city in America, and now is much less,” he says. “We're way behind in terms of unemployment rate and job growth of either Dallas or Texas as a whole, or even the United States as a whole.”

Klineberg says there is simply more room to grow in the suburbs where housing and property is cheaper with lower taxes. Suburban cities also are attracting more people with urban-style shopping and dining centers.

"What used to be suburbs characterized in the old days as big, single-family homes with driving everywhere and no way to walk or ride your bicycle in any safe way, are now giving way to more varied kinds of urban opportunities," he says. 

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