Saturday, January 26, 2013

Will Houston surpass Chicago to become the third largest city in America?

Someday in the not too distant future, Houston is going to mess around and end up becoming the third largest city in the U.S.
Chicago will watch as its younger sister merrily skips by...growing and growing
and never really realizing how big she's become.
I've lived in Houston for over 30 years and along the Texas coast all my life.
I'm always amazed that there are skyscrapers just a few minutes from my quiet neighborhood.
I always get excited when we drive downtown. It's so otherworldly when compared to the farmland of my childhood.
The old and the new mix together. On the left is our newest skyscraper built last year.
And there seems to be a new skybridge every time I venture downtown.
But are we really going to surpass Chicago? Some say it is inevitable.
Right now Chicago has around 2.7 million while Houston is just under 2.2 million.
And even though we are twice as large in land area, some people believe that unless Houston develops a core density, it will always stay the same size. Single houses can't compare to the highrises of Chicago.
But lately I've begun to see a dramatic shift in the areas just outside downtown.
Where there used to be single houses with yards, Houston is building midrises.
They seem to be popping up everywhere, especially along the west and south sides.
This used to be an area with houses and yards. 
And this was an old warehouse district.
Though it looks like an office building, this will be another highrise.
And what's especially interesting are the plans for 5 new light rail lines. We'll go from 17 stops to 65 stops before the end of the decade.
So for now we are in fourth place....and like any contest, nobody notices 4th place.

But first.....New York,
second....Los Angeles
and third.....Chicago Houston?
That will take some getting used to. It just doesn't seem possible.
The next census is in 2020, so we've still got some time to enjoy being fourth.
And knowing our luck, the 2020 data will probably go like this:

Chicago 2,700,000
Houston, 2,699,999
Then we'll have to wait another 10 years for the 2030 census! LOL

Of course, there is ONE other thing to consider:
Unlike Chicago and its dozens and dozens of suburbs, Houston is surrounded by over 1.5 million people that are part of no city whatsoever. This hidden city (that doesn't show up on many population surveys) is large enough to be the second largest city in Texas....surpassing both San Antonio and Dallas.
There's no chance that Houston will grab these unincorporated areas without huge battles. 
But it does flavor the entire area and makes Houston feel a lot bigger than what's on the map. 
In fact, it's about a 40 MILE drive across Houston & this 'Other Houston' if you take Interstate 10.

All for now.


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  3. Don't you just love spam comments? Especially by anonymous stinkers? Anyway, here's a true comment for you, David. The last time I was in Houston was 2000. Not sure I would recognize it anymore. Unbelievable how much it has changed and yet, remains unchanged. Wonder if I'll get to see it again some day. Lived in Sugarland for 7 years. They were interesting and nice years in Texas.

  4. Houston will pass Chicago in 2015.


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