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Talking Points

A snapshot of Houston's demographic and economic growth for a quick reference guide of the regional economy | Q1/22
Published on 1/24/22
Talking Points Handout Q1-22


  • 7.1 million people live in the nine-county Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land MSA.
  • The Houston metro is the nation's fifth most populous metro area.
  • Metro Houston and has more residents than Tennessee, Massachusetts and 33 other states.
  • The City of Houston has 2.3 million residents, fourth most in the U.S.
  • Nearly 1 in 4 Houstonians are foreign born.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2020 American Community Survey


  • Fifteen foreign governments maintain trade and commercial offices in Houston, and the region has 41 active foreign chambers of commerce.
  • 17.3% of the region's economy is tied to exports, and exports support 330,000 jobs
  • Houston’s two international airports service 193 nonstop destinations, including 127 domestic and 66 international.
  • The Houston-Galveston Customs District handled $197.0 billion in trade in '20, $67.4 billion in imports and $129.5 billion in exports.
  • Houston has the largest export market in the U.S.
  • Port Houston is the largest container port on the Gulf Coast.
  • Over 5,000 Houston companies are doing business abroad.
  • More than 1,700 Houston companies report foreign ownership.
  • Ninety-two nations have consular representation in Houston, the third-largest representation in the U.S.
  • Sixteen foreign banks from 9 nations are located in Houston.


  • The Houston MSA’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was $488.2 billion in ’20.  
    If Houston were an independent nation, the region would have the 27th largest economy in the world, behind Belgium and ahead of Nigeria.
  • Since 2001, real GDP in the Houston region has grown at a compound annual growth rate of 2.2 percent.

  • Houston is the seventh-largest metro economy in the U.S.
  • Twenty-four Fortune 500 companies call Houston home, the third most among U.S. Metros.


  • There are 3.1 million jobs in the Houston MSA.
  • The Health, Education, and Business & Professional Services industries account for nearly 1 out of 3 jobs in the region.
  • The goods-producing sector accounts for more than 1 in 6 jobs.


  • The Texas Medical Center is the world's largest medical complex

Digital Technology & Innovation

  • Houston has the 11th largest tech workforce in the U.S., with more workers than Austin or Denver.
  • Local tech startups raised over $820 million in Venture Capital in '20.
  • Houston has 243,900 tech workers, including more than 80,200 computer, math, and engineering occupations.  
  • Houston has 9,290 tech-related firms, including more than 700 venture-backed startups.
  • Houston’s tech industry contributed $29.2 billion to the region’s GDP in ’19.
  • There are over 60 organizations supporting tech startups in Houston, including co-working spaces, incubators and accelerators, and non-profit tech hubs.


  • Houston’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) has served as mission control for U.S. space exploration and astronaut training since 1961.
  • JSC managed a budget of $5.6 billion in ’20 and generated more than $8.7 billion in economic output.
  • More than 350 aviation and aerospace-related companies operate in Houston, including Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman.
  • NASA employed 2,950 civil workers, including 110 astronauts, and 8,942 contractors at JSC in ’20.
Demography Economy
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