Houston Newbies Guide: Welcome to Houston
Welcome to Houston.
Welcome to the “Houston for Newbies” series.
My name is Eric Scalf, and I have been a resident of Houston for around fourteen years, now. After being invited to write on the Houston Metro Blog, I spent a bit of time getting my feet wet, and deciding on a series. For those that read my personal blog, you’ll know I’m a big one for series. As a former City of Houston taxi driver, I have a unique knowledge and perspective of this city that many do not normally obtain – even after as many years of living in our small-town big city.
“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.
During this series, I hope to present you with a lot of information about Houston, including information on the various neighborhoods and parts of town, various attractions, places to eat, and the Houston nightlife. In this first entry of the series, I’ll be introducing you to a some general factoids about Houston. Next time, we’ll dive into the history of the area. Sit back, grab a cup of coffee, and let’s get started…
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.
This time I gave you a little bit of information on our fair city. For most of the regular readers, it was a repeat. To be honest, I’m starting the series off fairly light, and giving you sources to do some digging on your own. Personally, I prefer it that way. It’s much more fun to figure out the data, yourself.
Next time, I’ll give you some of the history of Houston. That’s an article that will take me a while to write, so you may be waiting a few days. heh. After the history, I’ll start running down the neighborhoods and parts of town for you. This series will be pretty long, by the end, so you’ll want to stick around and learn more about Houston, every day.