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Houston, Tex.

Mayor: Annise Parker (to Jan. 2016)

2010 census population (rank): 2,099,451 (4); Male: 1,053,517 (50.1%); Female: 1,045,934 (49.9%); White: 1,060,491 (50.5%); Black: 498,466 (23.7%); American Indian and Alaska Native: 14,997 (0.7%); Asian: 126,378 (6.0%); Other race: 329,436 (15.2%); Two or more races: 69,530 (3.3%); Hispanic/Latino: 919,668 (37.4%). 2010 population 18 and over: 1,556,427; 65 and over: 189,942; Median age: 30.9.

2012 population estimate (rank): 2,160,821 (4)

See additional census data

Land area: 579 sq mi. (1,500 sq km);

Alt.: Highest, 120 ft.; lowest, sea level

Avg. daily temp.: Jan., 52.2° F; July, 83.5° F

Churches1: 1,750;

City-owned parks: 293 (32,733 ac.);

Radio stations1: AM, 23; FM, 32;

Television stations: 15 commercial; 1 PBS

Civilian Labor Force (PMSA) 2008: 2,781,0002;

Unemployed: 4.8%2;

Per capita personal income (MSA) 2009: $25,6252

Chamber of Commerce: Greater Houston Partnership, 1200 Smith, Suite 700, Houston, TX 77002-4400

1. Harris County. 2. Houston–Baytown–Sugar Land, Tex.

Houston, the largest city in Texas and seat of Harris County, is located in the southeast part of the state near the Gulf of Mexico.

Sam Houston was the commander-in-chief of the Texas troops who fought a successful war of rebellion against Mexico, which had been in possession of Texas. On April 21, 1836, Houston's men won a decisive victory in which the Mexican dictator, Gen. Santa Anna, was taken prisoner and forced to sign the treaty that launched the Republic of Texas. In September, a constitution was ratified, and Houston was elected president. The Texas Republic was recognized by the U.S. and by the major European powers. The present city of Houston was incorporated in 1837 and named after Sam Houston; it was the Republic's first capital.

The port of Houston ranks high among U.S. ports in foreign tonnage handled. The city is a major business, financial, science, and technology center. Houston is outstanding in oil and natural-gas production and is the energy capital of the world. It is the home of one of the largest medical facilities in the world—the Texas Medical Center—and the focus of the aerospace industry. The Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center is the nation's headquarters for staffed spaceflight.

Among the city's many visitor attractions are the Museum of Fine Arts, Space Center Houston, the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center, George Ranch Historical Park, Reliant Park, and nearby San Jacinto Battlefield.

See also Encyclopedia: Houston; Houston Landmarks Slideshow.

Selected famous natives and residents:

  • Debbie Allen choreographer;
  • Lance Alworth football player;
  • Denton Cooley heart surgeon;
  • Jim Demaret golfer;
  • Allen Drury novelist;
  • Shelly Duvall actress;
  • A. J. Foyt auto racer;
  • Howard Hughes industrialist and film producer;
  • Barbara C. Jordan educator, lawyer, and politician;
  • Barbara Mandrell singer;
  • Annette O'Toole actress;
  • Dennis and Randy Quaid actors;
  • Kenny Rogers singer;
  • Patrick Swayze actor and dancer.

Information Please® Database, © 2014 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.

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