Economy of Houston
The economy of Houston
Houston, Texas
Houston is the fourth-largest city in the United States, and the largest city in the state of Texas. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the city had a population of 2.1 million people within an area of . Houston is the seat of Harris County and the economic center of , which is the ...

is primarily based on the energy industry (particularly oil
Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling...

), however, biomedical research and aerospace
Aerospace comprises the atmosphere of Earth and surrounding space. Typically the term is used to refer to the industry that researches, designs, manufactures, operates, and maintains vehicles moving through air and space...

 are a large sectors of the city's economy. The Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown area Gross Metropolitan Product
Gross metropolitan product
Gross Metropolitan Product or Gross Regional Product is one of several measures of the size of the economy of a metropolitan area...

 (GMP) in 2005 was $308.7 billion, up 5.4 percent from 2004 in constant dollars. The Houston metropolitan area comprises the largest petrochemical
Petrochemicals are chemical products derived from petroleum. Some chemical compounds made from petroleum are also obtained from other fossil fuels, such as coal or natural gas, or renewable sources such as corn or sugar cane....

 manufacturing area in the world, including for synthetic rubber
Synthetic rubber
Synthetic rubber is is any type of artificial elastomer, invariably a polymer. An elastomer is a material with the mechanical property that it can undergo much more elastic deformation under stress than most materials and still return to its previous size without permanent deformation...

, insecticide
An insecticide is a pesticide used against insects. They include ovicides and larvicides used against the eggs and larvae of insects respectively. Insecticides are used in agriculture, medicine, industry and the household. The use of insecticides is believed to be one of the major factors behind...

s, and fertilizer
Fertilizer is any organic or inorganic material of natural or synthetic origin that is added to a soil to supply one or more plant nutrients essential to the growth of plants. A recent assessment found that about 40 to 60% of crop yields are attributable to commercial fertilizer use...

s. The area is the world's leading center for building oilfield
Oil field
An oil field is a region with an abundance of oil wells extracting petroleum from below ground. Because the oil reservoirs typically extend over a large area, possibly several hundred kilometres across, full exploitation entails multiple wells scattered across the area...

 equipment. The city is home to more than 3,000 energy-related establishments, including many of the top oil and gas exploration and production firms and petroleum pipeline operators. As of 2011 23 companies on the Fortune 500
Fortune 500
The Fortune 500 is an annual list compiled and published by Fortune magazine that ranks the top 500 U.S. closely held and public corporations as ranked by their gross revenue after adjustments made by Fortune to exclude the impact of excise taxes companies collect. The list includes publicly and...

 list have their headquarters in Houston or the surrounding metropolitan region.

The Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown metropolitan area
Greater Houston
Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown is a 10-county metropolitan area defined by the Office of Management and Budget. It is located along the Gulf Coast region in the U.S. state of Texas...

 ranked 33rd among the nation’s 361 MSAs on per capita personal income at $36,852, making the figure 11.5 percent higher than the national figure of $33,050. Among the 10 most populous MSAs, Houston ranked fifth. Among the 10 most populous metro areas, Houston ranked second in employment growth rate and fourth in nominal employment growth.

Real estate and corporate location

Houston is a major corporate center. The city and surrounding metropolitan region is home to 23 Fortune 500 companies, multinationals and domestic companies maintain operations in the city. Of the world’s 100 largest non-U.S.-based corporations, more than half have operations in
Houston. In 2006, the Houston metropolitan area ranked first in Texas and third in the U.S. within the category of "Best Places for Business and Careers" by Forbes
Forbes is an American publishing and media company. Its flagship publication, the Forbes magazine, is published biweekly. Its primary competitors in the national business magazine category are Fortune, which is also published biweekly, and Business Week...

. The 2011 Fortune 500list shows 23 firms headquartered in the 10-county Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown Metropolitan Statistical Area. Only New York City in has more Fortune 500
Fortune 500
The Fortune 500 is an annual list compiled and published by Fortune magazine that ranks the top 500 U.S. closely held and public corporations as ranked by their gross revenue after adjustments made by Fortune to exclude the impact of excise taxes companies collect. The list includes publicly and...

 headquarters within city limits.


Banking and financial services
Financial services
Financial services refer to services provided by the finance industry. The finance industry encompasses a broad range of organizations that deal with the management of money. Among these organizations are credit unions, banks, credit card companies, insurance companies, consumer finance companies,...

 are vital the region. Forty foreign governments maintain trade
International trade
International trade is the exchange of capital, goods, and services across international borders or territories. In most countries, such trade represents a significant share of gross domestic product...

 and commercial offices here and the city has 23 active foreign chambers of commerce and trade associations. Eleven foreign banks representing 12 nations operate in Houston and provide financial assistance to the international community. In 1997 Houston had offices of 84 subsidiaries of Japanese companies.

Information technology

Houston has more than 1,000 computer-related companies. Information technology developed in Houston impacts many entities, including the city's Technology Task Force that created the Houston Transtar Center, a centralized police, fire and emergency medical services dispatch center. Since its inception in 1999, Houston Technology Center
Houston Technology Center
The Houston Technology Center is a Technology Accelerator and Incubator located in the Heart of midtown Houston. The HTC creates economic wealth in the region by supporting technology businesses in the sectors of Energy, Information Technology , Life Sciences, and NASA based space technologies...

 has become the center of technology entrepreneurship in Houston. The center has helped more than 150 emerging technology companies raise more than $400 million in capital and create about 1,000 new jobs.

Houston, with a customer base of more than 3 million, is AT&T
AT&T Inc. is an American multinational telecommunications corporation headquartered in Whitacre Tower, Dallas, Texas, United States. It is the largest provider of mobile telephony and fixed telephony in the United States, and is also a provider of broadband and subscription television services...

’s largest service city. The city's telecommunications infrastructure completes more than 70 million Houston telephone connections daily. The Texas Public Utilities Commission has certified more than 400 additional local exchange carriers to provide service state-wide or specifically within Houston. More than 1,600 interexchange carriers have registered with the commission to provide long distance service.

Manufacturing and industry

Top publicly traded companies
in Houston for 2011

with Texas and U.S. ranks
Texas Corporation US
2 ConocoPhillips
ConocoPhillips Company is an American multinational energy corporation with its headquarters located in the Energy Corridor district of Houston, Texas in the United States...

5 Marathon Oil
Marathon Oil
Marathon Oil Corporation is a United States-based oil and natural gas exploration and production company. Principal exploration activities are in the United States, Norway, Equatorial Guinea, Angola and Canada. Principal development activities are in the United States, the United Kingdom, Norway,...

7 |Sysco
Sysco Corporation is the global leader in marketing and distributing food products to restaurants, healthcare and educational facilities, hotels and inns, and other foodservice and hospitality businesses...

8 Enterprise Products Partners 80
9 Plains All American Pipeline
Plains All American Pipeline
Plains All American Pipeline is a publicly traded Master Limited Partnership in the oil pipeline transportation, marketing, and storage business in the United States, LPG business in Canada, and Natural Gas Storage business in Michigan and Louisiana...

14 Halliburton
Halliburton is the world's second largest oilfield services corporation with operations in more than 70 countries. It has hundreds of subsidiaries, affiliates, branches, brands and divisions worldwide and employs over 50,000 people....

17 Baker Hughes
Baker Hughes
Baker Hughes Baker Hughes provides the world's oil & gas industry with products and services for drilling, formation evaluation, completion, production and reservoir consulting. Baker Hughes operates in over 90 countries worldwide mainly based in countries with a mature petroleum industry as is...

19 Waste Management
Waste management
Waste management is the collection, transport, processing or disposal,managing and monitoring of waste materials. The term usually relates to materials produced by human activity, and the process is generally undertaken to reduce their effect on health, the environment or aesthetics...

20 National Oilwell Varco
National Oilwell Varco
National Oilwell Varco is a multinational corporation based in Greater Sharpstown, Houston, Texas, which manufactures land-based and offshore oil drilling rigs as well as all the major mechanical components for such rigs...

23 Apache Corporation
Apache Corporation
Apache Corporation is an American independent oil and gas corporation. It is headquartered in 1 Post Oak Central in the Uptown district of Houston, Texas....

25 |KBR 242
29 CenterPoint Energy
CenterPoint Energy
CenterPoint Energy is a Fortune 500 electric and natural gas utility serving several markets in the U.S. states of Arkansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas. It was formerly known as Reliant Energy , NorAm Energy, Houston Industries, and HL&P...

32 Kinder Morgan
Kinder Morgan
Kinder Morgan, Inc. is an American energy company. It is also, through a subsidiary, the general partner of and owner of many of the interests in Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, a publicly traded pipeline and terminal limited partnership....

34 Enbridge Energy Partners 309
35 Calpine
Calpine Corporation is a Fortune 500 power company founded in 1984 in San Jose, California.Calpine's headquarters were permanently moved from San Jose to Houston, Texas in 2009. The company's stock was traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol CPN until it was delisted on December 5,...

38 Cameron International 375
39 EOG Resources
EOG Resources
EOG Resources is a Fortune 500 company with its headquarters in the Heritage Plaza building in downtown Houston, Texas. The company is one of the largest independent oil and natural gas companies in the United States with proven reserves in the United States, Canada, Trinidad and Tobago, the United...

41 Frontier Oil
Frontier Oil
Frontier Oil , begun in 1949 as Wainoco Oil, is a U.S. energy company. Its headquarters are located in Houston, TX, and its subsidiary company, Frontier Refining & Marketing, Inc., is located in Denver, CO...

44 |Group 1 Automotive
Group 1 Automotive
Group 1 Automotive, Inc. is a Fortune 500 company, founded in 1997. It has its headquarters in the One Memorial City Plaza building in the Memorial City district of Houston, Texas....

45 Targa Resources
Targa Resources
Targa Resources is a Fortune 1000 company based in Houston, Texas. Targa, a midstream energy corporation, is one of the largest providers of natural gas in the United States. Their operations are based largely, though not entirely, on the Gulf Coast, particularly in Texas and Louisiana . Rene R....

46 Spectra Energy
Spectra Energy
Spectra Energy Corp is a S&P 500 company headquartered in Houston, Texas, that operates in three key areas of the natural gas industry: transmission and storage, distribution, and gathering and processing. Spectra was formed in late 2006 from the spin-off from Duke Energy...

48 El Paso Energy 481
Revenues for year ending 2010
Energy and oil (19 companies)
Source: Fortune
Fortune (magazine)
Fortune is a global business magazine published by Time Inc. Founded by Henry Luce in 1930, the publishing business, consisting of Time, Life, Fortune, and Sports Illustrated, grew to become Time Warner. In turn, AOL grew as it acquired Time Warner in 2000 when Time Warner was the world's largest...

Houston is home to more than 10,700 manufacturing
Manufacturing is the use of machines, tools and labor to produce goods for use or sale. The term may refer to a range of human activity, from handicraft to high tech, but is most commonly applied to industrial production, in which raw materials are transformed into finished goods on a large scale...

 establishments. The city ranked as a Gold Medal World-Class Community for Manufacturing for four consecutive years by Industry Week magazine. The Houston-Gulf Coast region has nearly 40 percent of the U.S. capacity for base petrochemicals, ensuring rapid access to major resin
Resin in the most specific use of the term is a hydrocarbon secretion of many plants, particularly coniferous trees. Resins are valued for their chemical properties and associated uses, such as the production of varnishes, adhesives, and food glazing agents; as an important source of raw materials...

 producers and resin technologies.
Houston is projected to experience a 2.7 percent increase in manufacturing employment by 2012. Metals manufacturing is a $12.0 billion industry in Houston, with nearly 2,100 establishments employing more than 67,000 workers in the region. Approximately 250 establishments employ more than 20,000 people in Houston’s electronics
Electronics is the branch of science, engineering and technology that deals with electrical circuits involving active electrical components such as vacuum tubes, transistors, diodes and integrated circuits, and associated passive interconnection technologies...

 manufacturing industries. Hewlett Packard employs more people in its Houston operations than any other HP facility in the world.


Houston is known as a world capital of the oil
An oil is any substance that is liquid at ambient temperatures and does not mix with water but may mix with other oils and organic solvents. This general definition includes vegetable oils, volatile essential oils, petrochemical oils, and synthetic oils....

 and gas
Gas is one of the three classical states of matter . Near absolute zero, a substance exists as a solid. As heat is added to this substance it melts into a liquid at its melting point , boils into a gas at its boiling point, and if heated high enough would enter a plasma state in which the electrons...

 industry with over 5000 energy firms doing business in the region. Historically, Houston has had several growth spurts (and some devastating economic recession
In economics, a recession is a business cycle contraction, a general slowdown in economic activity. During recessions, many macroeconomic indicators vary in a similar way...

s) related to the oil industry. The discovery of oil near Houston in 1901 led to its first growth spurt — by the 1920s, Houston had grown to almost 140,000 people. The city is a leading domestic and international center for virtually every segment of the oil and gas industry - exploration, production, transmission, marketing, service, supply, offshore drilling
Offshore drilling
Offshore drilling refers to a mechanical process where a wellbore is drilled through the seabed. It is typically carried out in order to explore for and subsequently produce hydrocarbons which lie in rock formations beneath the seabed...

, and technology. Houston dominates U.S. oil and gas exploration and production. The city remains unrivaled as a center for the American energy industry. In January 2005, the Houston Primary Metropolitan Statistical Areas (PMSA) accounted for: 31% of all U.S. jobs in oil and gas extraction (38,300 of 123,400), and 14% of all U.S. jobs in support activities for mining (28,100 of 200,900). Houston is headquarters for 17 energy-related Fortune 500 companies and is home to more than 3,600 energy-related establishments. Houston is home to 13 of the nation’s 20 largest natural gas
Natural gas
Natural gas is a naturally occurring gas mixture consisting primarily of methane, typically with 0–20% higher hydrocarbons . It is found associated with other hydrocarbon fuel, in coal beds, as methane clathrates, and is an important fuel source and a major feedstock for fertilizers.Most natural...

 transmission companies, 600 exploration
Exploration is the act of searching or traveling around a terrain for the purpose of discovery of resources or information. Exploration occurs in all non-sessile animal species, including humans...

 and production firms and more than 170 pipeline operators.

The Offshore Technology Conference
Offshore Technology Conference
Offshore Technology Conference is an important conference and exhibition focused on the development of offshore energy resources, primarily oil and natural gas. It was started in 1969 and is held annually during the first week of May at Reliant Park in Houston, Texas, USA.OTC is the largest oil...

 held yearly in Houston presents the latest exploration and development technology in the energy industry to more than 50,000 attendees.

Houston is a member of the World Energy Cities Partnership, a collaboration between 13 energy focused cities around the world.

Mining which includes mostly oil and gas exploration
Exploration is the act of searching or traveling around a terrain for the purpose of discovery of resources or information. Exploration occurs in all non-sessile animal species, including humans...

 and production in Houston accounts for 11 percent the region's GAP—down from 21 percent as recently as 1985. The reduced role of oil and gas in Houston's GAP reflects the rapid growth of other sectors—such as engineering
Engineering is the discipline, art, skill and profession of acquiring and applying scientific, mathematical, economic, social, and practical knowledge, in order to design and build structures, machines, devices, systems, materials and processes that safely realize improvements to the lives of...

 services, health services, and manufacturing
Manufacturing is the use of machines, tools and labor to produce goods for use or sale. The term may refer to a range of human activity, from handicraft to high tech, but is most commonly applied to industrial production, in which raw materials are transformed into finished goods on a large scale...

. Oil and gas exploration and production, however, has increased in reaction to high energy prices and a reduced worldwide surplus oil
An oil is any substance that is liquid at ambient temperatures and does not mix with water but may mix with other oils and organic solvents. This general definition includes vegetable oils, volatile essential oils, petrochemical oils, and synthetic oils....

 production capacity.

Members of the oil and gas industry are representatives of most of the boards of Houston's arts bodies, charities, and museums. The energy companies spent funds in order to make Houston a more attractive community for their employees to live in.


Houston is one of the world’s largest manufacturing centers for petrochemical
Petrochemicals are chemical products derived from petroleum. Some chemical compounds made from petroleum are also obtained from other fossil fuels, such as coal or natural gas, or renewable sources such as corn or sugar cane....

s, and the $15 billion petrochemical complex at the Houston Ship Channel is the largest in the country. Supporting the industry is a complex of several thousand miles of pipeline
Pipeline transport
Pipeline transport is the transportation of goods through a pipe. Most commonly, liquids and gases are sent, but pneumatic tubes that transport solid capsules using compressed air are also used....

 connecting 200 chemical plants, refinery, salt domes and fractionation
See also: Fractionated spacecraftFractionation is a separation process in which a certain quantity of a mixture is divided up in a number of smaller quantities in which the composition changes according to a gradient. Fractions are collected based on differences in a specific property of the...

 plants along the Texas Gulf Coast, which allows transfer of feedstocks, fuel and chemical products among plants, storage terminals and transportation facilities. Houston has more than 400 chemical manufacturing establishments with more than 35,000 employees. Houston has two of four largest U.S. refineries. ExxonMobil
Exxon Mobil Corporation or ExxonMobil, is an American multinational oil and gas corporation. It is a direct descendant of John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil company, and was formed on November 30, 1999, by the merger of Exxon and Mobil. Its headquarters are in Irving, Texas...

’s complex in Baytown is one of the oldest in the area and one of the largest of its kind in the world

More than 235 establishments in the Houston metro area manufacture plastic
A plastic material is any of a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic organic solids used in the manufacture of industrial products. Plastics are typically polymers of high molecular mass, and may contain other substances to improve performance and/or reduce production costs...

 and rubber
Natural rubber, also called India rubber or caoutchouc, is an elastomer that was originally derived from latex, a milky colloid produced by some plants. The plants would be ‘tapped’, that is, an incision made into the bark of the tree and the sticky, milk colored latex sap collected and refined...

 products. Houston dominates the U.S. production of three major resins: polyethylene
Polyethylene or polythene is the most widely used plastic, with an annual production of approximately 80 million metric tons...

 (38.7% of U.S. capacity); polyvinyl chloride
Polyvinyl chloride
Polyvinyl chloride, commonly abbreviated PVC, is a thermoplastic polymer. It is a vinyl polymer constructed of repeating vinyl groups having one hydrogen replaced by chloride. Polyvinyl chloride is the third most widely produced plastic, after polyethylene and polypropylene. PVC is widely used in...

 (35.9% of U.S. capacity) and polypropylene
Polypropylene , also known as polypropene, is a thermoplastic polymer used in a wide variety of applications including packaging, textiles , stationery, plastic parts and reusable containers of various types, laboratory equipment, loudspeakers, automotive components, and polymer banknotes...

 (48.4% of U.S. capacity).


Houston is home to the Johnson Space Center, NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

’s largest research and development facility, employing nearly 3,000 federal civil service workers and more than 14,000 contract personnel. Program offices for Project Constellation
Project Constellation
Constellation Program is a human spaceflight program within NASA, the space agency of the United States. The stated goals of the program were to gain significant experience in operating away from Earth's environment, develop technologies needed for opening the space frontier, and conduct...

, Orion
Orion (spacecraft)
Orion is a spacecraft designed by Lockheed Martin for NASA, the space agency of the United States. Orion development began in 2005 as part of the Constellation program, where Orion would fulfill the function of a Crew Exploration Vehicle....

 and other new space vehicle projects will create new jobs at the center. The city's burgeoning aerospace industry heralded its second growth spurt, which solidified with the 1973 oil crisis
1973 oil crisis
The 1973 oil crisis started in October 1973, when the members of Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries or the OAPEC proclaimed an oil embargo. This was "in response to the U.S. decision to re-supply the Israeli military" during the Yom Kippur war. It lasted until March 1974. With the...

. The majority of the contractor work force related to the projects will also be located at the center. Texas Governor Rick Perry
Rick Perry
James Richard "Rick" Perry is the 47th and current Governor of Texas. A Republican, Perry was elected Lieutenant Governor of Texas in 1998 and assumed the governorship in December 2000 when then-governor George W. Bush resigned to become President of the United States. Perry was elected to full...

 recently announced a $7.5 million Texas Enterprise Fund
Texas Enterprise Fund
The Texas Enterprise Fund is a business incentive fund that was created by legislation in 2003. The fund, which had an initial $295 million investment, is used for ensuring the growth of business in Texas...

 (TEF) grant to Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin is an American global aerospace, defense, security, and advanced technology company with worldwide interests. It was formed by the merger of Lockheed Corporation with Martin Marietta in March 1995. It is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, in the Washington Metropolitan Area....

, which will bring about 1,000 jobs to the Houston area. The grant ensures that Lockheed Martin will create these jobs in the Houston area after they earned a multi-billion dollar contract from NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

 to build the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle. Houston is also home to the United Space Alliance
United Space Alliance
United Space Alliance is a spaceflight operations company. USA is a joint venture which was established in August 1995 as a Limited Liability Company , equally owned by Boeing and Lockheed Martin. The company is headquartered in Houston, Texas and, employed approximately 8,800 people in Texas,...

, which employs well over 10,000 people.


Much of Houston's success as a petrochemical
Petrochemicals are chemical products derived from petroleum. Some chemical compounds made from petroleum are also obtained from other fossil fuels, such as coal or natural gas, or renewable sources such as corn or sugar cane....

 complex is due to its busy man-made ship channel, the Port of Houston
Port of Houston
The Port of Houston is a port in Houston—the fourth-largest city in the United States. The Port is a 25-mile-long complex of diversified public and private facilities located a few hours' sailing time from the Gulf of Mexico...

. The port ranks first in the country in international commerce and is the sixth-largest port in the world. Amid other U.S. ports, it is the busiest in foreign tonnage and second in overall tonnage. Because of these economic trades, many residents have moved to Houston from other U.S. states, as well as hundreds of countries worldwide.
The coffee companies of Houston formed the Greater Houston Coffee Association in fall 2000. The industry then tried to make Houston a major coffee shipping port. Coffee sold through futures contracts may only be shipped to a New York Board of Trade
New York Board of Trade
The New York Board of Trade , renamed ICE Futures US in September of 2007, is a wholly owned subsidiary of IntercontinentalExchange . It is a physical commodity futures exchange located in New York City. It originated in 1870 as the New York Cotton Exchange...

-certified port, and Texas's ad valorem tax on warehouse inventories made it impossible for Houston to get such a certification. The tax was written into the Constitution of Texas, so the Greater Houston Coffee Association asked State Representative Joe E. Moreno and State Senator Mario Gallegos to present a constitutional amendment bill to exempt cocoa and coffee stored in Harris County
Harris County, Texas
As of the 2010 Census, the population of the county was 4,092,459, White Americans made up 56.6% of Harris County's population; non-Hispanic whites represented 33.0% of the population. Black Americans made up 18.9% of the population. Native Americans made up 0.7% of Harris County's population...

 warehouses from the tax. Voters approved the amendment in 2001. Since then Houston's role as a coffee port increased. After Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was a powerful Atlantic hurricane. It is the costliest natural disaster, as well as one of the five deadliest hurricanes, in the history of the United States. Among recorded Atlantic hurricanes, it was the sixth strongest overall...

 hit New Orleans, much of the traffic switched to Houston.

Demand on Texas oil increased, and many people from the northeast moved to Houston to profit from the trade. Pasadena
Pasadena, Texas
Pasadena is a city in the U.S. state of Texas within the metropolitan area. It is the second-largest city in Harris County, 17th-largest in Texas, and 162nd largest in the United States. The area was founded in 1893 by John H. Burnett of Galveston....

 has refineries, and the Port of Houston is among the busiest in the world. Since the 1980s oil bust, the Houston area aimed to diversify its industries.

Health care and biomedical

The Texas Medical Center
Texas Medical Center
The Texas Medical Center is the largest medical center in the world with one of the highest densities of clinical facilities for patient care, basic science, and translational research...

 is the city's healthcare and biotechnology
Biotechnology is a field of applied biology that involves the use of living organisms and bioprocesses in engineering, technology, medicine and other fields requiring bioproducts. Biotechnology also utilizes these products for manufacturing purpose...

 focal point with $3.5 billion committed to research
Research can be defined as the scientific search for knowledge, or as any systematic investigation, to establish novel facts, solve new or existing problems, prove new ideas, or develop new theories, usually using a scientific method...

 grants from 2000 through 2004, more than 43 member institutions, 5.2 million patient
A patient is any recipient of healthcare services. The patient is most often ill or injured and in need of treatment by a physician, advanced practice registered nurse, veterinarian, or other health care provider....

 visits in 2004. More than 65,000 health care professionals work there every day, treating more than five million patients from all over the world every year. The UT Research Park, a joint venture between The University of Texas M.D. Anderson and the UT Health Science Center at Houston, is located in the Medical Center. When fully developed, the UT Research Park will be made up of nearly 2 million square feet (180,000 m²) of research, lab, office and support space for private companies and not-for-profit research institutions. The venture will be focused on biotechnology and life sciences research. Baylor College of Medicine
Baylor College of Medicine
Baylor College of Medicine, located in the Texas Medical Center in Houston, Texas, USA, is a highly regarded medical school and leading center for biomedical research and clinical care...

 is home to the Human Genome Sequencing Center
Human Genome Sequencing Center
The Baylor College of Medicine Human Genome Sequencing Center was established by Richard A. Gibbs in 1996 when BCM was chosen as one of six worldwide sites to complete the final phase of the International Human Genome Project...

, one of only five in the nation.

According to U.S. News and World Report, many hospitals in Houston consistently rank among the nation’s top healthcare institutions.

Higher education

The University of Houston System
University of Houston System
The University of Houston System is a state university system in Texas, encompassing four separate and distinct universities. It has two system centers, which operate as and distance learning course delivery sites for its universities...

's annual impact on the Houston-area's economy equates to that of a major corporation: $1.1 billion in new funds attracted annually to the Houston area, $3.13 billion in total economic benefit, and 24,000 local jobs generated. This is in addition to the 12,500 new graduates the UH System produces every year who enter the workforce in Houston and throughout Texas. These degree-holders tend to stay in Houston. After five years, 80.5 percent of graduates are still living and working in the region.


Around 2006 Taiwanese people
Taiwanese people
Taiwanese people may refer to individuals who either claim or are imputed cultural identity focused on the island of Taiwan and/or Taiwan Area which have been governed by the Republic of China since 1945...

 became owners of several independent and small chain hotels in the Houston area. In December 2006 C.Y. Ling, the director of the commercial division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Houston
Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Houston
Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Houston is the Republic of China's diplomatic facility in Houston, Texas, United States. The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office is on the 20th Floor in 11 Greenway Plaza...

, said that Taiwanese owned more hotels than any other ethnic group except for the Indians
Non-resident Indian and Person of Indian Origin
A Non-Resident Indian is an Indian citizen who has migrated to another country, a person of Indian origin who is born outside India, or a person of Indian origin who resides permanently outside India. Other terms with the same meaning are overseas Indian and expatriate Indian...

. The Houston Bay Area and Galveston also have many tourist attractions, including a Schlitterbahn
Schlitterbahn is a family-owned and operated company based in New Braunfels, Texas, USA. Schlitterbahn began its first park, Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort, in 1979. Since then Schlitterbahn has developed three waterparks located in Texas and one in Kansas City, Kansas.Schlitterbahn Waterparks are...

 Water Park, NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

 and the Johnson Space Center, Kemah Boardwalk
Kemah Boardwalk
The Kemah Boardwalk is a hotel and restaurant destination in Kemah, Texas, USA. The main attractions of the complex, which opened in 2001, are its many restaurants overlooking Galveston Bay. The area was developed by Landry's Restaurants, which owns all of the restaurants on the boardwalk...

, Moody Gardens
Moody Gardens
Moody Gardens is a tourist complex in Galveston, Texas. It is owned, through a complex agreement, by the City of Galveston but funded, operated, and supported by the multi-billion dollar Moody Foundation....

, beaches, fishing, pleasure boats, and many local seafood restaurants. There is also plan to build a new theme park, dubbed Earth Quest Adventures
Earth Quest Adventures
Earth Quest Adventures is a resort located in New Caney, Texas, approximately north of Houston that is scheduled to open to the public in 2013 or 2014. Contour Entertainment is the resort's master planner and lead designer. The planned resort will include a theme park as well as a water park,...

, in the New Caney area of East Montgomery County. Just 25 miles northeast of Downtown Houston
Downtown Houston
Downtown Houston is the largest business district of Houston, Texas, United States. Downtown Houston, the city's central business district, contains the headquarters of many prominent companies. There is an extensive network of pedestrian tunnels and skywalks connecting the buildings of the district...

. The Houston Museum District
Houston Museum District
The Houston Museum District commonly known as, “The Museum District,” is an association of museums, galleries, cultural centers and community organizations located in Houston, Texas, dedicated to promoting the arts, sciences, and cultural amenities of the area.The Houston Museum District currently...

, Houston Theater District
Houston Theater District
The Houston Theater District, a 17-block area in the heart of Downtown Houston, Texas, United States, is home to Houston's nine performing arts organizations, the Bayou Place entertainment complex, restaurants, movies, plazas and parks...

 in Downtown, and The Galleria are also heavily visited tourist attractions.


In 1980, a year of strong economic activity and robust competition in the grocery market, prices in Houston's grocery stores were below the national average prices in grocery stores. Houston's grocery price index averaged at 85.6, below the national average of 88.4. This means that, for the 1982-1984 base period, Houstonians paid $88.40 for an amount of food that would cost $100 according to the national average. During the oil bust and the economic decline, Houston's prices stayed even with the national average. In 1983 Houston's grocery index increased from 96.8 to 99.4 and matched the national average of 99.1. As the city began to recover, the prices began to edge upward. When a recession in the U.S. began and while Houston's economic growth slowed and continued, the national price index fell below Houston's price index. As of 1992 prices in Houston's grocery stores were higher than the national average; Houston's index averaged to be 137.3, and the national average was 132.3.

Nic Santangelo, an analyst of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a department of the U.S. Department of Labor that composes the monthly consumer price index, said in 1992 "We have a difficult time explaining why Houston food prices go one way, Dallas another,a and the nation yet another." A person quoted in the Houston Post
Houston Post
The Houston Post was a newspaper that had its headquarters in Houston, Texas, United States. In 1995, the newspaper was absorbed into the Houston Chronicle.-History:The newspaper was established on February 19, 1880, by Gail Borden Johnson...

described as an industry insider said that when companies in the Houston grocery market left, the surviving competitors "got comfortable" and raised prices. Tammy Bobon, a director of public affairs for AppleTree Markets
AppleTree Markets
AppleTree Markets was a supermarket chain in Texas formed in 1969 when Safeway opened its first stores in Houston, which were spun off under the AppleTree name in 1988. The division once had 100 stores in Greater Houston and Greater Austin. As of January 21, 2007, AppleTree operated two stores in...

, said that the Houston grocery market had remained competitive for the entire period.

As of 2007, the largest grocers in the Houston market are Wal-Mart
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. , branded as Walmart since 2008 and Wal-Mart before then, is an American public multinational corporation that runs chains of large discount department stores and warehouse stores. The company is the world's 18th largest public corporation, according to the Forbes Global 2000...

, Kroger
The Kroger Co. is an American supermarket chain founded by Bernard Kroger in 1883 in Cincinnati, Ohio. It reported US$ 76.7 billion in sales during fiscal year 2009. It is the country's largest grocery store chain and its second-largest grocery retailer by volume and second-place general retailer...

, H-E-B
HEB Grocery Company, LP is a privately held San Antonio, Texas-based supermarket chain with more than 315 stores throughout Texas and northern Mexico. The company also operates Central Market, an upscale organic and fine foods retailer.H-E-B ranked No...

, Safeway Inc.
Safeway Inc.
Safeway Inc. , a Fortune 500 company, is North America's second largest supermarket chain after The Kroger Co., with, as of December 2010, 1,694 stores located throughout the western and central United States and western Canada. It also operates some stores in the Mid-Atlantic region of the Eastern...

 (as Randalls Food Markets), Grocers Supply Company (as Fiesta Mart
Fiesta Mart
Fiesta Mart Inc. is an American supermarket chain based in Houston, Texas that was established in 1972. Fiesta Mart operates stores in Texas, including the Houston, Dallas/Fort Worth, Austin, and Waco areas. The chain uses a cartoon parrot as a mascot...

), Target
Target Corporation
Target Corporation, doing business as Target, is an American retailing company headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It is the second-largest discount retailer in the United States, behind Walmart. The company is ranked at number 33 on the Fortune 500 and is a component of the Standard & Poor's...

, Lewis Food Town
Lewis Food Town
Lewis Food Town, Inc., doing business as Food Town Grocery Stores, is a chain of grocery stores located in Greater Houston, founded in 1994. The headquarters are in South Houston. Ross Lewis founded it as he came out of retirement...

, Gerlands Food Fair, Brookshire Brothers
Brookshire Brothers
Brookshire Brothers Grocery is a supermarket retailer headquartered in Lufkin, Texas.Brookshire Brothers operates 70 stores under the names Brookshire Brothers and B&B Foods, and seven stand-alone pharmacies in a market area covering Texas and Louisiana...

, and Sellers Bros.
Sellers Bros.
Sellers Bros. is a chain of grocery stores based in Houston, Texas, United States.The company was formed in 1921, and its officers are George R. Sellers, Joseph L. Sellers and John L. Sellers....


Houston is the tenth largest television market in the United States. While Houston is the fourth largest city in the United States, other cities that are smaller than Houston have metropolitan areas that are larger than Houston's.
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