The Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown Metropolitan Area, a title designated by the U.S. Census as of 2003, is the seventh largest and most diverse metropolitan area in the United States and consists of ten counties within the state of Texas.
Its former title was Houston–Galveston–Brazoria. The area is colloquially referred to as either the “Houston metropolitan area” or the “greater Houston area” and is situated in the region of East Texas.
The Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown metropolital statistical area (MSA) has a population of 5.2 million as of the 2004 U.S. Census estimate. The metropolitan area is comprised of ten counties, centering in Houston. Houston was named a “Gamma World City” by the Globalization and World Cities Study Group & Network (GaWC).Houston is the largest city within the state of Texas, fourth in the United States, and the second-largest economic area of the Gulf Coast region. The city is the county seat of Harris County, the third most populous county in the country. A portion of southwest Houston extends into Fort Bend County and a small portion in the northeast extends into Montgomery County.
Founded in 1836 by John Kirby Allen and Augustus Chapman Allen, Houston is one of the fastest growing major cities in the United States and the largest without zoning laws. In 1900, Houston’s population was about 45,000, making it the 85th largest city in the United States. As of the 2000 U.S. Census, the city had a total population of 1.9 million (though a July 1, 2004 U.S. Census estimate placed the city’s population at more than 2 million). Houston is the main cultural and economic center of the Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown Metropolitan Area, which is the seventh largest metropolitan area in the United States with a population of about 5.2 million in ten counties.
Houston is world renowned for its energy (particularly oil) and aeronautics industries and for its ship channel. The Port of Houston is one of the busiest ports in the United States and second in the world in foreign tonnage. Second only to New York City in Fortune 500 headquarters, Houston is home to the Texas Medical Center — the world’s largest and most important concentration of research and healthcare institutions. Houston has much to offer, including the lowest cost of living and the least-expensive housing among 27 major U.S. metropolitan areas with populations of more than 1.7 million.
Houston was named a “Gamma World City” (Gloabal City) by the Globalization and World Cities Study Group & Network (GaWC).
Officially, Houston has been nicknamed the Space City as it is home to the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, home of the Mission Control Center (referred to by space missions as simply “Houston”). The city offers a wide range of business, entertainment and cultural opportunities, including a respected and thriving theater district. Less than an hour from the Gulf of Mexico, Houston is close to sunny beaches, one of the United States’ largest concentrations of pleasure boats and tourist attractions such as the Kemah Boardwalk and Galveston Island.