Will Houston Surpass Chicago (Here’s Why)

Houston, Texas, is one of the American cities that saw a significant rise in population during the last 10 years. The city is full of attractions that keep the original residents and attract others to move and settle. Still, how does Houston fare against markedly more populated cities like Chicago? Will Houston surpass Chicago?

Houston will surpass Chicago at one point. It’s no longer a matter of ‘if’ it happens; it’s ‘when’ it happens. In today’s article, we’ll explain why Houston is on its way to beating Chicago on the growth board. Additionally, we’ll also look at some statistics so we can have an idea about ‘when’ will Houston surpass Chicago.

Houston Downtown Skyscrapers In A Circle With Mirror Blue Sky Reflection - Texas News, Places, Food, Recreation, And Life.
Houston Downtown Skyscrapers In A Circle With Mirror Blue Sky Reflection - Texas News, Places, Food, Recreation, And Life.

Houston vs Chicago: Current Population

As of 2021, Chicago’s population is around 2.7 million. Houston, on the other hand, is still around 2.3 million. With around 400,000 extra residents in Chicago, Houston isn’t expected to surpass Chicago in a year or two.

But what about projecting these numbers ahead? To have an idea, we’ll need both cities’ population growth rates. Groups of population, whether in a city, country, or even a continent are often subjected to a factor named population growth rate.

Unlike the actual number of people currently living in a place, population growth rates calculate how fast a population grows within a certain community.

In other words, properly answering whether Houston will surpass Chicago or not depends on knowing their growth rates. So let’s talk numbers.

Houston vs Chicago: Growth Rate

The table below will describe the difference in growth rate between Chicago and Houston in the past five years. This should give us an idea of whether Houston will surpass Chicago or not.

YearChicagoHouston
20170.36%2.62%
20180.35%2.62%
2019-0.02%2.13%
20200.03%2.02%
20210.14%1.88%
Chicago and Houston population growth rate (2018–2022)

As you can see, 2021 marked the least population growth rate in Houston (1.88%). However, this is still much higher than the highest Chicago growth rate (0.36%) in 2018.

These percentage numbers might seem low or irrelevant. Let’s apply that percentage to the current population to give you a better picture.

In 2021, the 0.14% of Chicago’s 2.7 million population translated to 3,780 people. On the other hand, Houston’s 1.88% of its 2.3 million population translates into 43,240 people. That’s around 40,000 more people added to Houston’s population compared to Chicago in 2021 alone.

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So, the statistics add up. Houston will indeed surpass Chicago at one point in terms of population. But when?

When Will Houston Surpass Chicago?

Even when projecting the numbers for years ahead, it’s difficult to pinpoint an accurate time because of various probable reasons. However, if Houston maintains its current average population growth of around 40,000 people over Chicago, it should surpass Chicago within 8–10 years.

Many reasons could increase or decrease that waiting time, but Houston seems on its guaranteed way to surpassing Chicago. But why, though?

Why Will Houston Surpass Chicago?

Houston has so many reasons that make it a favorite city in the United States. Some of these reasons include:

1. Cultural Diversity

A city with cultural diversity will be a lot more appealing for outsiders to move in than a city dominated by a certain ethnicity. Houston houses many cultures to the point that it gets confusing to tourists. Here are the numbers:

  • White 23.69%
  • Native Americans 0.16%
  • African Americans 22.11%
  • Pacific Islanders 0.04%
  • Multiracial 2.34%
  • Latinos 43.97%
  • Other races 0.52%

With such diversity, then you’re guaranteed to find people with similar cultures in Houston regardless of where you come from.

2. No State Income Tax

Texas doesn’t have an individual income tax, which makes saving some money a bit easier. This applies to all of its cities.

The sales tax may still be relatively high at 8.25%, but the cost of living, in general, is fairly more affordable than in major U.S. cities like New York or Chicago, for example.

3. Industrial and Professional Opportunities

When you move to a different city, you’ll either seek work opportunities or simply seek pleasure. Houston is one of those few cities that offer both.

Besides being a city with various activities to do, Houston is a fantastic place to start fresh or invest your hard-earned money.

Houston is a pioneer in the oil and gas industry. With over 5000 energy corporations, there are many work opportunities for those who look hard enough.

4. Excellent Education

Houston has some of the best-rated schools in the state. Married people who intend to bring up their children in Houston won’t have to worry about a questionable quality of education.

While private education can be a little pricey, public schools are still more than enough.

Houston Overtaking Chicago FAQs

Why is Houston booming?

Houston has many attractive elements like oil, health care, education, work opportunities, and affordability. The city doesn’t excel in a certain category but offers an overall life experience that most people can manage through.

Why are so many moving to Houston?

Houston has impressive job opportunities, zero individual tax, warm weather, and an affordable cost of living. This makes it more appealing than many other cities.

Is Houston bigger than Chicago?

Judging from a land area perspective, Houston covers around 665 square miles, which is almost 3 times larger than Chicago’s 234.5 square miles.

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Is Houston among the biggest growing American cities?

Houston, Texas is currently the 5th fastest-growing city in the United States. The top spot goes to Austin, which is also a Texan city.

Is Houston growing or shrinking?

Between 2020 and 2021, Houston lost approximately 12,000 of its residents. However, the city is still considered growing since the people it gained are more than the people it lost.

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