Eleven Reasons to Move to Houston
In 2016, Houston was the second fastest growing city in the nation, and people don’t flock to cities that don’t have a strong job market. Houston is home to 26 Fortune 500 companies (more than any city except New York), and was on Forbes’s list of Best Cities for Jobs in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. Despite the a recent slump in the oil industry, the Houston metropolitan area gained more than 13,000 jobs last year, an increase of .4 percent. One reason for this growth is Houston’s diverse economy. Though it’s still an oil and energy hub, there are booming industries in biotechnology, informational technology, aerospace, healthcare and hospitality.
Houston is home to some of the best healthcare facilities in the nation, including The Texas Medical Center, the largest medical facility in the world. TMC houses 54 medical institutions, including 21 hospitals and four medical schools. TMC performs more heart surgeries than anywhere else on earth. Also in Houston is the world-renowned University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, a comprehensive cancer facility that treats more than 100,000 patients per year.
Aside from oil and gas, Houston may be best known for a famous line from the film Apollo 13, “Houston, we have a problem.” That’s because Houston has been the home of National Aeronautic and Space Administration’s (NASA) Mission Control for over half a century. Founded as the Manned Spacecraft Center in 1961, the facility was later renamed the Johnson Space Center to honor former President (and Texan) Lyndon Baines Johnson. The JSC’s Mission Control Centre has managed every crewed flight since 1965, including Apollo 11’s historic moon landing on July 20, 1969. With sports teams named The Astros and The Rockets, NASA’s influence on Houston culture is self-evident. It’s also helped established a booming aerospace and aviation industry in Houston, with more than 150 other aviation companies located there.
4. Cost of Living/Affordable Housing
With a median salary of more than $66,000, Houston is one of the highest paying cities in the nation. You’ll also get more bang for your buck in Houston, making it more appealing than some Northern California cities, which have high paying job opportunities but a higher cost of living. Houston didn’t experience a housing bubble burst the way the rest of the country did, and one of the city’s main draws is its affordable housing, both for renters and potential buyers. The median home price in Houston is currently just over 300,000, a far cry from San Francisco’s median home price of $1,146,800.
Houston also has a competitive electricity rates, which supplies the city’s residents with affordable energy options, such as Direct Energy‘s Free Power 100, which provides the most free electricity supply on weekends, when you are home and more likely to be doing your high usage activities, like laundry, cooking, or running the dishwasher. Signing up for a plan like this one is a simple way to help keep your bills manageable. We also like the rewards you can earn, like bill credits for referring friends (did we mention there’s no limit on the number of referrals), and Plenti points that can be used for gas at Exxon, among other partners like Macy’s and AT&T.
5. Social Scene
Job abundance and affordable housing attracts a younger crowd. That’s probably one reason Houston’s median age is 33. The younger crowd is also likely attracted to the city’s vibrant social scene. Houston hosts six major league sports teams: the Astros, the Texans, the Rockets, the Dynamo, the Dash and the Scrap Yard Dogs. The city also has three premier arenas — Minute Maid Park, the Toyota Center and NRG Stadium — that attract musicians, comedians and entertainers from around the world. Houston also has a world-class restaurant scene. The New York Times even called Houston “one of the country’s most exciting places to eat.”
In most cities, residents have to choose between two energy companies if they’re lucky enough to have any choice at all. Not so in Houston. Thanks to the states laws on energy regulation, Houston residents can choose between a handful of energy companies. Not only does this allow for competitive rates and added incentives, but Houstonians can select the best energy company to suit their specific needs. To help customers use less energy, Direct Energy has their usage insights tool, Direct Your Energy, which breaks down energy usage by day, even by appliance. It takes your bill beyond that old bar graph so you can actually understand how you use energy in your home, and then take the steps to use less. Bounce Energy was founded in Houston by a group of local entrepreneurs, and also offers great electricity rates and terrific service for Houstonians in the know.
And finally, First Choice Power is one to check out if you want to pay for electricity as you go. Their no deposit, no credit check Power-to-Go plan lets customer pre-pay for electricity and get notices when it’s time to refill.
7. Zoning Laws
If you’ve visited Houston, you may have noticed a strip mall containing an eclectic mix of businesses. That’s because Houston is the only major city in the nation without zoning laws. Though some says this contributes to the city’s urban sprawl, it also makes Houston even more welcoming to new businesses.
From the Holocaust Museum to the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, Bayou City is home to many world-class museums and cultural landmarks. Houston’s Museum District is comprised of 19 institutions within a very walkable 1.5 mile radius, including the Houston Museum of Natural Science, the Rothko Chapel, the Children’s Museum of Houston, the Lawndale Art Center and the Menil Collection. Houston residents will always have an enlightening activity for a Saturday afternoon and a place to take visiting guests of all ages.
Despite being one of the largest urban areas in the nation, Houston has an abundance of green space. The city is home to more than 50,000 acres of parkland, more than any other major American city. Established in 1899, downtown’s Sam Houston Park is the oldest in town. It houses the Heritage Society’s museum and the homes of some of the city’s earliest residents. But the city’s most celebrated parks in town are Memorial Park and Hermann Park. The former is located just inside of Loop 610, between the Memorial and River Oaks neighborhoods. With winding trails and many fields, Memorial Park tends to attract the most active of Houstonians. With the Japanese Garden, the Miller Theater, the train and the reflection pool, Hermann Park (which is located near the Museum District) attracts Houstonians of all kinds.
Houston recently passed New York City as the most racially and culturally diverse city in the United States. According to census data, roughly 400,000 foreign-born residents moved to Houston between 2000 and 2010. Houston’s anglo population is at around 40%. The city has nearly as many Latinos as it does Anglos, and there is a growing Asian population. Not only does this provide for a diversity of thought and experience, but it gives Houston a remarkable range of ethnic cuisines. The city is well known for it’s Vietnamese Cuisine, but it also has delicious Mexican food and it’s proximity to Louisiana makes it one of the best places to get Cajun food in Texas.
11. The People
If there is one thing Houstonians lack, it’s not southern charm. Named one of the “Most Caring Cities in America” in 2016, Houstonians love to give back. Which is why it is no surprise they have a plethora of volunteer programs that range from youth engagement to veteran outreach to even disaster response preparedness. Houston makes giving back easy with program’s like Direct Energy’s Give Brighter 12 plan, which sends solar powered lights to developing countries without electricity at no additional cost.
So, whether you are looking for a new job, into vibrant social scenes, or looking to live greener with the help of Direct Energy Houston has you covered.