Houston ( (listen) HEW-stən) is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Texas, fourth-most populous city in the United States, most populous city in the Southern United States, as well as the sixth-most populous in North America, with a population of 2,304,580 in 2020. Located in Southeast Texas near Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, it is the seat of Harris County and the principal city of the Greater Houston metropolitan area, which is the fifth-most populous metropolitan statistical area in the United States. Houston is the southeast anchor of the greater megaregion known as the Texas Triangle.Comprising a total area of 637.4 square miles (1,651 km2), Houston is the ninth-most expansive city in the United States (including consolidated city-counties). It is the largest city in the United States by total area, whose government is not consolidated with a county, parish, or borough. Though primarily in Harris County, small portions of the city extend into Fort Bend and Montgomery counties, bordering other principal communities of Greater Houston such as Sugar Land and The Woodlands. The city of Houston was founded by land investors on August 30, 1836, at the confluence of Buffalo Bayou and White Oak Bayou (a point now known as Allen's Landing) and incorporated as a city on June 5, 1837. The city is named after former General Sam Houston, who was president of the Republic of Texas and had won Texas's independence from Mexico at the Battle of San Jacinto 25 miles (40 km) east of Allen's Landing. After briefly serving as the capital of the Texas Republic in the late 1830s, Houston grew steadily into a regional trading center for the remainder of the 19th century.The arrival of the 20th century brought a convergence of economic factors that fueled rapid growth in Houston, including a burgeoning port and railroad industry, the decline of Galveston as Texas's primary port following a devastating 1900 hurricane, the subsequent construction of the Houston Ship Channel, and the Texas oil boom. In the mid-20th century, Houston's economy diversified, as it became home to the Texas Medical Center—the world's largest concentration of healthcare and research institutions—and NASA's Johnson Space Center, home to the Mission Control Center. Since the late 19th century Houston's economy has had a broad industrial base, in energy, manufacturing, aeronautics, and transportation. Leading in healthcare sectors and building oilfield equipment, Houston has the second-most Fortune 500 headquarters of any U.S. municipality within its city limits (after New York City). The Port of Houston ranks first in the United States in international waterborne tonnage handled and second in total cargo tonnage handled.Nicknamed the "Bayou City", "Space City", "H-Town", and "the 713", Houston has become a global city, with strengths in culture, medicine, and research. The city has a population from various ethnic and religious backgrounds and a large and growing international community. Houston is the most diverse metropolitan area in Texas and has been described as the most racially and ethnically diverse major metropolis in the U.S. It is home to many cultural institutions and exhibits, which attract more than seven million visitors a year to the Museum District. The Museum District is home to nineteen museums, galleries, and community spaces. Houston has an active visual and performing arts scene in the Theater District, and offers year-round resident companies in all major performing arts.
Pearland ( PAIR-land) is a city in the U.S. state of Texas, within Brazoria County, with portions extending into Fort Bend and Harris counties. The city of Pearland is a principal city within the Houston–The Woodlands–Sugar Land metropolitan statistical area. At the 2010 U.S. census, the city's population was 91,252, up from a population of 37,640 at the 2000 census. Pearland's population growth rate from 2000 to 2010 was 142 percent, which ranked Pearland as the 15th-fastest-growing city in the U.S. during that time period, compared to other cities with a population of 10,000 or greater in 2000. Pearland is the third-largest city in the Greater Houston area, and from 2000 to 2010, ranked as the fastest-growing city in Greater Houston and the second-fastest-growing city in Texas. Per the American Community Survey of 2019 the population had risen to an estimated 131,448.
Alvin is a city in the U.S. state of Texas within the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land metropolitan area and Brazoria County. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, the city population was 24,236. Alvin's claim to fame is Baseball Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan, who moved with his family to the city in 1947 as an infant and lived there until he moved to Round Rock in 2003. The Nolan Ryan Museum is in the Nolan Ryan Foundation and Exhibit Center on the campus of Alvin Community College.
The Galveston Bay Area, also known as Bay Area Houston or simply the Bay Area, is a region that surrounds the Galveston Bay estuary of Southeast Texas in the United States, within Houston–The Woodlands–Sugar Land metropolitan area. Normally the term refers to the mainland communities around the bay and excludes Galveston as well as most of Houston. Originally part of the pirate kingdom of Jean Lafitte, this area played a role in the early history of Texas having been the site of some early rebellions against Mexican rule and the site of the victory of the Texas army over the Mexican army during the Texas Revolution. Ranching interests became early economic drivers around the bay. As the nearby cities of Galveston and Houston developed as commercial centers, the Bay Area communities became part of a principal commercial corridor between the cities. The Bay Area is also the location of NASA's Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center which houses the Christopher C. Kraft Jr. Mission Control Center. The City of Houston's official nickname as "Space City" is derived from this. In addition, a large tourist attraction for area visitors is Space Center Houston. The landscape around the bay features a mix of swamps, beaches, industrial facilities, tourist attractions, and historic sites. The area's developing population is ethnically diverse with a growing international community. The communities host cultural events ranging from ballet and musical theater to fairs and rodeos. The bay itself supports a commercial fishing industry and features one of the highest concentrations of marinas in the nation. On land the area holds numerous historic sites such as the San Jacinto Monument, and many parks and nature preserves such as the Armand Bayou Nature Center.