For the past 31 years, Dr. Stephen Klineberg at Rice University has been studying Houstonians. He started when Houston was a predominantly white, oil boom town in the 1980’s, through the oil bust, and onward through our gradual diversification of people and business.
If you are not familiar with the study, trust me that it will appeal to your inner geek. Of course, I make no bones about being a geek and wait with anticipation for the release of the study each year. I have utilized the results and findings of this annual survey in my business life which essentially parallels the years of the study.
This year, we safely declare that Houston has the most diverse population of any city in the United States, including New York. Our population is truly a mixed bag reflection of the changing demographics of the U.S. It seems that survey respondents are proud of this diversity and are ever more optimistic about it versus earlier antagonistic attitudes.
One statistic that fascinated me is that more people want to move into the city and the denser areas versus live in the suburbs. Accompanying this change in attitude is the fact that only 1/3 of Americans have a child under 18 under their roof.
This is also reflected in changing attitudes about mass transit. More respondents favor mass transit alternatives than driving. However, when asked if they ever utilized mass transit, few respondents did. The largest majority indicated that they did not but would like to if it were more accessible.
Overall, this year’s findings reflect a slight increase in optimism over the last few years of economic challenge.
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