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Study Finds Great Disparity Between Houston Districts

A new report from Rice University says that when it comes to affordable housing in Houston, half of the Bayou City's council districts do not meet the conventional standards.



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The report from Rice’s Shell Center for Sustainability, looked at some two dozen social, economic and environmental indicators in 11 council districts that meet the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Lester King is author of the report, Sustainable Development of Houston Districts: The Health of the City.

“At the city level, I found that the average Houstonian was pretty much paying 30 percent of their income on housing, which is not bad. Because the threshold, actually we’re on the brink. You should not be spending more than a third of your income on housing costs. However, we also are spending 16 percent of our income on transportation. And so, when you add those two together, almost half of our income goes into affordability.”

When considering location, like property in and out of the inner loop, or property with or without a pristine view, Houston is flat.

I found there was a great disparity between districts in the city. In terms of proximity, I think we have some socio-cultural issues and other barriers that might prevent for instance, folks from wanting to see the 3rd Ward or the 5th Ward as pristine property, or as really competitive and attractive property, based on their proximity to downtown, for instance.”

Based on 2010 data collected from the U.S. Census Bureau and input from the city, academic institutions and nonprofits, the report found 44-percent of Houston’s population Hispanic, 26 percent White and 23-percent African-American. King says household income is often dictated on where you live.

“The average income for folks in District B was $28,000 dollars approximately in 2010, comparing that to the average household income in District G, which was $72,000 dollars. So that’s twice the amount of income per household. And so yes, we have a lot of growth on the East side, but the income, poverty levels [and] unemployment rates are not on par with the average for the city.”

Based on the last 30 years of growth, Houston’s population, estimated at 2.1 million residents in 2010, is projected to increase an average 30,000 people a year.