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City Population Growth a Warning we need to Change Course

The U.S. Census just released the population estimates for 2018 and listed the fifteen fastest growing cities. The good news is that five of the fifteen were in Texas. The bad news is that Houston was not one of them. The small town of Frisco, Texas outside of Dallas gained more population than Houston last year.

This is the second year in a row that the U.S. Census annual report has shown Houston’s population nearly flat. This year, it estimated that the City grew by 8,057 residents, a .3% increase. That is on par with last year’s 7,694, but well below the growth prior to 2016.

While population growth in the city of Houston has stalled, regional growth continued at a healthy 1.3% pace with almost 92,000 new residents, ranking third in the nation in the number of residents added last year. The regional population came within a hair of crossing the 7-million threshold. It is sobering that more than 90% of those who decided to make the region their home last year chose to live outside the City.

The Turner administration will undoubtedly attempt to blame the City’s sluggish growth on Harvey. But the data does not support that conclusion. First, the survey estimates the population as of July 1 each year. Therefore, the decline in 2016 and 2017 occurred before Harvey. If there was a Harvey effect it should have shown up in the 2018 estimate. Yet the City’s 2018 estimate changed little from the previous year. And Harvey was a regional event. If it was a brake on growth, it should have also retarded the region’s population growth which certainly is not reflected in the data.

I watched the Greater Houston Partnership’s State of the City event last week and heard Mayor Turner proclaim that Houston is a “growing and dynamic city.” There’s no question that we are a dynamic city, but why aren’t we growing anymore? I believe the answer can be found at City Hall and its lack of attention to what is important. Even after Harvey and a series of damaging floods, city leaders continue to neglect our infrastructure, while continuing to foster an environment of corruption and dividing our police and firefighters. If we continue on this path, then Houston’s best days will be behind us. If you feel, as I do, that Houston’s best days are still ahead of us – that we can stop the corruption, fix the potholes, improve public safety, decrease flooding and unite our first responders – then I ask that you join our campaign to Clean Up City Hall and get our city Back to Basics.

We need a change in direction and leadership in November. No more empty slogans. No more aspirational sounding programs with no substance. No more prioritization of a personal political and patronage agenda over good public policy.

If that is the kind of change you would like to see in our City, join my campaign.