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Schnelles Thai-Curry mit Huhn, Paprika und feiner Erdnussnote

Arbeitszeit: ca. 30 Min. / Koch-/Backzeit: ca. 25 Min. / Schwierigkeitsgrad: nor
mal / Kalorien p. P.: ca. 890 kcal
Fleisch mit je 1 EL l, Sojasauce und dem Ingwer gut vermischen und ca. 30 Minuten
marinieren. In der Zwischenzeit Gemse putzen und schneiden. Fleisch in einer bes
chichteten Pfanne anbraten und zur Seite stellen.
Im Wok oder einer groen Pfanne mit hohem Rand die Currypaste in 1 EL l anrsten. Die
Erdnussbutter unterrhren und schmelzen lassen. Mit Kokosmilch ablschen, das Gemse
zugeben und alles ca. 15 Minuten kcheln lassen.
In der Zwischenzeit den Reis zubereiten und ausdmpfen lassen.
Kurz vor Ende der Garzeit (das Gemse soll noch Biss haben) das Fleisch dazugeben
und kurz erhitzen. Mit Palmzucker, Fischsauce (notfalls etwas Salz nehmen) und Z
itronengraspaste (soll nicht mitkochen) abschmecken. Nach Belieben Thai-Basiliku
m darberstreuen und mit Reis servieren.
Die Zusammenstellung des Gemses kann man ganz nach Geschmack und Verfgbarkeit vari
ieren/ergnzen, z.B. fein geschnittene Wasserkastanien fr noch mehr Biss, ein paar
kleine Brokkolirschen oder einige Zuckerschoten (diagonal geteilt, kurz blanchier
t oder angebraten) als zustzlichen Farbtupfer. Es sollten (geputzt und geschnitte
n gemessen) insgesamt ca. 4 - 5 Handvoll Gemse sein.
Zitronengraspaste ist geriebenes, in etwas Pflanzenl eingelegtes Zitronengras. Da
s angebrochene Glas am besten im Tiefkhlfach aufbewahren.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For chickens as food, see Chicken (food). For the broader species of which chick
ens form a subspecies, see Red junglefowl. For other uses, see Chicken (disambig
uation), Chooks (disambiguation), or Red junglefowl.
Female pair.jpg
A rooster (left) and hen (right)
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Class: Aves
Order: Galliformes
Genus: Gallus
G. gallus
G. g. domesticus
Trinomial name
Gallus gallus domesticus
(Linnaeus, 1758)
The chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus) is a domesticated fowl, a subspecies of t
he red junglefowl. As one of the most common and widespread domestic animals, wi
th a population of more than 24 billion in 2003,[1] there are more chickens in t
he world than any other species of bird. Humans keep chickens primarily as a sou

rce of food, consuming both their meat and their eggs.

The earliest known domestication occurred in Northern China 8,000 BCE determined
from archaeological chicken bones.[2] Previously genetic studies have pointed t
o multiple maternal origins in Southeast, East, and South Asia, but with the cla
de found in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Africa originating in the
Indian subcontinent. From India, the domesticated chicken was imported to Lydia
in western Asia Minor, and to Greece by the fifth century BC.[3] Fowl had been k
nown in Egypt since the mid-15th century BC, with the "bird that gives birth eve
ry day" having come to Egypt from the land between Syria and Shinar, Babylonia,
according to the annals of Thutmose III.[4][5][6]
1 Terminology
2 General biology and habitat
2.1 Behaviour
2.1.1 Social behaviour
2.1.2 Courtship
2.1.3 Nesting and laying behaviour
2.1.4 Broodiness
2.1.5 Hatching and early life
2.2 Embryology
3 Breeding
3.1 Origins
3.1.1 South America
4 Farming
4.1 Reared for meat
4.2 Reared for eggs
4.2.1 Artificial incubation
5 As pets
6 Diseases and ailments
7 In religion and mythology
8 In history
9 As food
9.1 Eggs
10 See also
11 References
12 Further reading
13 External links
In the UK and Ireland adult male chickens over the age of one year are primarily
known as cocks, whereas in America, Australia and Canada they are more commonly
called roosters. Males less than a year old are cockerels.[7] Castrated rooster
s are called capons (surgical and chemical castration are now illegal in some pa
rts of the world). Females over a year old are known as hens and younger females
as pullets[8] although in the egg-laying industry, a pullet becomes a hen when
she begins to lay eggs at 16 to 20 weeks of age. In Australia and New Zealand (a
lso sometimes in Britain), there is a generic term chook /'t??k/ to describe all
ages and both sexes.[9] The young are called chicks and the meat is called chic
"Chicken" originally referred to chicks, not the species itself.[citation needed
] The species as a whole was then called domestic fowl, or just fowl. This use o
f "chicken" survives in the phrase "Hen and Chickens", sometimes used as a Briti
sh public house or theatre name, and to name groups of one large and many small
rocks or islands in the sea (see for example Hen and Chicken Islands). The word
"chicken" is sometimes erroneously construed to mean females exclusively, despit

e the term "hen" for females being in wide circulation.

In the Deep South of the United States chickens are also referred to by the slan
g term yardbird.[10]
General biology and habitat
In some breeds the adult rooster can be distinguished from the hen by his larger
Chickens are omnivores.[11] In the wild, they often scratch at the soil to searc
h for seeds, insects and even larger animals such as lizards, small snakes or yo
ung mice.[12]
Chickens may live for five to ten years, depending on the breed.[13] The world's
oldest chicken, a hen, died of heart failure at the age of 16 according to Guin
ness World Records.[14]
Roosters can usually be differentiated from hens by their striking plumage of lo
ng flowing tails and shiny, pointed feathers on their necks (hackles) and backs
(saddle), which are typically of brighter, bolder colours than those of females
of the same breed. However, in some breeds, such as the Sebright chicken, the ro
oster has only slightly pointed neck feathers, the same colour as the hen's. The
identification can be made by looking at the comb, or eventually from the devel
opment of spurs on the male's legs (in a few breeds and in certain hybrids, the
male and female chicks may be differentiated by colour). Adult chickens have a f
leshy crest on their heads called a comb, or cockscomb, and hanging flaps of ski
n either side under their beaks called wattles. Collectively, these and other fl
eshy protuberances on the head and throat are called caruncles. Both the adult m
ale and female have wattles and combs, but in most breeds these are more promine
nt in males. A muff or beard is a mutation found in several chicken breeds which
causes extra feathering under the chicken's face, giving the appearance of a be
ard. Domestic chickens are not capable of long distance flight, although lighter
birds are generally capable of flying for short distances, such as over fences
or into trees (where they would naturally roost). Chickens may occasionally fly
briefly to explore their surroundings, but generally do so only to flee perceive
d danger.
Hen with chicks, India
Social behaviour
Chickens are gregarious birds and live together in flocks. They have a communal
approach to the incubation of eggs and raising of young. Individual chickens in
a flock will dominate others, establishing a "pecking order", with dominant indi
viduals having priority for food access and nesting locations. Removing hens or
roosters from a flock causes a temporary disruption to this social order until a
new pecking order is established. Adding hens, especially younger birds, to an
existing flock can lead to fighting and injury.[15] When a rooster finds food, h
e may call other chickens to eat first. He does this by clucking in a high pitch
as well as picking up and dropping the food. This behaviour may also be observe
d in mother hens to call their chicks and encourage them to eat.
A rooster's crowing (a loud and sometimes shrill call) is a territorial signal t
o other roosters. However, crowing may also result from sudden disturbances with
in their surroundings. Hens cluck loudly after laying an egg, and also to call t
heir chicks. Chickens also give a low "warning call" when they think they see a
predator approaching.
To initiate courting, some roosters may dance in a circle around or near a hen (
"a circle dance"), often lowering his wing which is closest to the hen.[16] The
dance triggers a response in the hen[16] and when she responds to his "call", th

e rooster may mount the hen and proceed with the mating.
Nesting and laying behaviour
Chicken eggs vary in colour depending on the hen, typically ranging from bright
white to shades of brown and even blue, green, and recently reported purple (fou
nd in South Asia) (Araucana varieties).
Chicks before their first outing
Hens will often try to lay in nests that already contain eggs and have been know
n to move eggs from neighbouring nests into their own. The result of this behavi
our is that a flock will use only a few preferred locations, rather than having
a different nest for every bird. Hens will often express a preference to lay in
the same location. It is not unknown for two (or more) hens to try to share the
same nest at the same time. If the nest is small, or one of the hens is particul
arly determined, this may result in chickens trying to lay on top of each other.
There is evidence that individual hens prefer to be either solitary or gregario
us nesters.[17] Some farmers use fake eggs made from plastic or stone (or golf b
alls) to encourage hens to lay in a particular location.
Under natural conditions, most birds lay only until a clutch is complete, and th
ey will then incubate all the eggs. Many domestic hens will also do this and are t
hen said to "go broody". The broody hen will stop laying and instead will focus
on the incubation of the eggs (a full clutch is usually about 12 eggs). She will
"sit" or "set" on the nest, protesting or pecking in defense if disturbed or re
moved, and she will rarely leave the nest to eat, drink, or dust-bathe. While br
ooding, the hen maintains the nest at a constant temperature and humidity, as we
ll as turning the eggs regularly during the first part of the incubation. To sti
mulate broodiness, an owner may place many artificial eggs in the nest, or to st
op it they may place the hen in an elevated cage with an open wire floor.
Skull of a three-week-old chicken. Here the opisthotic bone appears in the occip
ital region, as in the adult Chelonian. bo = Basi-occipital, bt = Basi-temporal,
eo = Opisthotic, f = Frontal, fm = Foramen magnum, fo = Fontanella, oc = Occipi
tal condyle, op = Opisthotic, p = Parietal, pf = Post-frontal, sc = Sinus canal
in supra-occipital, so = Supra-occpital, sq = Squamosal, 8 = Exit of vagus nerve
Modern egg-laying breeds rarely go broody, and those that do often stop part-way
through the incubation. However, some "utility" (general purpose) breeds, such
as the Cochin, Cornish and Silkie, do regularly go broody, and they make excelle
nt mothers, not only for chicken eggs but also for those of other species even tho
se with much smaller or larger eggs and different incubation periods, such as qu
ail, pheasants, turkeys or geese. Chicken eggs can also be hatched under a brood
y duck, with varied success.
Hatching and early life
At the end of the incubation period (about 21 days),[16] the eggs, if fertile, w
ill hatch. Development of the egg starts only when incubation begins, so they al
l hatch within a day or two of each other, despite perhaps being laid over a per
iod of two weeks or so. Before hatching, the hen can hear the chicks peeping ins
ide the eggs, and will gently cluck to stimulate them to break out of their shel
ls. The chick begins by "pipping"; pecking a breathing hole with its egg tooth t
owards the blunt end of the egg, usually on the upper side. The chick will then
rest for some hours, absorbing the remaining egg yolk and withdrawing the blood
supply from the membrane beneath the shell (used earlier for breathing through t
he shell). It then enlarges the hole, gradually turning round as it goes, and ev
entually severing the blunt end of the shell completely to make a lid. It crawls
out of the remaining shell, and its wet down dries out in the warmth of the nes
The hen will usually stay on the nest for about two days after the first egg hat

ches, and during this time the newly hatched chicks live off the egg yolk they a
bsorb just before hatching. Any eggs not fertilized by a rooster will not hatch,
and the hen eventually loses interest in these and leaves the nest. After hatch
ing, the hen fiercely guards the chicks, and will brood them when necessary to k
eep them warm, at first often returning to the nest at night. She leads them to
food and water; she will call them to edible items, but seldom feeds them direct
ly. She continues to care for them until they are several weeks old, when she wi
ll gradually lose interest and eventually start to lay again.
File:Embryo.ogvPlay media
Earliest gestation stages and blood circulation of a chicken embryo
In 2006, scientists researching the ancestry of birds "turned on" a chicken rece
ssive gene, talpid2, and found that the embryo jaws initiated formation of teeth
, like those found in ancient bird fossils. John Fallon, the overseer of the pro
ject, stated that chickens have "...retained the ability to make teeth, under ce
rtain conditions... ."[18]
This article contains too many or too-lengthy quotations for an encyclop
edic entry. Please help improve the article by editing it to take facts from exc
essively quoted material and rewrite them as sourced original prose. Consider tr
ansferring direct quotations to Wikiquote. (December 2014)
Male red junglefowl.
The domestic chicken is descended primarily from the red junglefowl (Gallus gall
us) and is scientifically classified as the same species.[19] As such it can and
does freely interbreed with populations of red jungle fowl.[19] Recent genetic
analysis has revealed that at least the gene for yellow skin was incorporated in
to domestic birds through hybridization with the grey junglefowl (G. sonneratii)
.[20] The traditional poultry farming view is stated in Encyclopdia Britannica (2
007): "Humans first domesticated chickens of Indian origin for the purpose of co
ckfighting in Asia, Africa, and Europe. Very little formal attention was given t
o egg or meat production... ", a view supported by many archeologists. In the la
st decade there have been a number of genetic studies. According to one study, a
single domestication event occurring in the region of modern Thailand created t
he modern chicken with minor transitions separating the modern breeds.[21] Howev
er, that study was later found to be based on incomplete data, and recent studie
s point to multiple maternal origins, with the clade found in the Americas, Euro
pe, Middle East, and Africa, originating from the Indian subcontinent, where a l
arge number of unique haplotypes occur.[22][23] It is postulated that the jungle
fowl, known as the "bamboo fowl" in many Southeast Asian languages, is a specia
l pheasant well adapted to take advantage of the large amounts of fruits that ar
e produced during the end of the 50-year bamboo seeding cycle to boost its own r
eproduction.[24] In domesticating the chicken, humans took advantage of this pro
lific reproduction of the jungle fowl when exposed to large amounts of food.[25]
It has been claimed (based on paleoclimatic assumptions) that chickens were dome
sticated in Southern China in 6000 BC.[26] However, according to a recent study,
[27] "it is not known whether these birds made much contribution to the modern d
omestic fowl. Chickens from the Harappan culture of the Indus Valley (2500-2100
BC), in what today is Pakistan, may have been the main source of diffusion throu
ghout the world." A northern road spread the chicken to the Tarim basin of centr
al Asia. The chicken reached Europe (Romania, Turkey, Greece, Ukraine) about 300
0 BC.[28] Introduction into Western Europe came far later, about the 1st millenn
ium BC. Phoenicians spread chickens along the Mediterranean coasts, to Iberia. B
reeding increased under the Roman Empire, and was reduced in the Middle Ages.[28
] Middle East traces of chicken go back to a little earlier than 2000 BC, in Syr
ia; chicken went southward only in the 1st millennium BC. The chicken reached Eg
ypt for purposes of cock fighting about 1400 BC, and became widely bred only in

Ptolemaic Egypt (about 300 BC).[28] Little is known about the chicken's introduc
tion into Africa. Three possible routes of introduction in about the early first
millennium AD could have been through the Egyptian Nile Valley, the East Africa
Roman-Greek or Indian trade, or from Carthage and the Berbers, across the Sahar
a. The earliest known remains are from Mali, Nubia, East Coast, and South Africa
and date back to the middle of the first millennium AD.[28] Domestic chicken in
the Americas before Western conquest is still an ongoing discussion, but blue-e
gged chickens, found only in the Americas and Asia, suggest an Asian origin for
early American chickens.[28]
A lack of data from Thailand, Russia, the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia an
d Sub-Saharan Africa makes it difficult to lay out a clear map of the spread of
chickens in these areas; better description and genetic analysis of local breeds
threatened by extinction may also help with research into this area.[28]
South America
An unusual variety of chicken that has its origins in South America is the arauc
ana, bred in southern Chile by the Mapuche people. Araucanas, some of which are
tailless and some of which have tufts of feathers around their ears, lay blue-gr
een eggs. It has long been suggested that they pre-date the arrival of European
chickens brought by the Spanish and are evidence of pre-Columbian trans-Pacific
contacts between Asian or Pacific Oceanic peoples, particularly the Polynesians,
and South America. In 2007, an international team of researchers reported the r
esults of analysis of chicken bones found on the Arauco Peninsula in south-centr
al Chile. Radiocarbon dating suggested that the chickens were Pre-Columbian, and
DNA analysis showed that they were related to prehistoric populations of chicke
ns in Polynesia.[29] These results appeared to confirm that the chickens came fr
om Polynesia and that there were transpacific contacts between Polynesia and Sou
th America before Columbus's arrival in the Americas.[30]
However, a later report looking at the same specimens concluded:
A published, apparently pre-Columbian, Chilean specimen and six pre-European
Polynesian specimens also cluster with the same European/Indian subcontinental/
Southeast Asian sequences, providing no support for a Polynesian introduction of
chickens to South America. In contrast, sequences from two archaeological sites
on Easter Island group with an uncommon haplogroup from Indonesia, Japan, and C
hina and may represent a genetic signature of an early Polynesian dispersal. Mod
eling of the potential marine carbon contribution to the Chilean archaeological
specimen casts further doubt on claims for pre-Columbian chickens, and definitiv
e proof will require further analyses of ancient DNA sequences and radiocarbon a
nd stable isotope data from archaeological excavations within both Chile and Pol
Main article: Poultry farming
A former battery hen, five days after her release. Note the pale comb and missin
g feathers.
More than 50 billion chickens are reared annually as a source of food, for both
their meat and their eggs.[32][better source needed]
The vast majority of poultry are raised in factory farms. According to the World
watch Institute, 74 percent of the world's poultry meat and 68 percent of eggs a
re produced this way.[33] One alternative to intensive poultry farming is free r
ange farming.
Friction between these two main methods has led to long-term issues of ethical c
onsumerism. Opponents of intensive farming argue that it harms the environment,
creates human health risks and is inhumane. Advocates of intensive farming say t

hat their highly efficient systems save land and food resources owing to increas
ed productivity, and that the animals are looked after in state-of-the-art envir
onmentally controlled facilities.[citation needed]
In part due to the conditions on intensive poultry farms and recent recalls of l
arge quantities of eggs, there is a growing movement for small-scale micro-flock
s or 'backyard chickens'. This involves keeping small numbers of hens (usually n
o more than a dozen) in suburban or urban residential areas to control bugs, to
utilize chicken waste as fertilizer in small gardens, and of course for the high
-quality eggs and meat that are produced.
Reared for meat
Main article: Broiler
A commercial chicken house with open sides raising broiler pullets for meat
Chickens farmed for meat are called broiler chickens. Chickens will naturally li
ve for 6 or more years, but broiler chickens typically take less than 6 weeks to
reach slaughter size.[34] A free range or organic meat chicken will usually be
slaughtered at about 14 weeks of age.
Reared for eggs
Chickens farmed for eggs are called egg-laying hens. In total, the UK alone cons
umes over 29 million eggs per day. Some hens breeds can produce over 300 eggs pe
r year, with "the highest authenticated rate of egg laying being 371 eggs in 364
days".[35] After 12 months of laying, the commercial hen's egg-laying ability s
tarts to decline to the point where the flock is unviable. Hens, particularly fr
om battery cage systems, are sometimes infirm or have lost a significant amount
of their feathers, and their life expectancy has been reduced from around 7 year
s to less than 2 years.[36] In the UK and Europe, laying hens are then slaughter
ed and used in processed foods or sold as "soup hens".[36] In some other countri
es, flocks are sometimes force moulted, rather than being slaughtered, to reinvi
gorate egg-laying. This involves complete withdrawal of food (and sometimes wate
r) for 7 14 days[37] or sufficiently long to cause a body weight loss of 25 to 35%
,[38] or up to 28 days under experimental conditions.[39] This stimulates the he
n to lose her feathers, but also reinvigorates egg-production. Some flocks may b
e force moulted several times. In 2003, more than 75% of all flocks were moulted
in the US.[40]
Artificial incubation
An egg incubator
Incubation can successfully occur artificially in machines that provide the corr
ect, controlled environment for the developing chick.[41][42][43][44] The averag
e incubation period for chickens is 21 days but may depend on the temperature an
d humidity in the incubator. Temperature regulation is the most critical factor
for a successful hatch. Variations of more than 1 C (1.8 F) from the optimum tempe
rature of 37.5 C (99.5 F) will reduce hatch rates. Humidity is also important beca
use the rate at which eggs lose water by evaporation depends on the ambient rela
tive humidity. Evaporation can be assessed by candling, to view the size of the
air sac, or by measuring weight loss. Relative humidity should be increased to a
round 70% in the last three days of incubation to keep the membrane around the h
atching chick from drying out after the chick cracks the shell. Lower humidity i
s usual in the first 18 days to ensure adequate evaporation. The position of the
eggs in the incubator can also influence hatch rates. For best results, eggs sh
ould be placed with the pointed ends down and turned regularly (at least three t
imes per day) until one to three days before hatching. If the eggs aren't turned
, the embryo inside may stick to the shell and may hatch with physical defects.
Adequate ventilation is necessary to provide the embryo with oxygen. Older eggs
require increased ventilation.
Many commercial incubators are industrial-sized with shelves holding tens of tho
usands of eggs at a time, with rotation of the eggs a fully automated process. H

ome incubators are boxes holding from 6 to 75 eggs; they are usually electricall
y powered, but in the past some were heated with an oil or paraffin lamp.
As pets
Main article: Chickens as pets
Chickens are sometimes kept as pets and can be tamed by hand feeding, but rooste
rs can sometimes become aggressive and noisy, although aggression can be curbed
with proper handling. Some have advised against keeping them around very young c
hildren. Certain breeds, however, such as silkies and many bantam varieties are
generally docile and are often recommended as good pets around children with dis
abilities.[45] Some people find chickens' behaviour entertaining and educational
Diseases and ailments
Chickens are susceptible to several parasites, including lice, mites, ticks, fle
as, and intestinal worms, as well as other diseases. Despite the name, they are
not affected by chickenpox, which is generally restricted to humans.[47]
Some of the diseases that can affect chickens are shown below:
Common name
Avian influenza
bird flu
Histomoniasis blackhead disease
protozoal parasite
Cage layer fatigue
mineral deficiencies, lack of exercise
tissue injury in the gut
Crop bound
improper feeding
Dermanyssus gallinae
red mite
Egg bound
oversized egg
Fatty liver hemorrhagic syndrome
high-energy food
Fowl cholera
Fowl pox
Fowl typhoid
Gallid herpesvirus 1
or infectious laryngotracheitis
Syngamus trachea
Infectious bronchitis
Infectious bursal disease
Infectious coryza
Lymphoid leukosis
avian leukosis virus
Marek's disease
yeast infection
or thrush
bacteria-like organisms
Newcastle disease
Necrotic enteritis
mushy chick disease
umbilical cord stump
infection in abdomen from egg yolk
Scaly leg
Squamous cell carcinoma
Tibial dyschondroplasia
speed growing
protozoal parasite
Ulcerative enteritis
Ulcerative pododermatitis

In religion and mythology

Vatican Persian Cock
A 1919 print of a fabric square of a Persian cock or a Pers
ian bird design belonging to the Vatican (Holy See) in Rome dating to 600 CE. No
tice the halo denoting the status of being holy in that religious schema.
Since antiquity chickens have been, and still are, a sacred animal in some cultu
res[49] and deeply embedded within belief systems and religious worship. The ter
m "Persian bird" for the cock appears to been given by the Greeks after Persian
contact "because of his great importance and his religious use among the Persian
In Indonesia the chicken has great significance during the Hindu cremation cerem
ony. A chicken is considered a channel for evil spirits which may be present dur
ing the ceremony. A chicken is tethered by the leg and kept present at the cerem
ony for its duration to ensure that any evil spirits present go into the chicken
and not the family members. The chicken is then taken home and returns to its n
ormal life.
In ancient Greece, the chicken was not normally used for sacrifices, perhaps bec
ause it was still considered an exotic animal. Because of its valor, the cock is
found as an attribute of Ares, Heracles, and Athena. The alleged last words of
Socrates as he died from hemlock poisoning, as recounted by Plato, were "Crito,
I owe a cock to Asclepius; will you remember to pay the debt?", signifying that
death was a cure for the illness of life.
The Greeks believed that even lions were afraid of roosters. Several of Aesop's
Fables reference this belief.
In the New Testament, Jesus prophesied the betrayal by Peter: "Jesus answered, '
I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times tha
t you know me.'"[51] It happened,[52] and Peter cried bitterly. This made the ro
oster a symbol for both vigilance and betrayal.
Earlier, Jesus compares himself to a mother hen when talking about Jerusalem: "O
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, ho
w often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chi
cks under her wings, but you were not willing."[53]
In the sixth century, Pope Gregory I declared the rooster the emblem of Christia
nity[54] and another Papal enactment of the ninth century by Pope Nicholas I[49]
ordered the figure of the rooster to be placed on every church steeple.[55]
In many Central European folk tales, the devil is believed to flee at the first
crowing of a rooster.
In traditional Jewish practice, a kosher animal is swung around the head and the
n slaughtered on the afternoon before Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, in a rit
ual called kapparos; it is now common practice to cradle the bird and move it ar
ound the head. A chicken or fish is typically used because it is commonly availa
ble (and small enough to hold). The sacrifice of the animal is to receive atonem
ent, for the animal symbolically takes on all the person's sins in kapparos. The
meat is then donated to the poor. A woman brings a hen for the ceremony, while
a man brings a rooster. Although not a sacrifice in the biblical sense, the deat
h of the animal reminds the penitent sinner that his or her life is in God's han
The Talmud speaks of learning "courtesy toward one's mate" from the rooster.[56]
This might refer to the fact that when a rooster finds something good to eat, h
e calls his hens to eat first. The Talmud likewise provides us with the statemen
t "Had the Torah not been given to us, we would have learned modesty from cats,

honest toil from ants, chastity from doves and gallantry from cocks,"[57][58] wh
ich may be further understood as to that of the gallantry of cocks being taken i
n the context of a religious instilling vessel of "a girt one of the loins" (You
ng's Literal Translation) that which is "stately in his stride" and "move with s
tately bearing" in the Book of Proverbs 30:29-31 as referenced by Michael V. Fox
in his Proverbs 10-31 where Sa?adiah ben Yosef Gaon (Saadia Gaon) identifies th
e definitive trait of "A cock girded about the loins" in Proverbs 30:31 (Douay Rhe
ims Bible) as "the honesty of their behavior and their success",[59] identifying
a spiritual purpose of a religious vessel within that religious instilling sche
ma of purpose and use.
The chicken is one of the Zodiac symbols of the Chinese calendar. In Chinese fol
k religion, a cooked chicken as a religious offering is usually limited to ances
tor veneration and worship of village deities. Vegetarian deities such as the Bu
ddha are not recipients of such offerings. Under some observations, an offering
of chicken is presented with "serious" prayer (while roasted pork is offered dur
ing a joyous celebration). In Confucian Chinese weddings, a chicken can be used
as a substitute for one who is seriously ill or not available (e.g., sudden deat
h) to attend the ceremony. A red silk scarf is placed on the chicken's head and
a close relative of the absent bride/groom holds the chicken so the ceremony may
proceed. However, this practice is rare today.
A cockatrice was supposed to have been born from an egg laid by a rooster, as we
ll as killed by a rooster's call.
In history
The red junglefowl
An early domestication of chickens in Southeast Asia is probable, since the word
for domestic chicken (*manuk) is part of the reconstructed Proto-Austronesian l
anguage (see Austronesian languages). Chickens, together with dogs and pigs, wer
e the domestic animals of the Lapita culture,[60] the first Neolithic culture of
The first pictures of chickens in Europe are found on Corinthian pottery of the
7th century BC.[62][63] The poet Cratinus (mid-5th century BC, according to the
later Greek author Athenaeus) calls the chicken "the Persian alarm". In Aristoph
anes's comedy The Birds (414 BC) a chicken is called "the Median bird", which po
ints to an introduction from the East. Pictures of chickens are found on Greek r
ed figure and black-figure pottery.
In ancient Greece, chickens were still rare and were a rather prestigious food f
or symposia.[citation needed] Delos seems to have been a center of chicken breed
ing (Columella, De Re Rustica 8.3.4).
The Romans used chickens for oracles, both when flying ("ex avibus", Augury) and
when feeding ("auspicium ex tripudiis", Alectryomancy). The hen ("gallina") gav
e a favourable omen ("auspicium ratum"), when appearing from the left (Cic.,de D
iv. ii.26), like the crow and the owl.
For the oracle "ex tripudiis" according to Cicero (Cic. de Div. ii.34), any bird
could be used in auspice, and shows at one point that any bird could perform th
e tripudium[64] but normally only chickens ("pulli") were consulted. The chicken
s were cared for by the pullarius, who opened their cage and fed them pulses or
a special kind of soft cake when an augury was needed. If the chickens stayed in
their cage, made noises ("occinerent"), beat their wings or flew away, the omen
was bad; if they ate greedily, the omen was good.[65]
In 249 BC, the Roman general Publius Claudius Pulcher had his "sacred chickens"
"[66] thrown overboard when they refused to feed before the battle of Drepana, s
aying "If they won't eat, perhaps they will drink." He promptly lost the battle

against the Carthaginians and 93 Roman ships were sunk. Back in Rome, he was tri
ed for impiety and heavily fined.
In 162 BC, the Lex Faunia forbade fattening hens to conserve grain rations.[67][
68] To get around this, the Romans castrated roosters(capon), which resulted in
a doubling of size[69] despite the law that was passed in Rome that forbade the
consumption of fattened chickens. It was renewed a number of times, but does not
seem to have been successful. Fattening chickens with bread soaked in milk was
thought to give especially delicious results. The Roman gourmet Apicius offers 1
7 recipes for chicken, mainly boiled chicken with a sauce. All parts of the anim
al are used: the recipes include the stomach, liver, testicles and even the pygo
style (the fatty "tail" of the chicken where the tail feathers attach).
The Roman author Columella gives advice on chicken breeding in his eighth book o
f his treatise, De Re Rustica (On Agriculture). He identified Tanagrian, Rhodic,
Chalkidic and Median (commonly misidentified as Melian) breeds, which have an i
mpressive appearance, a quarrelsome nature and were used for cockfighting by the
Greeks (De Re Rustica 8.3.4). For farming, native (Roman) chickens are to be pr
eferred, or a cross between native hens and Greek cocks (De Re Rustica 8.2.13).
Dwarf chickens are nice to watch because of their size but have no other advanta
According to Columella (De Re Rustica 8.2.7), the ideal flock consists of 200 bi
rds, which can be supervised by one person if someone is watching for stray anim
als. White chickens should be avoided as they are not very fertile and are easil
y caught by eagles or goshawks. One cock should be kept for five hens. In the ca
se of Rhodian and Median cocks that are very heavy and therefore not much inclin
ed to sex, only three hens are kept per cock. The hens of heavy fowls are not mu
ch inclined to brood; therefore their eggs are best hatched by normal hens. A he
n can hatch no more than 15-23 eggs, depending on the time of year, and supervis
e no more than 30 hatchlings. Eggs that are long and pointed give more male, rou
nded eggs mainly female hatchlings (De Re Rustica 8.5.11).
Columella also states that chicken coops should face southeast and lie adjacent
to the kitchen, as smoke is beneficial for the animals and "poultry never thrive
so well as in warmth and smoke" (De Re Rustica 8.3.1).[70] Coops should consist
of three rooms and possess a hearth. Dry dust or ash should be provided for dus
According to Columella (De Re Rustica 8.4.1), chickens should be fed on barley g
roats, small chick-peas, millet and wheat bran, if they are cheap. Wheat itself
should be avoided as it is harmful to the birds. Boiled ryegrass (Lolium sp.) an
d the leaves and seeds of alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) can be used as well. Grap
e marc can be used, but only when the hens stop laying eggs, that is, about the
middle of November; otherwise eggs are small and few. When feeding grape marc, i
t should be supplemented with some bran. Hens start to lay eggs after the winter
solstice, in warm places around the first of January, in colder areas in the mi
ddle of February. Parboiled barley increases their fertility; this should be mix
ed with alfalfa leaves and seeds, or vetches or millet if alfalfa is not at hand
. Free-ranging chickens should receive two cups of barley daily.
Columella[citation needed] advises farmers to slaughter hens that are older than
three years, because they no longer produce sufficient eggs.
According to Aldrovandi: Capons were produced by burning "the hind part of the b
owels, or loins or spurs"[71] with a hot iron. The wound was treated with potter
's chalk.
For the use of poultry and eggs in the kitchens of ancient Rome see Roman eating
and drinking.

Chickens were spread by Polynesian seafarers and reached Easter Island in the 12
th century AD, where they were the only domestic animal, with the possible excep
tion of the Polynesian rat (Rattus exulans). They were housed in extremely solid
chicken coops built from stone, which was first reported as such to Linton Palm
er in 1868, who also "expressed his doubts about this".[72]
As food
Main article: Chicken (food)
The meat of the chicken, also called "chicken", is a type of poultry meat. Becau
se of its relatively low cost, chicken is one of the most used meats in the worl
d. Nearly all parts of the bird can be used for food, and the meat can be cooked
in many different ways. Popular chicken dishes include roasted chicken, fried c
hicken, chicken soup, Buffalo wings, tandoori chicken, butter chicken, and chick
en rice. Chicken is also a staple of many fast food restaurants.
Main articles: Egg (food) and List of egg dishes
In 2000, there were 50.4 million tons of eggs produced in the world (Executive g
uide to world poultry trends, 2001)[73] and an estimated 53.4 million tons of ta
ble eggs were produced during 2002.[74] In 2009, an estimated 62.1 million metri
c tons of eggs were produced worldwide from a total laying flock of approximatel
y 6.4 billion hens.[75]
Chicken eggs are widely used in many types of dishes, both sweet and savory, inc
luding many baked goods. Eggs can be scrambled, fried, hard-boiled, soft-boiled,
pickled, and poached. The albumen, or egg white, contains protein but little or
no fat, and can be used in cooking separately from the yolk. Egg whites may be
aerated or whipped to a light, fluffy consistency and are often used in desserts
such as meringues and mousse. Ground egg shells are sometimes used as a food ad
ditive to deliver calcium. Hens do not need a male to produce eggs, only to fert
ilize them. A flock containing only females will still produce eggs; however, th
e eggs will all be infertile.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Houston, Texas)
This article is about the U.S. city. For other uses, see Houston (disambiguation
Not to be confused with Houston County, Texas, which is located in another part
of the state.
Houston, Texas
City of Houston
Clockwise from top: Sam Houston monument, Downtown Houston, Houston Ship Channel
, The Galleria, University of Houston, and the Christopher C. Kraft Jr. Mission
Control Center.
Clockwise from top: Sam Houston monument, Downtown Houston, Houston Ship Channel
, The Galleria, University of Houston, and the Christopher C. Kraft Jr. Mission
Control Center.
Flag of Houston, Texas
Official seal of Houston, Texas
Nickname(s): Space City (OFFICIAL) more...
Location of Houston city limits in and around Harris County
Location of Houston city limits in and around Harris County
Houston, Texas is located in USA
Houston, Texas

Houston, Texas
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 2945'46?N 9522'59?WCoordinates: 2945'46?N 9522'59?W
United States
Harris, Fort Bend, Montgomery
June 5, 1837
Mayor council
Houston City Council
Annise Parker (D)
627.8 sq mi (1,625.2 km2)
634 sq mi (1,552.9 km2)
27.9 sq mi (72.3 km2)
10,062 sq mi (26,060 km2)
43 ft (13 m)
Population (2010)[2]
Estimate (2014)
US: 4th
3,662/sq mi (1,414/km2)
4,944,332 (7th U.S.)
6,313,158 (5th U.S.)
Time zone
Summer (DST)
Zip code
770XX, 772XX (P.O. Boxes)
Area code(s)
281, 346, 713, 832
FIPS code
GNIS feature ID
Houston (Listeni/'hju?st?n/ HYOO-st?n) is the most populous city in Texas and th
e American South, and the fourth most populous city in the United States. With a
census-estimated 2014 population of 2.239 million people[5] within a land area
of 599.6 square miles (1,553 km2),[6] it also is the largest city in the Souther
n United States,[7] as well as the seat of Harris County. It is the principal of
its metropolitan area Greater Houston, which is the fifth most populated metrop
olitan area in the United States.
Houston was founded in 1836 on land near the banks of Buffalo Bayou (now known a
s Allen's Landing)[8][9] and incorporated as a city on June 5, 1837. The city wa
s named after former General Sam Houston, who was president of the Republic of T
exas and had commanded and won at the Battle of San Jacinto 25 miles (40 km) eas
t of where the city was established. The burgeoning port and railroad industry,
combined with oil discovery in 1901, has induced continual surges in the city's
population. In the mid-twentieth century, Houston became the home of the Texas M
edical Center the world's largest concentration of healthcare and research institu
tions and NASA's Johnson Space Center, where the Mission Control Center is located
Houston's economy has a broad industrial base in energy, manufacturing, aeronaut
ics, and transportation. It is also leading in health care sectors and building
oilfield equipment; only New York City is home to more Fortune 500 headquarters
within its city limits.[11][12] The Port of Houston ranks first in the United St
ates in international waterborne tonnage handled and second in total cargo tonna
ge handled.[13] Nicknamed the Space City, Houston is a global city, with strengt
hs in business, international trade, entertainment, culture, media, fashion, sci
ence, sports, technology, education, medicine and research. The city has a popul

ation from various ethnic and religious backgrounds and a large and growing inte
rnational community. Houston is considered to be the most diverse city in Texas
and the United States.[14] It is home to many cultural institutions and exhibits
, which attract more than 7 million visitors a year to the Museum District. Hous
ton has an active visual and performing arts scene in the Theater District and o
ffers year-round resident companies in all major performing arts.[15]
1 History
2 Geography
2.1 Geology
2.2 Climate
2.3 Cityscape
2.4 Architecture
3 Demographics
4 Economy
5 Culture
5.1 Arts and theater
5.2 Tourism and recreation
6 Sports
7 Government and politics
7.1 Crime
8 Education
8.1 Colleges and universities
9 Media
10 Infrastructure
10.1 Healthcare
10.2 Transportation
10.2.1 Highways
10.2.2 Transit systems
10.2.3 Cycling
10.2.4 Airports
10.3 Pipelines
11 Sister cities
12 See also
13 Notes
14 References
15 Further reading
16 External links
Main article: History of Houston
See also: Historical events of Houston
Sam Houston
In August 1836, two real estate entrepreneurs Augustus Chapman Allen and John Kirb
y Allen from New York, purchased 6,642 acres (26.88 km2) of land along Buffalo Bay
ou with the intent of founding a city.[16] The Allen brothers decided to name th
e city after Sam Houston, the popular general at the Battle of San Jacinto,[16]
who was elected President of Texas in September 1836. The great majority of slav
es in Texas came with their owners from the older slave states. Sizable numbers,
however, came through the domestic slave trade. New Orleans was the center of t
his trade in the Deep South, but there were slave dealers in Houston. Thousands
of enslaved African-Americans lived near the city before the Civil War. Many of
them near the city worked on sugar and cotton plantations, while most of those i
n the city limits had domestic and artisan jobs. In 1860 forty-nine percent of t
he city's population was enslaved. A few slaves, perhaps as many as 2,000 betwee
n 1835 and 1865, came through the illegal African trade. Post-war Texas grew rap
idly as migrants poured into the cotton lands of the state. They also brought or

purchased enslaved African Americans, whose numbers nearly tripled in the state
from 1850 to 1860, from 58,000 to 182,566.
Houston was granted incorporation on June 5, 1837, with James S. Holman becoming
its first mayor.[17] In the same year, Houston became the county seat of Harris
burg County (now Harris County) and the temporary capital of the Republic of Tex
as.[18] In 1840, the community established a chamber of commerce in part to prom
ote shipping and waterborne business at the newly created port on Buffalo Bayou.
Houston, circa 1873
By 1860, Houston had emerged as a commercial and railroad hub for the export of
cotton.[18] Railroad spurs from the Texas inland converged in Houston, where the
y met rail lines to the ports of Galveston and Beaumont. During the American Civ
il War, Houston served as a headquarters for General John Bankhead Magruder, who
used the city as an organization point for the Battle of Galveston.[20] After t
he Civil War, Houston businessmen initiated efforts to widen the city's extensiv
e system of bayous so the city could accept more commerce between downtown and t
he nearby port of Galveston. By 1890, Houston was the railroad center of Texas.
Union Station, Houston, Texas (postcard, circa 1911)
In 1900, after Galveston was struck by a devastating hurricane, efforts to make
Houston into a viable deep-water port were accelerated.[21] The following year,
oil discovered at the Spindletop oil field near Beaumont prompted the developmen
t of the Texas petroleum industry.[22] In 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt app
roved a $1 million improvement project for the Houston Ship Channel. By 1910 the
city's population had reached 78,800, almost doubling from a decade before. Afr
ican-Americans formed a large part of the city's population, numbering 23,929 pe
ople, or nearly one-third of the residents.[23]
President Woodrow Wilson opened the deep-water Port of Houston in 1914, seven ye
ars after digging began. By 1930, Houston had become Texas' most populous city a
nd Harris the most populous county.[24] In 1940, the Census Bureau reported Hous
ton's population as 77.5% white and 22.4% black.[25]
Downtown Houston, circa 1927
When World War II started, tonnage levels at the port decreased and shipping act
ivities were suspended; however, the war did provide economic benefits for the c
ity. Petrochemical refineries and manufacturing plants were constructed along th
e ship channel because of the demand for petroleum and synthetic rubber products
by the defense industry during the war.[26] Ellington Field, initially built du
ring World War I, was revitalized as an advanced training center for bombardiers
and navigators.[27] The Brown Shipbuilding Company was founded in 1942 to build
ships for the U.S. Navy during World War II. Due to the boom in defense jobs, t
housands of new workers migrated to the city, both blacks and whites competing f
or the higher-paying jobs. President Roosevelt had established a policy of non-d
iscrimination for defense contractors, and blacks gained some opportunities, esp
ecially in shipbuilding, although not without resistance from whites and increas
ing social tensions that erupted into occasional violence. Economic gains of bla
cks who entered defense industries continued in the postwar years.[28]
In 1945 the M.D. Anderson Foundation formed the Texas Medical Center. After the
war, Houston's economy reverted to being primarily port-driven. In 1948, the cit
y annexed several unincorporated areas, more than doubling its size. Houston pro
per began to spread across the region.[17][29]
In 1950, the availability of air conditioning provided impetus for many companie
s to relocate to Houston, where wages were lower than the North; this resulted i
n an economic boom and produced a key shift in the city's economy toward the ene
rgy sector.[30][31]

Ashburn's Houston City Map (circa 1956)

The space shuttle Challenger atop its Boeing 747 SCA, flying over Johnson Space
Center, 1983
The increased production of the expanded shipbuilding industry during World War
II spurred Houston's growth,[32] as did the establishment in 1961 of NASA's "Man
ned Spacecraft Center" (renamed the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in 1973). Thi
s was the stimulus for the development of the city's aerospace industry. The Ast
rodome, nicknamed the "Eighth Wonder of the World",[33] opened in 1965 as the wo
rld's first indoor domed sports stadium.
During the late 1970s, Houston had a population boom as people from the Rust Bel
t states moved to Texas in large numbers.[34] The new residents came for numerou
s employment opportunities in the petroleum industry, created as a result of the
Arab Oil Embargo. With the increase in numerous professional jobs, Houston has
become a destination for many college-educated persons, including African Americ
ans in a reverse Great Migration from northern areas.
One wave of the population boom ended abruptly in the mid-1980s, as oil prices f
ell precipitously. The space industry also suffered in 1986 after the Space Shut
tle Challenger disintegrated shortly after launch. There was a cutback in some a
ctivities for a period. In the late 1980s, the city's economy suffered from the
nationwide recession. After the early 1990s recession, Houston made efforts to d
iversify its economy by focusing on aerospace and health care/biotechnology, and
reduced its dependence on the petroleum industry. Since the increase of oil pri
ces in the 2000s, the petroleum industry has again increased its share of the lo
cal economy.
In 1997, Houstonians elected Lee P. Brown as the city's first African-American m
In June 2001, Tropical Storm Allison dumped up to 40 inches (1,000 mm) of rain o
n parts of Houston, causing the worst flooding in the city's history. The storm
cost billions of dollars in damage and killed 20 people in Texas.[36] By Decembe
r of that same year, Houston-based energy company Enron collapsed into the third
-largest ever U.S. bankruptcy during an investigation surrounding fabricated par
tnerships that were allegedly used to hide debt and inflate profits.
In August 2005, Houston became a shelter to more than 150,000 people from New Or
leans who evacuated from Hurricane Katrina.[37] One month later, approximately 2
.5 million Houston area residents evacuated when Hurricane Rita approached the G
ulf Coast, leaving little damage to the Houston area. This was the largest urban
evacuation in the history of the United States.[38][39] In September 2008, Hous
ton was hit by Hurricane Ike. As many as forty percent refused to leave Galvesto
n Island because they feared the traffic problems that happened after Hurricane
During the 2015 Texas Oklahoma floods parts of the city were flooded.
Main article: Geography of Houston
A simulated-color image of Houston
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 656.3
square miles (1,700 km2); this comprises 634.0 square miles (1,642 km2) of land
and 22.3 square miles (58 km2) of water.[40] The Piney Woods is northeast of Ho
uston. Most of Houston is located on the gulf coastal plain, and its vegetation
is classified as temperate grassland and forest. Much of the city was built on f
orested land, marshes, swamp, or prairie which resembles the Deep South, and are
all still visible in surrounding areas. Flatness of the local terrain, when com
bined with urban sprawl, has made flooding a recurring problem for the city.[41]

Downtown stands about 50 feet (15 m) above sea level,[42] and the highest point
in far northwest Houston is about 125 feet (38 m) in elevation.[43][44] The cit
y once relied on groundwater for its needs, but land subsidence forced the city
to turn to ground-level water sources such as Lake Houston, Lake Conroe and Lake
Livingston.[17][45] The city owns surface water rights for 1.20 billion gallons
of water a day in addition to 150 million gallons a day worth of groundwater.[4
Houston has four major bayous passing through the city. Buffalo Bayou runs throu
gh downtown and the Houston Ship Channel, and has three tributaries: White Oak B
ayou, which runs through the Houston Heights community northwest of Downtown and
then towards Downtown; Brays Bayou, which runs along the Texas Medical Center;[
47] and Sims Bayou, which runs through the south of Houston and downtown Houston
. The ship channel continues past Galveston and then into the Gulf of Mexico.[48
Underpinning Houston's land surface are unconsolidated clays, clay shales, and p
oorly cemented sands up to several miles deep. The region's geology developed fr
om river deposits formed from the erosion of the Rocky Mountains. These sediment
s consist of a series of sands and clays deposited on decaying organic marine ma
tter, that over time, transformed into oil and natural gas. Beneath the layers o
f sediment is a water-deposited layer of halite, a rock salt. The porous layers
were compressed over time and forced upward. As it pushed upward, the salt dragg
ed surrounding sediments into salt dome formations, often trapping oil and gas t
hat seeped from the surrounding porous sands. The thick, rich, sometimes black,
surface soil is suitable for rice farming in suburban outskirts where the city c
ontinues to grow.[49][50]
The Houston area has over 150 active faults (estimated to be 300 active faults)
with an aggregate length of up to 310 miles (500 km),[51][52][53] including the
Long Point Eureka Heights fault system which runs through the center of the city.
There have been no significant historically recorded earthquakes in Houston, but
researchers do not discount the possibility of such quakes having occurred in t
he deeper past, nor occurring in the future. Land in some areas southeast of Hou
ston is sinking because water has been pumped out of the ground for many years.
It may be associated with slip along the faults; however, the slippage is slow a
nd not considered an earthquake, where stationary faults must slip suddenly enou
gh to create seismic waves.[54] These faults also tend to move at a smooth rate
in what is termed "fault creep",[45] which further reduces the risk of an earthq
Main article: Climate of Houston
Allen's Landing after Tropical Storm Allison, June 2001
Houston's climate is classified as humid subtropical (Cfa in Kppen climate classi
fication system), typical of the lower South. While not located in "Tornado Alle
y", like much of the rest of Texas, spring supercell thunderstorms sometimes bri
ng tornadoes to the area. Prevailing winds are from the south and southeast duri
ng most of the year, which bring heat and moisture from the nearby Gulf of Mexic
During the summer months, it is common for temperatures to reach over 90 F (32 C),
with an average of 106.5 days per year, including a majority from June to Septe
mber, with a high of 90 F or above and 4.6 days at or over 100 F (38 C).[56] Howeve
r, humidity usually yields a higher heat index. Summer mornings average over 90
percent relative humidity.[57] Winds are often light in the summer and offer lit
tle relief, except in the far southeastern outskirts near the Gulf coast and Gal
veston.[58] To cope with the strong humidity and heat, people use air conditioni
ng in nearly every vehicle and building. In 1980, Houston was described as the "

most air-conditioned place on earth".[59] Officially, the hottest temperature ev

er recorded in Houston is 109 F (43 C), which was reached both on September 4, 200
0 and August 28, 2011.[56]
Houston has mild winters in contrast to most areas of the United States. In Janu
ary, the normal mean temperature at Intercontinental Airport is 53.1 F (11.7 C), w
hile that station has an average of 13 days with a low at or below freezing. Sno
wfall is rare. Recent snow events in Houston include a storm on December 24, 200
4 when one inch (2.5 cm) of snow accumulated in parts of the metro area.[60] Fal
ls of at least one inch on both December 10, 2008 and December 4, 2009 marked th
e first time measurable snowfall had occurred in two consecutive years in the ci
ty's recorded history. The coldest temperature officially recorded in Houston wa
s 5 F (-15 C) on January 18, 1930.[56] Houston has historically received an ample
amount of rainfall, averaging about 49.8 in (1,260 mm) annually per 1981 2010 norm
als. Localized flooding often occurs, owing to the extremely flat topography and
widespread typical clay-silt prairie soils, which do not drain quickly.
Houston has excessive ozone levels and is routinely ranked among the most ozonepolluted cities in the United States.[61] Ground-level ozone, or smog, is Housto
n's predominant air pollution problem, with the American Lung Association rating
the metropolitan area's ozone level 6th on the "Top 10 Most Ozone-Polluted Citi
es" in 2014.[62] The industries located along the ship channel are a major cause
of the city's air pollution.[63] In 2006, Houston's air quality was comparable
to that of Los Angeles.[63]
Climate data for Houston (Intercontinental Airport), 1981 2010 normals, extremes 1
888 present[a]
Month Jan
Record high F (C)
Average high F (C)
(17.2) 66.3
(19.1) 73.0
(22.8) 79.6
(26.4) 86.3
(30.2) 91.4
(34.3) 94.5
(34.7) 89.7
(32.1) 82.0
(27.8) 72.5
(22.5) 64.3
(17.9) 79.7
Average low F (C)
(6.2) 46.5

(8.1) 52.5
(11.4) 59.4
(15.2) 67.6
(19.8) 73.5
(23.1) 75.1
(23.9) 74.8
(23.8) 69.8
(16.1) 52.1
(11.2) 44.6
Record low F (C)
(-15) 6
(-14) 21
(-14) 5
Average precipitation inches (mm)
(85.9) 3.20
(81.3) 3.41
(86.6) 3.31
(84.1) 5.09
(96.3) 3.76
(95.5) 4.12
Average precipitation days (= 0.01 in) 9.6
Average relative humidity (%) 74.7
Mean monthly sunshine hours
143.4 155.0 192.5 209.8 249.2 281.3
293.9 270.5 236.5 228.8 168.3 148.7 2,577.9
Percent possible sunshine
Source: NOAA (relative humidity 1969 1990, sun 1961 1990)[56][65][66]
Further information: Geographic areas of Houston and List of Houston neighborhoo
Houston was incorporated in 1837 under the ward system of representation. The wa
rd designation is the progenitor of the eleven current-day geographically orient
ed Houston City Council districts. Locations in Houston are generally classified
as either being inside or outside the Interstate 610 Loop. The inside encompass
es the central business district and many residential neighborhoods that predate
World War II. More recently, high-density residential areas have been developed
within the loop. The city's outlying areas, suburbs and enclaves are located ou

tside of the loop. Beltway 8 encircles the city another 5 miles (8.0 km) farther
Though Houston is the largest city in the United States without formal zoning re
gulations, it has developed similarly to other Sun Belt cities because the city'
s land use regulations and legal covenants have played a similar role.[67][68] R
egulations include mandatory lot size for single-family houses and requirements
that parking be available to tenants and customers. Such restrictions have had m
ixed results. Though some[68] have blamed the city's low density, urban sprawl,
and lack of pedestrian-friendliness on these policies, the city's land use has a
lso been credited with having significant affordable housing, sparing Houston th
e worst effects of the 2008 real estate crisis.[69] The city issued 42,697 build
ing permits in 2008 and was ranked first in the list of healthiest housing marke
ts for 2009.[70]
Voters rejected efforts to have separate residential and commercial land-use dis
tricts in 1948, 1962, and 1993. Consequently, rather than a single central busin
ess district as the center of the city's employment, multiple districts have gro
wn throughout the city in addition to downtown which include Uptown, Texas Medic
al Center, Midtown, Greenway Plaza, Memorial City, Energy Corridor, Westchase, a
nd Greenspoint.
Downtown Houston as seen from Hilton Americas.
The western view of Downtown Houston skyline
North Western View of the Texas Medical Center Skyline
The Uptown Houston skyline
Three skyscrapers visually overlap each other. The simple, rectangular tiers of
JPMorgan Chase Building contrast with the five-sided tower of the Pennzoil build
ing and the stepped rows of spires of the Bank of America building.
Four eras of buildings: Texas Company Annex (1910s), JPMorgan Chase Building (19
20s), Pennzoil Place (1970s), and Bank of America Center (1980s)
Main article: Architecture of Houston
See also: List of tallest buildings in Houston
Houston has the fourth tallest skyline in North America (after New York City, Ch
icago and Toronto) and twelfth tallest in the world, as of 2014.[71][72][73] A s
even-mile (11 km) system of tunnels and skywalks link downtown buildings contain
ing shops and restaurants, enabling pedestrians to avoid summer heat and rain wh
ile walking between buildings.
In the 1960s, Downtown Houston consisted of a collection of mid-rise office stru
ctures. Downtown was on the threshold of an energy industry led boom in 1970. A su
ccession of skyscrapers were built throughout the 1970s many by real estate develo
per Gerald D. Hines culminating with Houston's tallest skyscraper, the 75-floor, 1
,002-foot (305 m)-tall JPMorgan Chase Tower (formerly the Texas Commerce Tower),
completed in 1982. It is the tallest structure in Texas, 15th tallest building
in the United States, and the 85th tallest skyscraper in the world, based on hig
hest architectural feature. In 1983, the 71-floor, 992-foot (302 m)-tall Wells F
argo Plaza (formerly Allied Bank Plaza) was completed, becoming the second-talle
st building in Houston and Texas. Based on highest architectural feature, it is
the 17th tallest in the United States and the 95th tallest in the world. In 2007
, downtown Houston had over 43 million square feet (4,000,000 m) of office space.
Centered on Post Oak Boulevard and Westheimer Road, the Uptown District boomed d
uring the 1970s and early 1980s when a collection of mid-rise office buildings,
hotels, and retail developments appeared along Interstate 610 west. Uptown becam
e one of the most prominent instances of an edge city. The tallest building in U
ptown is the 64-floor, 901-foot (275 m)-tall, Philip Johnson and John Burgee des
igned landmark Williams Tower (known as the Transco Tower until 1999). At the ti

me of construction, it was believed to be the world's tallest skyscraper outside

of a central business district. The new 20-story Skanska building[75] and BBVA
Compass Plaza[76] are the newest office buildings built in the Galleria area aft
er thirty years. The Uptown District is also home to buildings designed by noted
architects I. M. Pei, Csar Pelli, and Philip Johnson. In the late 1990s and earl
y 2000s decade, there was a mini-boom of mid-rise and high-rise residential towe
r construction, with several over 30 stories tall.[77][78][79] Since 2000 more t
han 30 high-rise buildings have gone up in Houston; all told, 72 high-rises towe
r over the city, which adds up to about 8,300 units.[80] In 2002, Uptown had mor
e than 23 million square feet (2,100,000 m) of office space with 16 million squar
e feet (1,500,000 m) of Class A office space.[81]
The Niels Esperson Building stood as the tallest building in Houston from 19
27 to 1929.
The JPMorgan Chase Tower is the tallest building in Texas and the tallest 5sided building in the world.
The Williams Tower is the tallest building in the U.S. outside of a central
business district.
The Bank of America Center by Philip Johnson is an example of postmodern arc
JPMorgan Chase Tower in Houston, Texas is the tallest composite building in
the world
Main article: Demographics of Houston
Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 2014
U.S. Decennial Census
2011 estimate
Map of racial/ethnic distribution in the city of Houston, 2010 census. Each dot
represents 25 people. Red dots represent White people, orange dots represent His
panic people, blue dots represent Black people, green dots represent Asian peopl
e, and gray dots represent other people
Houston is multicultural, in part because of its many academic institutions and
strong industries as well as being a major port city. Over 90 languages are spok
en in the city.[83] It has among the youngest populations in the nation,[84][85]
[86] partly due to an influx of immigrants into Texas.[87] An estimated 400,000

illegal immigrants reside in the Houston area.[88]

According to the 2010 Census, whites made up 51% of Houston's population; 26% of
the total population were non-Hispanic whites. Blacks or African Americans made
up 25% of Houston's population. American Indians made up 0.7% of the population
. Asians made up 6% (1.7% Vietnamese, 1.3% Chinese, 1.3% Indian, 0.9% Pakistani,
0.4% Filipino, 0.3% Korean, 0.1% Japanese), while Pacific Islanders made up 0.1
%. Individuals from some other race made up 15.2% of the city's population, of w
hich 0.2% were non-Hispanic. Individuals from two or more races made up 3.3% of
the city. At the 2000 Census, there were 1,953,631 people and the population den
sity was 3,371.7 people per square mile (1,301.8/km). The racial makeup of the ci
ty was 49.3% White, 25.3% African American, 5.3% Asian, 0.7% American Indian, 0.
1% Pacific Islander, 16.5% from some other race, and 3.1% from two or more races
. In addition, Hispanics made up 37.4% of Houston's population while non-Hispani
c whites made up 30.8%,[89] down from 62.4% in 1970.[25]
The median income for a household in the city was $37,000, and the median income
for a family was $40,000. Males had a median income of $32,000 versus $27,000 f
or females. The per capita income was $20,000. Nineteen percent of the populatio
n and 16% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total population,
26% of those under the age of 18 and 14% of those 65 and older were living below
the poverty line.
According to a 2014 study by the Pew Research Center, 73% of the population of t
he city identified themselves as Christians, with 50% professing attendance at a
variety of churches that could be considered Protestant, and 19% professing Rom
an Catholic beliefs.[90][91] while 20% claim no religious affiliation. The same
study says that other religions (including Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, and Hinduis
m) collectively make up about 7% of the population
Racial composition
White 50.5% 52.7% 73.4%
Non-Hispanic 25.6% 40.6% 62.4%[93]
Black or African American
28.1% 25.7%
Hispanic or Latino (of any race)
43.7% 27.6% 11.3%[93]
Asian 6.0%
Top publicly traded companies
in Houston for 2013
with Texas and U.S. ranks
Phillips 66
Enterprise Products Partners
Plains All American Pipeline
Baker Hughes
National Oilwell Varco
Apache Corporation
Marathon Oil
Waste Management
EOG Resources
Kinder Morgan
Cameron International
Group 1 Automotive
CenterPoint Energy
Enbridge Energy Partners
Quanta Services
FMC Technologies

Targa Resources
MRC Global
Spectra Energy
Rankings for fiscal year ended January
Energy and oil (22 companies)
Source: Fortune[94]
Main article: Economy of Houston
Further information: List of companies
Port of Houston along the Houston Ship

31, 2013.

in Houston

Houston is recognized worldwide for its energy industry particularly for oil and n
atural gas as well as for biomedical research and aeronautics. Renewable energy so
urces wind and solar are also growing economic bases in the city.[95][96] The Housto
n Ship Channel is also a large part of Houston's economic base. Because of these
strengths, Houston is designated as a global city by the Globalization and Worl
d Cities Study Group and Network and global management consulting firm A.T. Kear
ney.[12] The Houston area is the top U.S. market for exports, surpassing New Yor
k City in 2013, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Commerce's
International Trade Administration. In 2012, the Houston The Woodlands Sugar Land ar
ea recorded $110.3 billion in merchandise exports.[97] Petroleum products, chemi
cals, and oil and gas extraction equipment accounted for approximately two-third
s of the metropolitan area's exports last year. The Top 3 destinations for expor
ts were Mexico, Canada, and Brazil.[98]
The Houston area is a leading center for building oilfield equipment.[99] Much o
f its success as a petrochemical complex is due to its busy ship channel, the Po
rt of Houston.[100] In the United States, the port ranks first in international
commerce and tenth among the largest ports in the world.[13][101] Unlike most pl
aces, high oil and gasoline prices are beneficial for Houston's economy, as many
of its residents are employed in the energy industry.[102]
The Houston The Woodlands Sugar Land MSA's gross domestic product (GDP) in 2012 was
$489 billion, making it the fourth-largest of any metropolitan area in the Unite
d States and larger than Austria's, Venezuela's, or South Africa's GDP.[103] Onl
y 26 countries other than the United States have a gross domestic product exceed
ing Houston's regional gross area product (GAP).[104] In 2010, mining (which con
sists almost entirely of exploration and production of oil and gas in Houston) a
ccounted for 26.3% of Houston's GAP up sharply in response to high energy prices
and a decreased worldwide surplus of oil production capacity, followed by engin
eering services, health services, and manufacturing.[105]
A graph showing the major sectors of the Houston economy.[106]
The University of Houston System's annual impact on the Houston area's economy e
quates to that of a major corporation: $1.1 billion in new funds attracted annua
lly to the Houston area, $3.13 billion in total economic benefit and 24,000 loca
l jobs generated.[107][108] This is in addition to the 12,500 new graduates the
U.H. System produces every year who enter the workforce in Houston and throughou
t the state of Texas. These degree-holders tend to stay in Houston. After five y
ears, 80.5% of graduates are still living and working in the region.[108]
In 2006, the Houston metropolitan area ranked first in Texas and third in the U.
S. within the Category of "Best Places for Business and Careers" by Forbes magaz
ine.[109] Foreign governments have established 92 consular offices in Houston's
metropolitan area, the third highest in the nation.[110] Forty foreign governmen
ts maintain trade and commercial offices here and 23 active foreign chambers of
commerce and trade associations.[111] Twenty-five foreign banks representing 13
nations operate in Houston, providing financial assistance to the international

In 2008, Houston received top ranking on Kiplinger's Personal Finance Best Citie
s of 2008 list, which ranks cities on their local economy, employment opportunit
ies, reasonable living costs, and quality of life.[113] The city ranked fourth f
or highest increase in the local technological innovation over the preceding 15
years, according to Forbes magazine.[114] In the same year, the city ranked seco
nd on the annual Fortune 500 list of company headquarters,[115] first for Forbes
magazine's Best Cities for College Graduates,[116] and first on their list of B
est Cities to Buy a Home.[117] In 2010, the city was rated the best city for sho
pping, according to Forbes.[118]
In 2012, the city was ranked #1 for paycheck worth by Forbes and in late May 201
3, Houston was identified as America's top city for employment creation.[119][12
In 2013, Houston was identified as the #1 U.S. city for job creation by the U.S.
Bureau of Statistics after it was not only the first major city to regain all t
he jobs lost in the preceding economic downturn, but after the crash, more than
two jobs were added for every one lost. Economist and vice president of research
at the Greater Houston Partnership Patrick Jankowski attributed Houston's succe
ss to the ability of the region's real estate and energy industries to learn fro
m historical mistakes. Furthermore, Jankowski stated that "more than 100 foreign
-owned companies relocated, expanded or started new businesses in Houston" betwe
en 2008 and 2010, and this openness to external business boosted job creation du
ring a period when domestic demand was problematically low.[120] Also in 2013, H
ouston again appeared on Forbes' list of Best Places for Business and Careers.[1
Main article: Culture of Houston
See also: List of events in Houston
Houston Art Car Parade
Located in the American South, Houston is a diverse city with a large and growin
g international community.[122] The metropolitan area is home to an estimated 1.
1 million (21.4 percent) residents who were born outside the United States, with
nearly two-thirds of the area's foreign-born population from south of the Unite
d States Mexico border.[123] Additionally, more than one in five foreign-born resi
dents are from Asia.[123] The city is home to the nation's third-largest concent
ration of consular offices, representing 86 countries.[124]
Many annual events celebrate the diverse cultures of Houston. The largest and lo
ngest running is the annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, held over 20 days
from early to late March, is the largest annual livestock show and rodeo in the
world.[125] Another large celebration is the annual night-time Houston Pride Par
ade, held at the end of June.[126] Other annual events include the Houston Greek
Festival,[127] Art Car Parade, the Houston Auto Show, the Houston International
Festival,[128] and the Bayou City Art Festival, which is considered to be one o
f the top five art festivals in the United States.[129][130]
Houston received the official nickname of "Space City" in 1967 because it is the
location of NASA's Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. Other nicknames often used b
y locals include "Bayou City", "Clutch City", "Magnolia City", "New Houston" (a
tribute to the cultural contributions of New Orleans natives who left their city
during the 2005 Hurricane Katrina catastrophe), and "H-Town".
The annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo held inside the NRG Stadium.
The George R. Brown Convention Center regularly holds various kinds of conventio
Arts and theater
Hobby Center for the Performing Arts
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Houston Museum of Natural Science

The Houston Theater District, located downtown, is home to nine major performing
arts organizations and six performance halls. It is the second-largest concentr
ation of theater seats in a downtown area in the United States.[131][132][133] H
ouston is one of few United States cities with permanent, professional, resident
companies in all major performing arts disciplines: opera (Houston Grand Opera)
, ballet (Houston Ballet), music (Houston Symphony Orchestra), and theater (The
Alley Theatre).[15][134] Houston is also home to folk artists, art groups and va
rious small progressive arts organizations.[135] Houston attracts many touring B
roadway acts, concerts, shows, and exhibitions for a variety of interests.[136]
Facilities in the Theater District include the Jones Hall home of the Houston Symp
hony Orchestra and Society for the Performing Arts and the Hobby Center for the Pe
rforming Arts.
The Museum District's cultural institutions and exhibits attract more than 7 mil
lion visitors a year.[137][138] Notable facilities include The Museum of Fine Ar
ts, Houston Museum of Natural Science, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, the
Station Museum of Contemporary Art, Holocaust Museum Houston, and the Houston Z
oo.[139][140][141] Located near the Museum District are The Menil Collection, Ro
thko Chapel, and the Byzantine Fresco Chapel Museum.
Bayou Bend is a 14-acre (5.7 ha) facility of the Museum of Fine Arts that houses
one of America's best collections of decorative art, paintings and furniture. B
ayou Bend is the former home of Houston philanthropist Ima Hogg.[142]
The National Museum of Funeral History is located in Houston near the George Bus
h Intercontinental Airport. The museum houses the original Popemobile used by Po
pe John Paul II in the 1980s along with numerous hearses, embalming displays and
information on famous funerals.
Venues across Houston regularly host local and touring rock, blues, country, dub
step, and Tejano musical acts. While Houston has never been widely known for its
music scene,[143] Houston hip-hop has become a significant, independent music s
cene that is influential nationwide.[144]
Tourism and recreation
Christopher C. Kraft Jr. Mission Control Center within the Johnson Space Center.
Discovery Green park in downtown.
Shopping centers in Houston's Chinatown.
The Theater District is a 17-block area in the center of downtown Houston that i
s home to the Bayou Place entertainment complex, restaurants, movies, plazas, an
d parks. Bayou Place is a large multilevel building containing full-service rest
aurants, bars, live music, billiards, and Sundance Cinema. The Bayou Music Cente
r stages live concerts, stage plays, and stand-up comedy. Space Center Houston i
s the official visitors' center of NASA's Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. The Sp
ace Center has many interactive exhibits including moon rocks, a shuttle simulat
or, and presentations about the history of NASA's manned space flight program. O
ther tourist attractions include the Galleria (Texas's largest shopping mall, lo
cated in the Uptown District), Old Market Square, the Downtown Aquarium, and Sam
Houston Race Park.
The Galleria in the Uptown District is the largest mall in Texas
Shopping mall in the Mahatma Gandhi District
Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park in Uptown
Of worthy mention are Houston's current Chinatown and the Mahatma Gandhi Distric
t. Both areas offer a picturesque view of Houston's multicultural makeup. Restau
rants, bakeries, traditional-clothing boutiques and specialty shops can be found
in both areas.

Houston is home to 337 parks including Hermann Park, Terry Hershey Park, Lake Ho
uston Park, Memorial Park, Tranquility Park, Sesquicentennial Park, Discovery Gr
een, and Sam Houston Park. Within Hermann Park are the Houston Zoo and the Houst
on Museum of Natural Science. Sam Houston Park contains restored and reconstruct
ed homes which were originally built between 1823 and 1905.[145] There is a prop
osal to open the city's first botanic garden at Herman Brown Park.[146]
Of the 10 most populous U.S. cities, Houston has the most total area of parks an
d green space, 56,405 acres (228 km2).[147] The city also has over 200 additiona
l green spaces totaling over 19,600 acres (79 km2) that are managed by the city incl
uding the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center. The Lee and Joe Jamail Skatepark
is a public skatepark owned and operated by the city of Houston, and is one of t
he largest skateparks in Texas consisting of 30,000 (2,800 m2) square foot in-gr
ound facility. The Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park located in the Uptown District o
f the city serves as a popular tourist attraction, weddings, and various celebrati
ons. A 2011 study by Walk Score ranked Houston the 23rd most walkable of the 50
largest cities in the United States.[148] Wet'n'Wild SplashTown is a water park
located north of Houston. A 640-acre theme park, called the Grand Texas Theme Pa
rk, will open in 2015 and is located near Houston in New Caney, Texas.[149]
The Bayport Cruise Terminal on the Houston Ship Channel will become port of call
for both Princess Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line in 2013 2014.[150]
Main article: Sports in Houston
NRG Stadium is the home of the Houston Texans.
Houston has sports teams for every major professional league except the National
Hockey League (NHL). The Houston Astros are a Major League Baseball (MLB) expan
sion team formed in 1962 (known as the "Colt .45s" until 1965) that made one Wor
ld Series appearance in 2005.[151] The Houston Rockets are a National Basketball
Association (NBA) franchise based in the city since 1971. They have won two NBA
Championships: in 1994 and 1995.[152] The Houston Texans are a National Footbal
l League (NFL) expansion team formed in 2002. The Houston Dynamo are a Major Lea
gue Soccer (MLS) franchise that has been based in Houston since 2006 after they
won two MLS Cup titles in 2006 and 2007. The Houston Dash play in the National W
omen's Soccer League (NWSL) .[153]
Minute Maid Park (home of the Astros) and Toyota Center (home of the Rockets), a
re located in downtown Houston. Houston has the NFL's first retractable-roof sta
dium with natural grass, NRG Stadium (home of the Texans).[154] Minute Maid Park
is also a retractable-roof stadium. Toyota Center also has the largest screen f
or an indoor arena in the United States built to coincide with the arena's hosti
ng of the 2013 NBA All-Star Game.[155] BBVA Compass Stadium is a soccer-specific
stadium for the Dynamo, the Texas Southern University football team, and Dash,
located in East Downtown. In addition, NRG Astrodome was the first indoor stadiu
m in the world, built in 1965.[156] Other sports facilities include Hofheinz Pav
ilion (Houston Cougars basketball), Rice Stadium (Rice Owls football), and Relia
nt Arena. TDECU Stadium is where the University of Houston Houston Cougars footb
all team plays.[157]
Houston has hosted several major sports events: the 1968, 1986 and 2004 Major Le
ague Baseball All-Star Games; the 1989, 2006 and 2013 NBA All-Star Games; Super
Bowl VIII and Super Bowl XXXVIII, as well as hosting the 2005 World Series and 1
981, 1986, 1994 and 1995 NBA Finals, winning the latter two. Super Bowl LI is cu
rrently slated to be hosted in NRG Stadium in 2017.[158]
The city has hosted several major professional and college sporting events, incl
uding the annual Houston Open golf tournament. Houston hosts the annual NCAA Col
lege Baseball Classic every February and NCAA football's Texas Bowl in December.

The Grand Prix of Houston, an annual auto race on the IndyCar Series circuit is
held on a 1.7-mile temporary street circuit in Reliant Park. The October 2013 ev
ent was held using a tweaked version of the 2006 2007 course.[160] The event has a
5-year race contract through 2017 with IndyCar.[161] In motorcycling, the Astro
dome hosted an AMA Supercross Championship round from 1974 to 2003 and the NRG S
tadium since 2003.
Government and politics
Main article: Politics of Houston
Houston City Hall
The city of Houston has a strong mayoral form of municipal government.[162] Hous
ton is a home rule city and all municipal elections in the state of Texas are no
npartisan.[162][163] The City's elected officials are the mayor, city controller
and 16 members of the Houston City Council.[164] The current mayor of Houston i
s Annise Parker, a Democrat elected on a nonpartisan ballot whose third (and fin
al) term in office will expire at the end of 2015. Houston's mayor serves as the
city's chief administrator, executive officer, and official representative, and
is responsible for the general management of the city and for seeing that all l
aws and ordinances are enforced.[165]
The original city council line-up of 14 members (nine district-based and five at
-large positions) was based on a U.S. Justice Department mandate which took effe
ct in 1979.[166] At-large council members represent the entire city.[164] Under
the city charter, once the population in the city limits exceeded 2.1 million re
sidents, two additional districts were to be added.[167] The city of Houston's o
fficial 2010 census count was 600 shy of the required number; however, as the ci
ty was expected to grow beyond 2.1 million shortly thereafter, the two additiona
l districts were added for, and the positions filled during, the August 2011 ele
The city controller is elected independently of the mayor and council.
oller's duties are to certify available funds prior to committing such
processing disbursements. The city's fiscal year begins on July 1 and
une 30. Ronald Green is the city controller, serving his first term as
y 2010.

The contr
funds and
ends on J
of Januar

As the result of a 1991 referendum in Houston, a mayor is elected for a two-year

term, and can be elected to as many as three consecutive terms. The term limits
were spearheaded by conservative political activist Clymer Wright.[168] The cit
y controller and city council members are also subject to the same two-year, thr
ee-term limitations.
Houston is considered to be a politically divided city whose balance of power of
ten sways between Republicans and Democrats. Much of the city's wealthier areas
vote Republican while the city's working class and minority areas vote Democrati
c. According to the 2005 Houston Area Survey, 68 percent of non-Hispanic whites
in Harris County are declared or favor Republicans while 89 percent of non-Hispa
nic blacks in the area are declared or favor Democrats. About 62 percent Hispani
cs (of any race) in the area are declared or favor Democrats.[169] The city has
often been known to be the most politically diverse city in Texas, a state known
for being generally conservative.[169] As a result, the city is often a contest
ed area in statewide elections.[169] In 2009, Houston became the first US city w
ith a population over 1 million citizens to elect a gay mayor, by electing Annis
e Parker.
Houston Police Department Memorial
Houston's murder rate ranked 46th of U.S. cities with a population over 250,000

in 2005 (per capita rate of 16.3 murders per 100,000 population).[170] In 2010,
the city's murder rate (per capita rate of 11.8 murders per 100,000 population)
was ranked fifth among U.S. cities with a population of over 750,000 (behind New
York City, Chicago, Detroit, Dallas, and Philadelphia)[171] according to the FB
Murders fell by 37 percent from January to June 2011, compared with the same per
iod in 2010. Houston's total crime rate including violent and nonviolent crimes
decreased by 11 percent.[172]
Houston is a significant hub for trafficking of cocaine, cannabis, heroin, MDMA,
and methamphetamine due to its size and proximity to major illegal drug exporti
ng nations.[173] Houston is one of the country's largest hubs for human traffick
In the early 1970s, Houston, Pasadena and several coastal towns were the site of
the Houston Mass Murders, which at the time were the deadliest case of serial k
illing in American history.[175][176]
Main article: Education in Houston
The Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center (HMWESC), which houses the Houst
on Independent School District administrative offices
Seventeen school districts exist within the city of Houston. The Houston Indepen
dent School District (HISD) is the seventh-largest school district in the United
States.[177] HISD has 112 campuses that serve as magnet or vanguard schools speci
alizing in such disciplines as health professions, visual and performing arts, a
nd the sciences. There are also many charter schools that are run separately fro
m school districts. In addition, some public school districts also have their ow
n charter schools.
The Houston area encompasses more than 300 private schools,[178][179][180] many
of which are accredited by Texas Private School Accreditation Commission recogni
zed agencies. The Houston Area Independent Schools offer education from a variet
y of different religious as well as secular viewpoints.[181] The Houston area Ca
tholic schools are operated by the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.
Colleges and universities
Further information: List of colleges and universities in Houston
University of Houston
Texas Southern University
Four separate and distinct state universities are located in Houston. The Univer
sity of Houston is a nationally recognized Tier One research university, and is
the flagship institution of the University of Houston System.[182][183][184] The
third-largest university in Texas, the University of Houston has nearly 40,000
students on its 667-acre campus in southeast Houston.[185] The University of Hou
ston Clear Lake and the University of Houston Downtown are stand-alone universities;
they are not branch campuses of the University of Houston. Located in the histo
ric community of Third Ward is Texas Southern University, one of the largest his
torically black colleges and universities in the United States.
Several private institutions of higher learning ranging from liberal arts colleges
, such as The University of St. Thomas, Houston's only Catholic University to Ri
ce University, the nationally recognized research university are located within th
e city. Rice, with a total enrollment of slightly more than 6,000 students, has
a number of distinguished graduate programs and research institutes such as the
James A. Baker Institute for Public Policy.[186] Houston Baptist University affi
liated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas offers Bachelor and graduate
degrees was founded in 1960 and is located in the Sharpstown area in Southwest

Three community college districts exist with campuses in and around Houston. The
Houston Community College System serves most of Houston. The northwestern throu
gh northeastern parts of the city are served by various campuses of the Lone Sta
r College System, while the southeastern portion of Houston is served by San Jac
into College, and a northeastern portion is served by Lee College.[187] The Hous
ton Community College and Lone Star College systems are within the 10 largest in
stitutions of higher learning in the United States.
Further information: List of newspapers in Houston, List of television stations
in Texas, List of radio stations in Texas, Magazines in Houston, and List of fil
ms featured in Houston
The primary network-affiliated television stations are KPRC-TV (NBC), KHOU-TV (C
BS), KTRK-TV (ABC), KRIV (Fox), KIAH (The CW), and KTXH (MyNetworkTV). KTRK-TV,
KRIV and KTXH operate as owned-and-operated stations of their networks.
The Houston The Woodlands Sugar Land metropolitan area is served by one public telev
ision station and two public radio stations. KUHT (HoustonPBS) is a PBS member s
tation and is the first public television station in the United States. Houston
Public Radio is listener-funded and comprises two NPR member stations: KUHF (KUH
F News) and KUHA (Classical 91.7). KUHF is news/talk radio and KUHA is a classic
al music station. The University of Houston System owns and holds broadcasting l
icenses to KUHT, KUHF, and KUHA. The stations broadcast from the Melcher Center
for Public Broadcasting, located on the campus of the University of Houston.
Houston is served by the Houston Chronicle, its only major daily newspaper with
wide distribution. The Hearst Corporation, which owns and operates the Houston C
hronicle, bought the assets of the Houston Post its long-time rival and main compe
tition when Houston Post ceased operations in 1995. The Houston Post was owned by
the family of former Lieutenant Governor Bill Hobby of Houston. The only other m
ajor publication to serve the city is the Houston Press a free alternative weekly
with a weekly readership of more than 300,000.[188]
Main article: Texas Medical Center
See also: List of hospitals in Texas
Texas Medical Center
MD Anderson Cancer Center
Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center Hospital
Houston is the seat of the internationally renowned Texas Medical Center, which
contains the world's largest concentration of research and healthcare institutio
ns.[189] All 49 member institutions of the Texas Medical Center are non-profit o
rganizations. They provide patient and preventive care, research, education, and
local, national, and international community well-being. Employing more than 73
,600 people, institutions at the medical center include 13 hospitals and two spe
cialty institutions, two medical schools, four nursing schools, and schools of d
entistry, public health, pharmacy, and virtually all health-related careers. It
is where one of the first and still the largest air emergency service, Life Flight,
was created, and a very successful inter-institutional transplant program was de
veloped. More heart surgeries are performed at the Texas Medical Center than any
where else in the world.[190]
Some of the academic and research health institutions at the center include MD A
nderson Cancer Center, Baylor College of Medicine, UT Health Science Center, Mem
orial Hermann Hospital, The Methodist Hospital, Texas Children's Hospital, and U
niversity of Houston College of Pharmacy.
The Baylor College of Medicine has annually been considered within the top ten m

edical schools in the nation; likewise, the MD Anderson Cancer Center has consis
tently ranked as one of the top two U.S. hospitals specializing in cancer care b
y U.S. News & World Report since 1990.[191][192] The Menninger Clinic, a renowne
d psychiatric treatment center, is affiliated with Baylor College of Medicine an
d The Methodist Hospital System.[193] With hospital locations nationwide and hea
dquarters in Houston, the Triumph Healthcare hospital system is the third larges
t long term acute care provider nationally.[194]
Main article: Transportation in Houston
I-10 and I-45 interchange
Downtown Houston in the morning looking over the 45 freeway
The predominant form of transportation in Houston is the automobile with 71.7 pe
rcent of residents driving alone to work[195] This is facilitated through Housto
n's freeway system, comprising 739.3 miles (1,189.8 km) of freeways and expressw
ays in a ten-county metropolitan area.[196] However, the Texas Transportation In
stitute's annual Urban Mobility Report found that Houston had the fourth-worst c
ongestion in the country with commuters spending an average of 58 hours in traff
ic in 2009.[197]
Houston's highway system has a hub-and-spoke freeway structure serviced by multi
ple loops. The innermost loop is Interstate 610, which encircles downtown, the m
edical center, and many core neighborhoods with around a 8-mile (13 km) diameter
. Beltway 8 and its freeway core, the Sam Houston Tollway, form the middle loop
at a diameter of roughly 23 miles (37 km). A proposed highway project, State Hig
hway 99 (Grand Parkway), will form a third loop outside of Houston, totaling 180
miles in length and making an almost-complete circumference, with the exception
of crossing the ship channel. As of June 2014, two of eleven segments of State
Highway 99 have been completed to the west of Houston, and three northern segmen
ts, totaling 38 miles, are actively under construction and scheduled to open to
traffic late in 2015. In addition to the Sam Houston Tollway loop mentioned abov
e, the Harris County Toll Road Authority currently operates four spoke tollways:
The Katy Managed Lanes of Interstate 10, the Hardy Toll Road, the Westpark Toll
way, and the Fort Bend Parkway Extension. Other spoke roads either planned or un
der construction include Crosby Freeway, and the future Alvin Freeway.
Houston's freeway system is monitored by Houston TranStar a partnership of four go
vernment agencies that are responsible for providing transportation and emergenc
y management services to the region.[198]
METRORail light rail
Transit systems
The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) provides public tran
sportation in the form of buses, light rail, and lift vans.
METRO began light rail service on January 1, 2004, with the inaugural track ("Re
d Line") running about 8 miles (13 km) from the University of Houston Downtown (UH
D), which traverses through the Texas Medical Center and terminates at NRG Park.
METRO is currently in the design phase of a 10-year expansion plan that will ad
d five more lines.[199] and expand the current Red Line. Amtrak, the national pa
ssenger rail system, provides service three times a week to Houston via the Suns
et Limited (Los Angeles New Orleans), which stops at a train station on the north
side of the downtown area. The station saw 14,891 boardings and alightings in fi
scal year 2008.[200] In 2012, there was a 25 percent increase in ridership to 20
,327 passengers embarking from the Houston Amtrak station.[201]
Houston has the largest number of bike commuters in Texas with over 160 miles of
dedicated bikeways.[202] The city is currently in the process of expanding its

on and off street bikeway network.[203] A new Bicycle sharing system known as Ho
uston B-Cycle currently operates 29 different stations in downtown and neighbori
ng areas[204]
George Bush Intercontinental Airport
Houston is served by three airports, two of which are commercial that served 52
million passengers in 2007 and managed by the Houston Airport System.[205] The F
ederal Aviation Administration and the state of Texas selected the "Houston Airp
ort System as Airport of the Year" for 2005,[206] largely because of its multi-y
ear, $3.1 billion airport improvement program for both major airports in Houston
The primary city airport is George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), the tent
h-busiest in the United States for total passengers, and twenty eighth-busiest w
orldwide. Bush Intercontinental currently ranks fourth in the United States for
non-stop domestic and international service with 182 destinations.[207] In 2006,
the United States Department of Transportation named IAH the fastest-growing of
the top ten airports in the United States.[208] The Houston Air Route Traffic C
ontrol Center stands on the George Bush Intercontinental Airport grounds.
Houston was the headquarters of Continental Airlines until its 2010 merger with
United Airlines with headquarters in Chicago; regulatory approval for the merger
was granted in October of that year. Bush Intercontinental became United Airlin
e's largest airline hub.[209] The airline retained a significant operational pre
sence in Houston while offering more than 700 daily departures from the city.[21
0][211] In early 2007, Bush Intercontinental Airport was named a model "port of
entry" for international travelers by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.[212]
The second-largest commercial airport is William P. Hobby Airport (named Houston
International Airport until 1967) which operates primarily small to medium-haul
domestic flights. Houston's aviation history is showcased in the 1940 Air Termi
nal Museum located in the old terminal building on the west side of the airport.
Hobby Airport has been recognized with two awards for being one of the top five
performing airports in the world and for customer service by Airports Council I
Houston's third municipal airport is Ellington Airport (a former U.S. Air Force
base) used by military, government, NASA, and general aviation sectors.[214]
Houston is the beginning or end point of numerous oil, gas, and products pipelin
Oil pipelines:
Houston Wichita Falls
Midland Houston
San Juan Houston
Santa Barbara Houston
Natural gas pipelines:
Houston Denver
Los Angeles Houston
Panhandle Houston (two lines)
Products pipelines:
Denver Houston
Houston Port Isabel
Houston Philadelphia
Midland Houston

Sister cities
The Houston Office of Protocol and International Affairs is the city's liaison t
o Houston's sister city associations and to the national governing organization,
Sister Cities International. Through their official city-to-city relationships,
these volunteer associations promote people-to-people diplomacy and encourage c
itizens to develop mutual trust and understanding through commercial, cultural,
educational, and humanitarian exchanges.[216]
United Arab Emirates Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates)
Azerbaijan Baku (Azerbaijan) 1976
Iraq Basrah (Iraq) 2015[217]
Japan Chiba (Japan)
Ecuador Guayaquil (Ecuador)
Spain Huelva (Spain) 1969
Turkey Istanbul (Turkey)
Pakistan Karachi (Pakistan)
Germany Leipzig (Germany) 1993