Comparing Houston’s Top Neighborhoods

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Comparing Houston's Neighborhoods

With 88 distinct neighborhoods and 2.19 million residents, the city of Houston is as diverse as it is big.

Deciding where to live in Houston involves more than finding an affordable home, since the definition of an ideal neighborhood can vary greatly. Some people might place a priority on local nightlife, while others look for places with parks for their dog or recreation and other opportunities for a growing family.

To help consumers navigate life in Houston, NerdWallet looked at a variety of social and economic factors to determine the city’s top neighborhoods for two groups: millennials, or young adults, and families.

For this study, we assumed that millennials are unmarried renters who want to live near other young adults. When it comes to families, we assumed that they would value neighborhoods with a high concentration of other families, stable neighbors and a healthy economy. For our full methodology, go to the end of this study.

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We analyzed 88 Super Neighborhoods, which are geographic areas defined by the City of Houston. An official map of neighborhood designations can be found here.

Rank Best neighborhoods for families Best neighborhoods for millennials
1 Kingwood Greater Third Ward
2 University Place Washington Avenue Coalition/Memorial Park
3 Braeswood Neartown-Montrose
4 Westbranch Midtown
5 Lake Houston Downtown
6 Afton Oaks/ River Oaks Museum Park
7 Addicks Park Ten Astrodome Area
8 Memorial MacGregor
9 Meyerland Mid West
10 Medical Center Fourth Ward

Best neighborhoods for millennials

1. Greater Third Ward

The Greater Third Ward is southeast of downtown, bound by Interstate 145 and State Highway 288. A rich historic past coexists with modern institutions, such as Texas Southern University, in this top neighborhood for millennials. This area is known for its rich African-American history and famous residents have included singer Beyoncé, Phylicia Rashad of “The Cosby Show” and her younger sister, actress Debbie Allen. The neighborhood earned top billing for its high percentage of renters, low rent costs and strong population growth of 17.31%.

2. Washington Avenue Coalition/Memorial Park

Historic, yet attractive to young residents: That’s the winning combination that makes the Washington Avenue/Memorial neighborhood another top spot for millennials. A young population calls this place home: 40% of residents are age 20 to 34, and the unemployment rate of 2.99% is one of the lowest in the city. Population growth stands at 18.85%, the fourth highest in the city.

3. Neartown-Montrose

Located in west-central Houston, by Highway 59 and Allen Parkway, this neighborhood is described as having a “distinctive Bohemian atmosphere.” The area is close to entertainment options and the price to live here is a reasonable $1,052 a month on average.

4. Midtown

Located in the heart of the city, Midtown calls itself “Houston’s pedestrian-oriented urban community.” This neighborhood is close to Houston’s universities and several METRORail stations, making this a great option for young residents on a budget. The neighborhood is also working to increase amenities with renovations at Midtown, Baldwin and Glover parks.

5. Downtown

What better place for a young person than in the heart of the city? In downtown, open spaces such as Discovery Green and Market Square Park are complemented by spaces that bring business, entertainment and sports to the area — from the George R. Brown Convention Center to Minute Maid Park and Toyota Center stadiums. In other parts of downtown, revitalization is underway and empty office buildings are becoming lofts. All factors have contributed to a three-year population influx of 10.5%.

Best neighborhoods for families

1. Kingwood

Kingwood is our top neighborhood for families in Houston with its low unemployment rate and stable population. Over 60% of residents in the area are married, and 88% have been living in the same house for the past year. It’s also known as the “livable forest” for its forested landscape and five resident-funded parks.

2. University Place

With the second-lowest unemployment rate and highest home value in Houston, University Place is a neighborhood for the financially secure. The most desirable areas include Southampton, Southgate, Old Braeswood and Boulevard Oaks. Both the economy and the quality of life are boosted by proximity to Rice University and Texas Medical Center.

3. Braeswood

Braeswood is ripe for revival. Construction of luxury homes in Braes Heights has helped bring home values up in the area, and its economic health has been trending positively, with a recent unemployment rate of 3.24%.

4. Westbranch

Located at the West Belt, Westbranch is one of our most-affordable places for families. Commercial construction in the western part of the community is joining the mix of townhouses and single-family homes in this area. Here, 59% of residents are married couples.

5. Lake Houston

Named after the reservoir that it borders, Lake Houston features many single-family homes, including lakeside homes in the master-planned community of Atascocita. The lake is not only a reservoir, it’s also a favorite spot for boating and fishing. The neighborhood has one of the highest ratio of married residents.

What do you think about our lists? Let us know in the comments below, and we will respond!

 Houston’s neighborhoods

Neighborhood Neighborhood rank
for families
Neighborhood rank
for millennials
Median home value Percentage of residents
who rent
2010-2013 population
percentage change
Acres Home 56 76 $112,670 19.16% 1.35%
Addicks Park Ten 7 77 $163,682 15.96% 7.54%
Afton Oaks / River Oaks Area 6 26 $602,620 22.98% 1.74%
Alief 59 46 $86,332 30.01% 2.46%
Astrodome Area 85 7 $89,657 38.48% 2.64%
Braeburn 70 29 $101,320 33.56% 0.34%
Braeswood 3 34 $469,750 22.81% 7.75%
Brays Oaks 69 54 $116,481 27.26% 4.43%
Briar Forest 28 52 $211,356 25.14% 3.76%
Carverdale 11 87 $175,033 12.22% 6.41%
Central Northwest 26 66 $179,593 19.50% 0.36%
Central Southwest 39 63 $89,142 17.23% 10.80%
Clear Lake 13 70 $175,653 19.89% 5.19%
Clinton Park/ Tri-Community 68 80 $70,250 20.10% 1.35%
Denver Harbor / Port Houston 51 73 $67,083 20.28% 0.33%
Downtown 65 5 $179,800 34.06% 10.51%
East Houston 61 71 $69,880 18.27% 3.38%
East Little York / Homestead 57 78 $68,711 15.36% 0.89%
Eastex – Jensen 44 65 $72,933 20.14% 0.30%
Edgebook 46 68 $97,700 23.85% -0.21%
El Dorado / Oates Prairie 64 49 $63,800 17.38% 9.69%
Eldridge / West Oaks 29 18 $192,844 28.39% 19.86%
Fairbanks / Northwest Crossing 43 33 $106,875 30.13% 9.15%
Fondren Gardens 42 45 $103,500 21.25% 14.35%
Fort Bend Houston 35 60 $93,200 20.40% 10.09%
Fourth Ward 54 10 $249,450 28.30% -1.74%
Golfcrest / Bellfort / Reveille 36 56 $94,553 24.14% 0.52%
Greater Eastwood 72 15 $144,180 31.08% 4.28%
Greater Fifth Ward 75 36 $76,589 30.43% -1.65%
Greater Greenspoint 74 14 $88,450 34.83% 8.31%
Greater Heights 23 27 $240,320 22.69% 6.00%
Greater Hobby 16 67 $110,400 17.56% 3.66%
Greater Inwood 52 51 $99,194 22.73% 6.81%
Greater OST / South Union 79 47 $93,200 25.30% 2.07%
Greater Third Ward 83 1 $151,700 36.19% 17.31%
Greater Uptown 18 17 $400,916 29.69% 5.36%
Greenway / Upper Kirby 14 11 $372,083 33.30% 13.83%
Gulfgate Riverview / Pine Valley 45 20 $107,400 27.31% 4.79%
Gulfton 67 16 $235,260 44.32% -7.34%
Harrisburg / Manchester 31 64 $83,086 20.41% 0.69%
Hidden Valley 27 55 $85,975 21.74% 1.88%
Hunterwood 33 83 $88,500 15.33% -1.66%
IAH Airport 60 50 $110,767 24.38% 10.11%
Independence Heights 58 37 $78,160 29.56% 1.44%
Kashmere Gardens 77 61 $68,078 25.99% 1.61%
Kingwood 1 88 $197,485 9.84% 5.60%
Lake Houston 5 81 $163,969 10.43% 12.21%
Langwood 38 42 $111,425 26.44% 5.30%
Lawndale/ Wayside 34 35 $105,433 27.15% 0.05%
Lazybrook/Timbergrove 25 22 $226,157 27.06% 7.39%
Macgregor 71 8 $176,210 31.23% 8.81%
Magnolia Park 49 38 $91,725 29.44% 3.05%
Meadowbrook/Allendale 20 69 $87,844 18.55% 1.55%
Medical Center 10 19 $350,833 28.35% -3.95%
Memorial 8 58 $321,573 19.47% 19.41%
Meyerland 9 74 $271,733 16.93% 1.07%
Mid-West 66 9 $214,527 37.31% 5.17%
Midtown 78 4 $212,443 34.01% 7.66%
Minnetex 84 44 $94,467 24.73% 6.49%
Museum Park 12 6 $300,000 38.00% 22.34%
Near Northside 63 31 $101,280 27.55% 9.02%
Neartown/Montrose 24 3 $344,820 30.79% 3.20%
Northshore 47 59 $81,345 25.20% 4.57%
Northside/Northline 41 40 $81,213 23.97% 4.77%
Park Place 32 57 $81,467 26.02% 0.73%
Pecan Park 48 43 $86,700 29.72% -3.84%
Pleasantville 53 84 $74,033 21.42% -5.86%
Second Ward 55 21 $108,900 30.27% 8.51%
Seattegast 81 62 $57,400 25.35% 0.03%
Sharpstown 62 25 $95,819 35.60% 6.11%
South Acres/ Crestmont Park 80 72 $83,886 18.61% 3.53%
South Belt/ Ellington 19 53 $118,450 19.59% 12.04%
South Main 88 24 $68,300 34.73% 9.59%
South Park 76 86 $63,900 18.24% -6.89%
Spring Branch Central 40 30 $181,171 30.63% -1.18%
Spring Branch East 17 48 $208,167 26.72% 3.40%
Spring Branch North 50 28 $142,300 27.08% 15.30%
Spring Branch West 37 41 $142,438 26.06% 2.19%
Sunnyside 86 75 $73,350 25.36% -3.29%
Trinity / Houston Gardens 82 85 $59,763 17.96% -1.99%
University Place 2 13 $502,820 24.98% -1.37%
Washington Avenue Coalition/Memorial Park 15 2 $293,157 25.21% 18.85%
Westbranch 4 82 $201,800 10.70% 4.58%
Westbury 22 79 $169,018 18.55% -1.91%
Westchase 73 12 $162,150 38.78% 0.98%
Westwood 87 23 $60,683 45.33% 4.21%
Willow Meadows / Willowbend area 30 39 $203,867 24.18% 5.20%
Willowbrook 21 32 $131,283 24.64% 14.24%

Methodology


We mapped U.S. Census Bureau tracts in the 2013 American Community Survey with Houston’s Super Neighborhoods as defined by the City of Houston’s Planning and Development Department.

Millennial neighborhoods. The metrics used to determine the best neighborhoods for millennials were equally weighted.

1. Rental environment. Millennials are largely renters, so we looked at the percentage of residents in a neighborhood who are renters as well the median rental costs in the area. Low rent was treated as positive, and the renter percentage was treated as positive.

2. Population. We looked at the number of residents ages 20-34 to find the percentage of millennials in the population, as well the overall population growth from 2010 to 2013. Both variables were treated positively.

3. Economic conditions. We wanted to find a healthy community for millennials. We looked at median home value and the unemployment rate, treating a high home value as positive, and a high unemployment rate as negative.

4. Singles. Millennials are looking to mingle, so we weighed the percentage of single residents in a neighborhood as positive.

Family neighborhoods. The metrics used to determine the best neighborhoods for families were equally weighted.

1. Other families. We assumed families want to live close to other families, so we positively valued the percentage of residents who reported themselves as married-couple families in the census.

2. Stable neighbors. Since stability is valued in a family community, we looked at the number of households whose residents lived in the same house the previous year.

3. Economic conditions. A healthy economic environment is a positive indicator in a community. We determined that low unemployment rates and high family incomes are markers of a solid neighborhood.


A view of the skyline of downtown Houston, Texas, via iStock.