Houston is known for many things — its sprawl, being the global energy capital, its infamous traffic, its world-class arts institutions and its inspiring levels of diversity, to name a few. But as a vast region that spans 9,500 square miles, no one piece of conventional wisdom about Houston applies to our whole region.

Making sense of Houston requires nuanced, county-by-county data that connects the dots and helps unpack the many factors affecting quality of life for the 7 million residents of Greater Houston. That’s why we created Understanding Houston.

With more than 200 data points spread across eight topics and an ever-growing library of blogs, there are many ways to use and explore Understanding Houston. Whether you’re researching for an article, preparing a presentation, looking for areas of need or just trying to better understand life in Houston, these 5 tips will help you get the most out of your experience with Understanding Houston.

Search for data about life in Houston

Search for any set of keywords related to life in Houston to discover a range of relevant resources. 

Searching for data about Houston can be a challenge, especially when any given issue often intersects with many other vital topics. When you start researching on Understanding Houston, you won’t only find the main data you were after, but also related information and community perspectives to help deepen your research in ways you may not have expected. 

Click the links to see how data points intersect

While you explore a particular topic, click on the links to connect the dots and see how various data points relate to one another.

Data rarely exists in a vacuum, and any given fact often requires several others to tell a complete story. So as you explore the data on any given topic, we encourage you to click the linked text near and around the many charts and data points. These links will take you directly to related points of interest and will help you make valuable connections. 

Create and export charts

Toggle the data and click “Export Image” to download the exact right chart for your needs.

Understanding Houston covers Houston’s three most populous counties, but what if you only need data about one county, or even just the state? On most of our charts, you are able to switch on the data you want and exclude the data you don’t need.

Need the chart for a presentation or a report? Simply click export to download the chart complete with modifications made on the page. 

Deepen your understanding with community perspectives

Understanding Houston offers blogs from team members and community leaders, updated regularly.

We know that data doesn’t tell us everything. Historical context, new ideas and community perspectives are necessary to help us gain the fullest possible picture of any given issue.

That’s why our team works with a variety of experts and community leaders to deepen our content library through blogs and essays. Combining regional data and personal perspective, these pieces add additional depth to the issues that matter most, and can help you expand your understanding of the issues you encounter throughout the site. 

Vote for the topics that matter most to you

While exploring the site, click “Vote” on the topics you’d like to see more of in the future.

Understanding Houston is an ongoing project. We are always monitoring for new data, new insights, and new ways to make our platform more useful and accessible to everyone. That’s why we ask visitors to click “Vote” on the pages that interest them most.

Your votes help us prioritize improvements to the site, inform our future community-driven work and could result in substantial updates to the content that matters most to you as we work to update the site.

Help us keep Houston connected to what matters

As a community-driven initiative, Understanding Houston is dedicated to helping community leaders, activists and philanthropists do what matters most in our region. That means adding vital perspective, context and analysis to the most important issues affecting our region today.

To keep up with our mission, learn how you can get involved, join our mailing list and follow us on your favorite social media channels and see how we use data to help make sense of life in Houston.

Already loving Understanding Houston? Let us know how you’ve been using the website and what you’d like to see more of in future updates by filling out the form here.  

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