City of Houston Comes Out on Top of Arts Growth Study Commissioned by Houston

Not unlike London, which ranked first in several categories of a survey of global cultural capitals that it commissioned, the city of Houston is patting itself on the back for being on the brink of a major arts boom according to a survey it paid to have conducted. The Texan metropolis beat out Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia, and cross-state arch rival Dallas, according to the analysts from EMSI to whom the nonprofit Houston Arts Alliance gave money for the laudatory analysis.

All suspicious of Texas-sized ego-stroking aside, however, the report “The Creative Economy of Houston” compared the six cities’ respective creative-sector economies and found that the city that raised Beyoncé, Wes Anderson, Hilary Duff, and Haylie Duff is on track for major growth in its arts economy. Among its more notable findings, the Houston Art Alliance highlighted these in today’s announcement:

— Houston and Dallas were the only cities that showed a creative-sector gain between 2001 and 2011 with Houston growing by 8 percent and Dallas by 1 percent.

— Houston boasts more than 146,000 people employed in the creative economy, creating an economic impact of more than $9.1 billion.

— Based on trends from the past decade, the study projects Houston’s 10-county Metropolitan Statistical Area will experience a 16 percent growth in the creative economy from 2001 to 2016, which is the largest expected gain among the comparison cities

The study also found that creative industry workers in Houston earn on average higher wages than their peers in four of the five other cities (Chicago pays better), and that the cost of living in Houston is lower than it is in Chicago and Los Angeles, the only cities surveyed that have larger populations.

“Houston’s economy has proven to be a constant and sturdy force to be reckoned with, and ‘The Creative Economy Study’ results reinforces (sic) that the best is yet to come,” Annise Parker, Houston’s Mayor, said in today’s announcement. “We have jobs available in many industries, including the creative class. As we continue to grow, I know Houston will remain an optimal location for aspiring and established artists alike.  I look forward to watching creative businesses continue to flourish in Houston.”

— Benjamin Sutton