This map from Rise of the Creative Class author Richard Florida’s series at The Atlantic on “class-divided cities” shows where Houston’s working, service, and creative classes live.
Denoted here in purple, what Florida considers the creative class — that is, he writes, “people who work in science and technology, business and management, arts and culture, media and entertainment, and law and healthcare professions” — makes up 33 percent of Houston’s workers; that’s just a little bit larger than the national average, according to Florida, of 32.6 percent.
And what about the service and working classes?
According to Florida, Houston’s service class — that is, “low-wage, low-skill occupations in the service sector, such as food service and preparation, retail sales, and clerical and administrative positions” — is substantially smaller at 42.5 percent than the 46.6 percent national average.
And the working class? That’s substantially larger here: 24.4 percent compared with 20.5 percent.
One striking feature of Houston’s class geography is the relatively large number of working class areas that remain in the city proper. Not only does this stand in sharp contrast to post-industrial cities like Washington, D.C., but also compared to once heavy manufacturing cities like Detroit, Philadelphia, and Boston. Houston has by far the largest number of concentrated urban working class enclaves of any city covered in this series. This reflects the region’s history as a center for the petroleum, petrochemical and related industries, as well as blue-collar activity around Port of Houston, one of the nation’s busiest.
The map below shows the class geography of the metro area:
- Class-Divided Cities: Houston Edition [The Atlantic Cities]
Maps: Zara Matheson