Whether or not you have a Texas drawl and resilience to year-round heat, Houston is an increasingly popular place to call home. Ambitious professionals and upwardly mobile families are finding that Houston doesn’t fit in a box, but ticks a lot of boxes. The greater Houston area got a 6.9/10 in the U.S. News’ annual “Best Places to Live” list. 

Metropolitan Houston has a higher population than Austin (by about a million and a half) and Dallas (by about a million). It is a sprawling metropolitan area, though lacking the congestion that typifies similar large cities. Coming in behind New York, LA and Chicago, Houston is the third largest city in the country and home to a diverse group of white collar and blue collar workers, all of whom find something to love.

One of the fastest-growing segments of Houston’s population is families, and it’s not hard to see why.

Why Is Houston a Great Place for Families?

Houston has a full scope of amenities for growing families. You can live in Houston at a reasonable cost of living and purchase a home for about $100k less than the national average. Whether you work at one of Houston’s 22 Fortune 500 companies or large medical or retail employers, the commute should be pretty reasonable. Houston has a solid labyrinth of multi-lane highways that encourage daily travel to businesses in the city.

Many families choose specific homes based on the school system. In the 2018-2019 school year, the Houston school district had over 200k students, 32% of whom were enrolled in bilingual learning programs. It is the 7th largest public school system in the country and the largest one in Texas. There are 159 elementary schools, 38 middle schools and 38 highschools within the 333 square miles of the greater Houston area. 251 out of the 278 campuses met educational standards without need for improvement.
Teachers in the Houston system make a slightly higher-than-average income. In addition to a reliable school system, each neighborhood in the city has its own merits. Read on to learn more about how the individual neighborhoods in Houston rate and what makes them uniquely great for incoming families.

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1. Kingwood

One of the most unique neighborhoods in North Houston, Kingwood is a master-planned community known as the “livable forest”. The neighborhood is located in Harris and Montgomery Counties with a population of about 81,500. 

Neighborhood

The neighborhood contains 25 unique “villages,” each with their own price range and styles of home. It is known as the “livable forest” because the neighborhood contains about 15,000 acres of woodland, parks and preserves. Almost all villages have a community pool and playground for residents, which makes it perfect for kids. 

Schools

Students in Harris County are part of the Humble Independent School District, which is one of the fastest growing school districts in the country. It is known as an excellent school district that provides high quality education for students. Those residing in Montgomery County attend schools in the New Caney Independent School District, which is also a great choice for students. 

Things to do

There are plenty of outdoor activities and public facilities such as pools and playgrounds for families living in Kingwood. There are also many golf courses and clubhouses for parents to unwind at. 

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2. Clear Lake

A waterfront master-planned community, Clear Lake is an excellent place to raise a family in East Houston. The neighborhood is part of Harris County and is almost as large as Kingwood.

Neighborhood

Nestled right in the Bay Area, Clear Lake is subdivided into many smaller neighborhoods, such as Oakbrook and Meadowgreen. Many of these neighborhoods have public pool and playground facilities for residents to use. There are also a variety of country clubs located in Clear Lake.

Schools

Students of Clear Lake and Harris County attend schools overseen by the Clear Creek Independent School District. This school district was ranked as “exemplary” in 2010, a ranking of which only 29% of all schools in Texas also received. 

Things to do

The most noteworthy pro for Clear Lake is that it sits right across from the Johnson Space Center. Many of the residents in Clear Lake also work for the Space Center in a variety of different capacities. Families can visit the center and attend tours. Within the city there are also many parks, pools, playgrounds and other fun places for families to visit.

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3. Richmond

Located in South Houston, this community consists of smaller neighborhoods and communities. The city is the county seat of Fort Bend County and has a population of about 11,500. This is a great place for families because residents can choose to live in the suburbs or closer to the center of the city.

Neighborhood

The two main neighborhoods within Richmond are Hillcrest and Winston Terrace. Hillcrest contains larger, more expensive homes and Winston Terrace is full of tree-lined streets and mid-century modern homes. There are many more neighborhoods within Richmond that would be great for families.

Schools

Students living in Richmond attend Lamar Consolidated Independent School District schools. The schools in this school district are excellent and always receive great rankings by the Texas Education Agency. 

Things to do

There are so many wonderful activities for families to do together. Richmond has public pools, libraries, parks and playgrounds for kids to enjoy. The city also has many nice restaurants and lounges for adults to enjoy during a night out. 

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4. Pearland

Families who are looking for a short commute to downtown Houston and affordable housing should consider Pearland. Located in South Houston, Pearland is part of Brazoria, Fort Bend and Harris counties and has a population of about 91,000.

Neighborhood

Pearland is home to many different communities and neighborhoods. This area has a cost of living slightly higher than the average neighborhood in Houston, but it is known for being safe and family-friendly. Pearland is a great community with brand new, planned neighborhoods and gentrified older communities.

Schools

Because Pearland encompasses such a large area, there are many different school districts that serve the students living there. 

These are the school districts in Pearland:

Things to do

In Pearland, one of the main sources of entertainment for families is the superb recreation facilities. There are also many shopping complexes if you need a little retail therapy. Pearland also contains many national and local restaurants. Pearland is a great, quiet place to raise a family.

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5. Missouri City

If you are looking for a spacious plot of land and a beautiful country home, then Missouri City is the place for you. Located in South Houston, Missouri City falls under both Fort Bend County and Harris County and has a population of about 67,000.

Neighborhood

The communities in Missouri City are mostly suburbs, such as Lake Olympia and Riverstone. Families interested in moving here can choose from smaller, more affordable homes to large, expensive mansions. Most of the communities also have public pools and playgrounds for residents to use. 

Schools

Missouri City students are served by Fort Bend Independent School District and Houston Independent School District. The schools have high rankings and test scores as students excel in their classes.

Things to do

One of the things that Missouri City is best known for is the parks. The Missouri City Parks and Recreation department oversees 20 parks with dozens of trails, playgrounds, athletic complexes and other kinds of facilities. The area is also known for the delicious food served up by the local restaurants.

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6. Sugar Land

In Fort Bend County, Sugar Land has a population of about 79,000. As one of the fastest growing towns in Texas, Sugar Land is home to many families who are attracted to its great schools and fun, nearby activities.

Neighborhood

The neighborhoods in Sugar Land mostly consist of sprawling suburbs. While most of the neighborhoods are free-standing, there are also some developed neighborhoods such as Telfair. These neighborhoods contain all kinds of homes from small, historic townhouses to classic southern style mansions. 

Schools

Most students within Sugar Land are served by the Sugar Land Independent School District. The schools in this area are highly rated for elementary, middle and high school education. 

Things to do

Many residents head to Sugar Land Town Square on the nights and weekends to shop and dine. There are also many public pools, playgrounds and recreation facilities. Families can even go ice skating at the Sugar Land Ice and Sports Center.

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7. Friendswood

This small town was ranked as one of 100 of the best places to live in America in 2007 by CNN Money magazine. Located in East Houston and located within Galveston and Harris counties, Friendswood has a population of about 34,000 people. 

Neighborhood

This neighborhood is all about small town energy and suburban living. In Friendswood, you can find homes that fit all price ranges. Many communities have clubhouses, public pools, tennis courts and other amenities that families can use.

Schools

Students residing in Friendswood attend schools overseen by Friendswood Independent School District or Clear Creek Independent School District. These schools are highly ranked by the Texas Education Agency. 

Things to do

Because it is located so close to the bay, many families hit the beach on the weekend or head to one of the local pools or complexes. There are also a variety of parks with trails, playgrounds and areas for dogs. One of the top attractions is the Bayou Wildlife Zoo.

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8. Katy

Located in West Houston, Katy resides in Harris, Fort Bend and Waller counties. A city with a small town feel and plenty of recreational activities, Katy only has a population of 14,102.

Neighborhood

Most of the communities in Katy are beautiful suburbs with pools and recreational facilities. The homes range from upscale, high-end living to mid-range homes. Every family will feel comforted by the friendly community, quality homes and safe streets in Katy.

Schools

The schools in Katy are overseen by the Katy Independent School District. These schools are excellent for families who want smaller class sizes and higher teacher-to-student ratios.

Things to do

Although Katy may be a small town, there is still plenty to do. Visit one of the many parks in the town or head to Central Green for a movie. There is even a waterpark for those who are after a little more of a thrill.

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9. Cypress

A high income area located in North Houston, Cypress is located in Harris County. Known for excellent schools and beautiful neighborhoods, Cypress is a great place to settle down. 

Neighborhood

If you are looking for a high-end suburb with top-of-the-line facilities, then you should head to Cypress. With gated communities, amazing pools, tennis courts, clubhouses and golf clubs, you will have all of the amenities you could ever dream of. The average home in Cypress starts in the mid $200ks but there are waterfront areas with homes between $2M-$5M.

Schools

The schools in Cypress are some of the best in Houston. They are served by the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District and have excellent ratings by the Texas Education Agency. 

Things to do

The best thing to do in Cypress is to lounge by the pool or hit the golf course. Families can also visit one of the area's beautifully maintained parks or recreational facilities. You’ll never run out of things to do or places to go!

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10. The Woodlands

This master-planned community is one of the most affluent in Houston. Located in Montgomery and Harris counties, this community is located in the North Houston area.

Neighborhood

Families move to the Woodlands for its beautiful homes, safe neighborhoods, incredible amenities and family-friendly living. Made up of mostly suburbs, it is perfect for people looking to get away from big city life. With many of the homes coming with inground pools, large open floor plans and beautiful landscaping, residents enjoy the good life in Woodlands. 

Schools

Most students in the Woodlands go to schools within the Conroe Independent School District. These schools have excellent ratings and high test scores. There are also many private schools for parents to choose from.

Things to do

There are tons of things for families to do in the Woodlands. With multiple movie theaters, over a hundred restaurants, music festivals and more, residents are never bored in this elegant little town.

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Living in Houston

Family life in Houston can be sweet. There are plenty of options for entertainment, education and employment. The median age of Houston residents is 33 years old. This means that, if you’re a young family looking for a fresh start, you’ll be in good company.

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