New survey paints Houston as the pulse of the nation

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by Jeremy Desel / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on April 25, 2013 at 11:30 AM

HOUSTON -- Attitudes in Houston are changing on a number of controversial issues from immigration to gun control. That’s the finding of the 32nd annual Kinder Houston Area Survey released by Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research.

"Houston is definitely not what people think of when they think of Texas," said Kaitlyn Steffen, a Houston student who recently moved here from Wisconsin.

Stephen Klineberg said he has proof of that.

"Houston attitudes are virtually identical to the national figures,” said Klineberg. “We are a much more typical American city.”

For example, Texas is seen as “gun country,” but in Houston, 89 percent are in favor of universal background check for all gun sales.

That’s in line with polling around the nation, but not the votes and speeches of Texas’ lawmakers.

Houston's minority population is the majority more than ever.

The city is shifting from a culture of sprawl to a more urban environment. In fact, now 52 percent of Houstonians see their future as urban instead of the suburbs.

While the face of the city is changing, the views are too.

“It is more the city and more opportunity. That is what people come to America for," Steffen said in regards to immigration.

Attitudes are changing here about those who are here illegally.

"I believe everybody should have a fair chance this is America. I think they should," said Jessica Preston, a lifelong Houston resident.

Nearly 85 percent of Houstonians surveyed this year agree. That’s up from 69 percent just four years ago.

Why?

"We are in the midst of a demographic revolution," Klineberg said.

Houston youth are much more likely to have tolerance on hot button issues, compared to their parents or grandparents.

"This is where the American future is going to be worked out," Klineberg said.

That's because in Houston it is already there.

Click here for more information on the Kinder Houston Area Survey.

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