Census numbers show population boom for Houston, Harris County - Houston weather, traffic, news | FOX 26 | MyFoxHouston

Census numbers show population boom for Houston, Harris County

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

If you think traffic in Houston is bad now, just wait. Dr. Stephen Klineberg, a sociologist at Rice University says it could get worse.

"We're going to add another one million people to Harris County in the next 20 years another three million in the greater Houston and metropolitan area," said Dr. Klineberg.

He may be right. Thursday the Census Bureau released new numbers showing Harris County gained the most residents in the country, about 80,000 from 2011 to 2012.

"This is the great moment of transformation for this city," he said.

That's because Houston also came in a close second behind Dallas on the list of metro areas with the largest population increase, 125,000 new residents from 2011 to 2012.

Most of the growth, according to the Census Bureau, is due to the oil and gas boom, but not all of it.

"It's important to remember there are a lot of good jobs being produced in the city and lots of lousy jobs, lots of low pay dead-end jobs that do not pay enough for people to support a family," he said. "It's a growing gap between rich and poor."

That is just one of the challenges Dr. Klineberg says comes with rapid growth. The others, you guessed it, traffic, and lack of green space.

But there is good news says Dr. Klineberg.

"The light rail systems and the beginnings of improving mass transit, there are new opportunities for good density for an urbanism that provides the opportunity that people seek for urban life and diversity," he said.

Something else to be proud of, Klineberg says, Houston remains one of the least expensive major cities in America and the most single ethnically diverse in the country.

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