It’s Space City versus the Second City: According to new reports, massive job growth in Houston will soon propel it above Chicago in US rankings for biggest population.

Currently, according to US Census estimates for 2014, Chicago’s population is estimated be around 2.7 million people, and Houston’s is only 2.2 million. But those numbers are expected to change, according to official health department data for both states, Reuters reports. By 2025, Chicago will apparently dip to 2.5 million people, but sprawling Houston will reach 2.54 to 2.7 million residents.

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Between 2000 and 2010, the Houston metro saw a 26% blast in population growth. In January, Houston topped Forbes’ Fastest-Growing Cities in America list. How’d Houston do it? A huge energy industry, a huge aerospace industry, low taxes, low cost of living, and a crap ton of land. If Texas were its own country, it would have the twelfth biggest GDP in the world. And it’s not just Americans heading to Texas in droves. In Houston alone, one in five residents was born in a different country, and over 90 languages are spoken in the city.

That being said, Texas companies and universities know they’re increasingly in the spotlight, which breeds a desire to stand out as an innovation hub. For example, a Texas organization is working to build a Japan-style bullet train linking Dallas and Houston. And according to data gathered from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown metro has the second most engineers in the country, behind Silicon Valley.

As Reuters puts it: “Houston also embodies the new, urban Texas, where political views have been drifting to the left, diversity is being embraced and newer residents are just as likely to drive a hybrid as a pickup truck.”

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America’s biggest city in New York, which is estimated to have a population of around 8.5 million people, followed by Los Angeles at 3.9 million, then Chicago. Houston is fourth and Philadelphia is fifth, at 1.5 million.

[Reuters]

Top image: Wikimedia Commons

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