Houston, TX

68
How we calculate the Houston ParkScore® Ranking

The ranking for Houston is based on how it compares nationally on five characteristics of an excellent park system: acreage, access, investment, amenities, and equity.

Download Houston’s ParkScore Report

See Methodology

See the Map

Acreage
52 pts
Access
49 pts
Investment
35 pts
Amenities
40 pts
Equity
52 pts
61% of Houston residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park.
Median City, 100 most populous U.S. cities: 74%
Median City, all urban cities and towns in U.S.: 55%

We’re working to ensure that every person, in every neighborhood, in every city across America has a quality park within a 10-minute walk of home.

Houston residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park
The average distance most people are willing to walk to reach a destination is 10-minutes or roughly half a mile. The 10-minute walk standard helps us examine the availability of parks close to home.
By Age (%)
Children (0 - 19)
60
Adults (20 - 64)
61
Seniors (65+)
63
By Income (%)
High Income
65
Middle Income
60
Low Income
59
By Race/Ethnicity (%)
Native American*
63
Asian*
61
Black*
57
Hispanic
60
Pacific Islander*
64
White*
68
2 or More Races*
65
Other*
60
*Excludes those who report Hispanic origin (which is captured separately from race by the U.S. Census).
Comparing amount of park space between neighborhoods by race/ethnicity
Across the country, parks located in neighborhoods with a majority of residents of color are half the size of parks in predominantly white neighborhoods yet serve five times more people per acre, according to TPL park equity data. In Houston, residents in neighborhoods of color* have access to 3% more park space per person than the city’s average neighborhood and 6% more than those in white neighborhoods. Additionally, we compared park space in the city’s average neighborhood with others by specific race and ethnicity:
*Neighborhoods of color are defined as those in Houston with the highest concentrations of people who identify as Black, Hispanic, Indigenous and Native American, Asian American, Pacific Islander, multiple races, or other communities of color (more information).
Comparing amount of park space between neighborhoods by income
Across the country, parks serving low-income households are four times smaller yet serve four times more people per acre than parks serving high-income households, according to TPL park equity data. In Houston, residents in low-income neighborhoods have access to 12% less park space per person than those in the average Houston neighborhood and 32% less than those in high-income neighborhoods.
13% of Houston’s land is used for parks and recreation.
National median 15%
How do park amenities measure up?
Parks help foster healthy, inclusive, and flourishing communities—the cities with the highest ParkScore ratings are healthier places to live. These six amenities reflect activities popular among a diverse selection of user groups (kids, teenagers, adults, seniors). For each amenity, Houston is awarded points based on their abundance relative to the other 99 cities.
Basketball Hoops
45/100pts
3.9 per 10,000 people
Playgrounds
34/100pts
2.6 per 10,000 people
Rec & Senior Centers
39/100pts
0.7 per 20,000 people
Dog Parks
39/100pts
1.2 per 100,000 people
Bathrooms
27/100pts
1 per 10,000 people
Splashpads
56/100pts
1.8 per 100,000 people
How much is Houston investing in parks?
We compared Houston with the other 100 most populous cities in the nation on total park investment per person, aggregating all public and private spending for any publicly accessible park in the city. Visit our City Park Facts database to see how the other big cities stack up.
Park Investment (Three-Year Average)
  • City agency
    $39 (35%)
  • Other public agencies
    $26.38 (24%)
  • Private organizations
    $42.89 (39%)
  • Monetized volunteer hours
    $0.85 (1%)
$110
Total Spending Per Capita
  • National benchmark: Relative park spending by organization type
  • Average among 100 most populous cities
  • City agency: 86%
  • Other public agencies: 7%
  • Private organizations: 5%
  • Monetized volunteer hours: 2%
  • Total per capita spending: $124 per person
Make the Commitment
Pledge to make parks a priority!
Everyone should have access to a quality park within a 10-minute walk of home. Our 10-Minute Walk™ Program calls on mayors to demonstrate their commitment to parks and adopt long-term, system-wide strategies that accelerate the creation of parks.