Survey Says: Klineberg Speaks at UST
Dr. Stephen Klineberg, who has done extensive research on the evolution of Houston, will give a free lecture on “The Changing Face of Houston: Tracking the Economic and Demographic Transformations through 31 Years of Surveys.” The Cameron School of Business Advisory Board Lecture Series will host Klineberg at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 13 in the Scanlan Room, Jerabeck Activity and Athletic Center, 4000 Mt. Vernon.
“The Houston region recovered from the collapse of the oil-boom in the 1980s to find itself in the midst of a restructured, knowledge-based, fully global economy and a truly remarkable demographic revolution,” Klineberg said.
Klineberg’s presentation will enlighten attendees on the changes in Houston relevant to the workforce and the University. Klineberg, the co-director of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research and a professor of sociology at Rice University, will discuss the growing inequalities, the new importance of quality-of-life issues, the demographic revolution and the future of Houston.
Houston’s Job Market is Booming But Families Struggle
“The gap between rich and poor in today’s economy has been expanding, predicated above all else on access to quality education,” Klineberg said. “In this increasingly unequal, high-tech, knowledge economy, education has become the critical determinant of a person’s ability to earn enough money to support a family.”
Although Houston has one of the strongest job markets in the nation, there has been no change at all in the proportion of Harris County residents who say that they have been doing better financially during the past 12 months. Also, more survey respondents in 2012 than in previous years said they have had difficulty buying the groceries to feed their families.
Houston’s Marketability Needs to Break Former Perceptions
Klineberg will also address this area’s image problems.
“Most of the people who live in the Houston region came here in search of jobs, and then have been pleasantly surprised by all of its amenities – the low cost of living, the quality of its venues for sports, arts, and culture, the richness of its hiking, boating and birding areas,” he said. “Houston’s problem is not in selling this city to the people who live here. It’s that the people who don’t live in Houston are still predisposed to say: ‘Yuck! Why would anyone want to live in Houston, Texas?’ The central challenge for this city, as it positions itself for prosperity in the knowledge economy, is to change that perception.”
A graduate of Haverford College, with a master’s degree from the University of Paris and a doctorate from Harvard, Klineberg and his students initiated the annual “Kinder Institute Houston Area Survey” in 1982, now in its fourth decade of tracking the remarkable changes in the demographic patterns, economic outlooks, experiences and beliefs of Harris County residents. The recipient of 12 major teaching awards, including the Lifetime Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Piper Professor Award, Klineberg was recently featured in a documentary film on the first 30 years of the Houston surveys and is completing a series of reports on this research at the Kinder Institute for Urban Research.
Learn more about how Klineberg describes the ongoing demographic transformation and why he believes it can be one of the greatest assets for the future of Houston, at this informative presentation. RSVP at www.stthom.edu/KlinebergLecture.