Is Houston Bigger Than Atlanta? A Detailed Comparison

Whether you’re looking to move to one of these major Southern cities or just curious to know how they stack up, you’re probably wondering – is Houston bigger than Atlanta? If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Yes, Houston is significantly larger than Atlanta in both population and land area.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll look at detailed stats on population, land size, economy, transportation, climate, and more to help you fully compare these two major metro areas in Texas and Georgia.


Houston has over 2.3 million residents within the city limits while Atlanta has around 500,000 residents within the city itself.

When comparing the population of Houston and Atlanta within their respective city limits, Houston takes the lead with over 2.3 million residents. This makes Houston a much larger city in terms of population compared to Atlanta, which has around 500,000 residents within the city itself.

The higher population in Houston can be attributed to various factors such as economic opportunities, diverse industries, and a larger geographical area.

The Houston metro area has about 7 million people compared to 5.8 million in the Atlanta metro area.

Looking at the population of the entire metro areas, Houston still surpasses Atlanta, but the difference is not as significant. The Houston metro area is estimated to have around 7 million people, while the Atlanta metro area has approximately 5.8 million residents.

While Houston has a larger population overall, both cities have experienced significant growth in recent years, attracting people from different parts of the country.

Houston is the 4th largest city in the US while Atlanta comes in at number 38 in population.

When considering the rankings of the largest cities in the United States, Houston holds an impressive position as the fourth largest city. With its population exceeding 2.3 million residents, Houston stands among the top urban centers in the country.

On the other hand, Atlanta comes in at number 38 in terms of population. Despite its lower ranking, Atlanta still maintains its significance as a major economic and cultural hub in the southeastern region of the United States.

It’s important to note that population figures can vary depending on the source and the specific criteria used for calculation. The statistics mentioned here are based on available data at the time of writing this article.

Land Area

Houston covers 627 square miles while Atlanta covers 134 square miles.

When it comes to land area, Houston takes the lead by a significant margin. Covering a whopping 627 square miles, Houston is more than four times larger than Atlanta, which covers only 134 square miles. This makes Houston one of the largest cities in the United States in terms of land area.

The Houston metro area covers over 10,000 square miles compared to 8,000 for Atlanta’s metro area.

Not only is Houston larger in terms of its city limits, but its metropolitan area also extends much further. The Houston metro area covers over 10,000 square miles, while Atlanta’s metro area covers approximately 8,000 square miles.

This means that Houston’s influence and reach extend far beyond the city itself, encompassing a vast area of land.

Houston’s large incorporated area and sprawling design contributes to its much larger land coverage.

One of the reasons for Houston’s larger land coverage is its unique design and layout. Unlike many other cities that have a more compact and concentrated city center, Houston is known for its sprawling design.

The city has a large incorporated area that includes many suburban neighborhoods and surrounding unincorporated areas. This expansive layout allows Houston to cover a much larger land area compared to cities like Atlanta, which have a more centralized and compact design.

Additionally, Houston’s land area is further expanded by its numerous parks, green spaces, and water bodies. The city is home to several large parks, such as Memorial Park and Hermann Park, as well as the Buffalo Bayou, which winds its way through the heart of Houston.

These natural features contribute to the overall land coverage of the city.

For more information on the land area of Houston and Atlanta, you can visit the official websites of the respective cities:


Houston has the nation’s 6th largest GDP at around $490 billion, while Atlanta’s GDP is about $385 billion, putting it at 10th largest.

When it comes to economic powerhouses, both Houston and Atlanta have impressive numbers. However, Houston takes the lead with the nation’s 6th largest GDP, standing at around $490 billion. This figure is a testament to the city’s thriving industries and robust economic growth.

On the other hand, Atlanta’s GDP is no slouch either, coming in at about $385 billion, securing its position as the 10th largest in the country. These numbers highlight the significant economic contributions that both cities make to the nation’s overall prosperity.

Houston’s economy relies heavily on oil/gas and the port, while Atlanta has a more diversified economy with major corporations like Coca-Cola and Delta.

When it comes to the drivers of their respective economies, Houston and Atlanta have different strengths. Houston’s economy heavily relies on the oil and gas industry, with numerous companies in this sector calling the city home.

Additionally, the Port of Houston plays a crucial role in the city’s economy, serving as a vital hub for international trade. On the other hand, Atlanta boasts a more diversified economy, with major corporations like Coca-Cola and Delta Air Lines headquartered in the city.

Atlanta’s strong presence in sectors such as finance, technology, and logistics contributes to its economic stability and growth.

Both cities have thriving business sectors, but Houston’s economy is larger overall.

Both Houston and Atlanta have vibrant business sectors that contribute significantly to their respective economies. However, when comparing the overall size, Houston takes the lead. With its booming oil and gas industry, robust port operations, and a range of thriving businesses, Houston’s economy is larger in scale.

Its impressive GDP and economic output make it a powerhouse not only in the region but also on a national level. Nonetheless, Atlanta’s diverse range of industries and major corporate headquarters contribute to its own economic success and growth.


The Houston metro area is served by 3 major airports while Atlanta has the busiest single airport in the world.

When it comes to air travel, both Houston and Atlanta offer convenient options for travelers. The Houston metro area is served by three major airports: George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), William P. Hobby Airport (HOU), and Ellington Field (EFD).

On the other hand, Atlanta is home to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), which holds the title of the busiest single airport in the world. With over 107 million passengers in 2019, ATL offers a wide range of domestic and international flights to accommodate the needs of travelers from all over the globe.

Both cities struggle with traffic congestion but Atlanta ranks slightly worse at 10th most congested US city vs. Houston at 16th.

It’s no secret that traffic congestion can be a major headache for residents and commuters in large cities. Both Houston and Atlanta are no exception to this problem. According to recent statistics, Atlanta ranks slightly worse than Houston when it comes to traffic congestion.

In fact, Atlanta is ranked as the 10th most congested city in the United States, while Houston follows closely behind at 16th. However, it’s important to note that both cities have implemented various measures to alleviate traffic congestion, such as HOV lanes, improved public transportation options, and ongoing infrastructure projects.

Atlanta has an extensive rail system while Houston’s public transit options lag behind other major metros.

When it comes to public transportation, Atlanta takes the lead with its extensive rail system. The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) operates both a subway and a light rail system, providing residents and visitors with a convenient way to navigate the city.

On the other hand, Houston’s public transit options, while improving, still lag behind other major metros. The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) operates a bus system and a light rail line, but the coverage and frequency may not be as extensive as in Atlanta.

However, it’s worth mentioning that Houston has been making efforts to expand its public transportation system, including plans for additional light rail lines and bus rapid transit routes.


When it comes to climate, Houston and Atlanta both fall under the category of humid subtropical climates. However, there are some differences between the two cities.

Houston’s Climate

Houston is known for its hot and humid summers. The city experiences long periods of high temperatures, with average summer temperatures ranging from the mid-90s to low 100s Fahrenheit (35-38 degrees Celsius).

The humidity can make it feel even hotter, and the heat index can often reach triple digits. If you’re planning a visit to Houston during the summer, be sure to pack light and stay hydrated!

Atlanta’s Climate

Atlanta, on the other hand, has a slightly cooler climate compared to Houston. While still considered humid subtropical, the city experiences average summer temperatures in the mid to high 80s Fahrenheit (29-32 degrees Celsius).

The humidity levels are also lower in Atlanta, making the heat feel more bearable. However, it’s still important to stay hydrated and protect yourself from the sun’s rays.


When it comes to rainfall, both Houston and Atlanta see a fair amount throughout the year. On average, Houston receives around 50 inches of rain annually, while Atlanta averages around 48 inches. These numbers may not seem too different, but they can have an impact on the local environment, including the lush greenery and vibrant landscapes that both cities are known for.

Winter Months

While both cities enjoy mild winters, there is a slight difference when it comes to snowfall. Houston rarely sees snow, and when it does happen, it’s usually a light dusting that quickly melts. Atlanta, on the other hand, tends to get a bit more snow during the winter months.

Snowfall in Atlanta can range from a light covering to several inches, creating a picturesque winter wonderland.


As we’ve seen, Houston is substantially larger than Atlanta by both population and land area, with over 2 million more residents in the city proper and a metro population around 1.2 million larger. Houston also has a significantly larger and more robust economy centered around oil/gas and port industries. However, Atlanta bests Houston in some areas like transportation with its extensive rail system. Both cities have their own unique character, climate, and business landscapes in the South.

So in summary – yes, Houston is unambiguously bigger than Atlanta, but both cities offer their own compelling combination of economic opportunities, cultural attractions, climate, and more for residents and visitors.

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