The area that is now Pearland had its humble beginnings near a siding switch on the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway in 1882. When a post office was established in 1893, the community was originally named "Mark Belt". On September 24, 1894, the plat of "Pear-Land" was filed with the Brazoria County courthouse by Witold von Zychlinski, a man of Polish nobility. At the time Pearland had many fruits harvested by residents. Zychlinski saw the pear trees and decided that "Pearland" would make a good name for the community.
Pearland was promoted by developers Allison & Richey Land Company as an "agricultural Eden". The first subdivision was called "Suburban Gardens". The Galveston hurricane of 1900 and the Galveston hurricane of 1915 destroyed most of the fruit trees and slowed growth for a considerable period of time, and caused a period of desertification in the area. In 1914, with agriculture rebounding and the end of desertification, Pearland had a population of 400, but a devastating freeze in 1918 was another setback to the local farming enterprises. Oil was discovered nearby in 1934, which led to the development of the Hastings Oilfield, though it did not spur much growth, as the population fluctuated between 150 and 350. From the 1970s, the town has grown to its present-day population.
Pearland is located in northern Brazoria County at 29°33′16″N 95°17′45″W (29.554349, −95.295959) south of Houston. Portions of the city extend north into Harris County, and a smaller portion extends west into Fort Bend County. The city is bordered by Houston and Brookside Village to the north, by Manvel to the south, and by Friendswood to the east. Downtown Houston is 16 miles (26 km) to the north.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Pearland has a total area of 47.5 square miles (122.9 km2), of which 47.0 square miles (121.8 km2) is land and 0.46 square miles (1.2 km2), or 0.94%, is water.
In 2009 the city reported that the combined area of the city limits and of nearby unincorporated areas, including Country Place and Silverlake, was 72 square miles (190 km2).
As of the census of 2010, the city's population was 91,252, a 142% increase over the 2000 population of 37,640.
The racial makeup of the city as of the 2010 Census was 62.0% White, 16.4% African American, 0.5% Native American, 12.4% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 6.0% from "some other race", and 2.7% "two or more races". The Hispanic or Latino population, including persons of any race, was 20.5% of the total, and non-Hispanic whites made up 48.8%. The city is majority-minority.
As of the census of 2000, there had been 37,640 people, 13,192 households, and 10,659 families residing in the city. The population density was 957.0 people per square mile (369.5/km²). There were 13,922 housing units at an average density of 354.0 per square mile (136.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city as of 2000, was 82.6% White, 5.3% African American, 0.4% Native American, 3.6% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 6.1% "some other race", and 1.8% "two or more races". Hispanic or Latino of any race were 16.2% of the population.
The median income for a household in the city as of 2000 was $64,156, and the median income for a family was $70,748 (these figures had risen to $83,706 and $92,096 respectively as of a 2007 estimate). Males had a median income of $49,359 versus $34,570 for females. The per capita income for the city was $26,306. About 3.4% of families and 4.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.1% of those under age 18 and 3.5% of those age 65 or over.
The City of Pearland stated in 2009 that the estimated population in the city limits was 91,000, and that city population and the population of nearby unincorporated areas, including Country Place and Silverlake, was 125,000 altogether.
Pearland itself is ethnically diverse; 62 languages are spoken in Pearland public schools.
In the 1800s, Pearland consisted of prairie. Residents harvested fruit and vegetables such as cantaloupes, corn, figs, pears and watermelons. In the 1930s and 1940s Pearland had many dance halls and beer joints that entertained people from the Hastings and Manvel oil fields.
By 1990, the city limits had extended into Harris County. In the 1990s, home developers began buying large tracts of land, changing the geography of the city. Former rice fields filled with houses. The historic town center of Pearland is at the intersection of Texas State Highway 35/Main and Broadway. West Pearland has a lot of suburban development, while East Pearland has older houses and, according to Maggie Galehouse of the Houston Chronicle, Pearland's "rural roots still show" in the east side. Pearland's main east-west corridor is Farm to Market Road 518/Broadway.
Pearland's labor force and job base grew substantially with its population growth. The number of jobs in the community grew from 9,169 in 2000 to 17,552 in 2008. The total labor force that resides in the community increased from approximately 20,000 in 2000 to 45,368 in 2010. A majority of the community's labor force commutes daily into the Texas Medical Center and other employment centers in the region. Pearland also has many people employed by NASA at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center.
Pearland's workforce and community amenities have made Pearland an attractive location for large medical-related companies seeking new quarters. Kelsey-Seybold Clinic's new 170,000 square-foot administrative office building in Shadow Creek Ranch is expected to open in the Fall of 2013, with 800 employees. This follows two other medical manufacturing facilities: Cardiovascular Systems, which opened in 2010, and Merit Medical Systems, which began construction in 2011. The Merit project, 118,000 square feet, will provide facilities for 220 research and development employees.
Other employers are a reflection of Pearland's suburban economy, with the vast majority of it retail.
According to a 2014 Comprehensive Financial Report, the top employers in Pearland were:
Pearland was one of two Texas cities to average double-digit growth in retail sales from 2004 to 2009, and its retail market was the state's fastest growing over the five-year periods ending 2009, 2010, and 2011. Prominent mixed-use lifestyle and shopping complexes service residents with national retailers and dining establishments.Pearland Town Center – A 1,100,000 sq ft (100,000 m2). lifestyle center. Opened in July 2008. Includes Macy's, Dillard's, Sports Authority, and Barnes and Noble. Restaurants include BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse, La Madeline's, Gringos Mexican Kitchen, and Red Lobster.
Shadow Creek Town Center – A 640,265 sq ft (59,482.6 m2). Retail and dining center. Retail stores include HEB Plus, Academy Sports + Outdoors, Hobby Lobby, and Ashley Furniture. Also houses the Pearland Westside Library.
The Spectrum District – Existing developments include Bass Pro Shop. Proposed developments include urban residential, office, and retail projects.
Silverlake Village Shopping Center – Silverlake Village is anchored by Super Target, and features a host of other national retailers including Michael's, Marshalls, PetSmart, Ross, DSW, Office Depot and Randalls. Joe's Crab Shack, Saltgrass Steakhouse, Chili's, and Johnny Carino's as some of the restaurants located here.
The Crossing @ 288 – Best Buy, JCPenney, Old Navy, Bed Bath and Beyond, Half Price Books and other stores and restaurants such as Olive Garden and Chipotle's.
Shadow Creek Market Place – (Located at NW Corner of SC Pkwy & Hwy 288) Kroger Signature store, Cracker Barrel, Bank of America, Chase Bank and other stores.
Cinemark Movies 12
Pearland Medical Center
Reserve at SCR – Kelsey-Seybold, Memorial Herman and HCA
St. Luke's Emergency Center
Texas Children's Pediatrics
Methodist Comprehensive Care Center
In 2010 Geri Maria Harris of the Houston Press wrote that, while Pearland was not known for its restaurants, "if you happen to live there, you know there are plenty of places to get a good bite."C.V. "Vic" Coppinger Family YMCA Branch is located in Pearland.
The Pearland Parks and Recreation Department is a large, active city entity.
The Pearland Natatorium and Recreational Center is a large facility dedicated to providing quality services that connects the community through people, parks, and programs.
Elected city officials include:Mayor, Tom Reid [Term Expires May 2017]
Councilmember, Position 1: Tony Carbone
Councilmember, Position 2: Derrick Reed
Councilmember, Position 3: Gary Moore
Councilmember, Position 4: Keith Ordeneaux
Councilmember, Position 5: Greg Hill
Councilmember, Position 6: Trent Perez
The city is represented in the Congress in the 22nd District by Republican Pete Olson, elected in 2008.
The United States Postal Service operates the Pearland Post Office at 3519 East Walnut Street and the Silver Lake Post Office at 2700 Cullen Boulevard.
Eighty-three percent of Pearland is residential, which is a major contributing factor to the high population. The city is home to many master-planned communities; Sunrise Lakes, Southern Trails, Southdown, Lakes of Highland Glen, and Shadow Creek Ranch are among the most popular master-planned communities in Brazoria County. Country Place and Silverlake are in unincorporated areas near Pearland.
On December 5, 2011, The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County purchased 15.26 acres (6.18 ha) of land near Hwy. 288 and FM 518 in the Pearland area for a future "Park and Ride" facility. Alan Parker Properties LP represented the seller, Carolyn and Frank Wenglar, in the $3.95 million land sale. Metro, which currently operates 29 Park and Rides throughout Harris County, said that the new facility will give Brazoria County residents another option for traveling to the Texas Medical Center and other downtown Houston destinations. The new facility was scheduled to begin operations in the fall of 2013, but property was given to the city in a cash swap. The city is exploring a private run service or other uses for the property.
Skyway Manor Airport, a privately owned airport, is located within the Pearland city limits. Pearland Regional Airport, a privately owned airport, is located in unincorporated Brazoria County south of the Pearland city limits. Both airports allow public use.
The closest publicly owned airport is the Brazoria County Airport, located in an unincorporated area.
Commercial airline service is provided out of Houston from William P. Hobby Airport and George Bush Intercontinental Airport.
Pearland is served by State Highway 288 which connects the city to Houston. FM 518, locally known as Broadway, is the main east-west artery of the city. State Highway 35, locally called Main Street and known as Telephone Road, is the main north-south artery of the city. Given the spread out area, SH 288 serves the westernmost part of the city, while SH 35 serves the easternmost part as both connect Pearland to Houston (FM 865/Cullen Blvd also connects Houston as well in between). The Texas State Highway Beltway 8 (Sam Houston Tollway) services the northern part of Pearland. It is located adjacent to the northern Brazoria County and southeastern Harris County border. It also serves as one of the largest tollways in the Houston area.
Most of Pearland is a part of the Pearland Independent School District. Other portions of Pearland are part of Alvin Independent School District (including most of Shadow Creek Ranch), Fort Bend Independent School District (including some of Shadow Creek Ranch), Clear Creek Independent School District, Houston Independent School District, and Pasadena Independent School District.All schools in Pearland ISD, including Pearland High School and Glenda Dawson High School, serve the Pearland ISD portion of Pearland.
The Alvin ISD portion is served by several elementary and middle schools as well as Shadow Creek High School (in Pearland) and Manvel High School (in Manvel).
Most of the Fort Bend ISD portion is zoned to Blue Ridge Elementary School, McAuliffe Middle School, and Willowridge High School. A small area is zoned to Parks Elementary School, Lake Olympia Middle School, and Hightower High School.
Some of the Pasadena ISD portion is served by Moore Elementary School and the rest is served by South Belt Elementary School. One part is served by Morris Middle School and Beverly Hills Intermediate while the other is served by Melillo Middle School and Thompson Intermediate School. All Pasadena ISD residents in Pearland are zoned to Dobie High School (in Houston).
The Clear Creek ISD portion is served by Weber Elementary School, Westbrook Intermediate School, and Clear Brook High School, all in unincorporated Harris County).
The Houston ISD portion is served by Almeda Elementary School, Lawson Middle School (formerly Dowling Middle School), and Worthing High School (in Houston).
St. Helen Catholic School, a K-8 Roman Catholic School operated by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.
The Eagle Heights Christian Academy is operated by the First Baptist Church and is located in Pearland on Pearland Parkway. It offers grades Pre-K – 12 (http://www.fbcpearland.org/fbcp/home).
Heritage Christian Academy is located in Pearland. First Christian Academy Pre-k - 12th grade.
The Montessori School of Downtown [www.montessoridowntown.com] is also an option for children Infant through 5th grade, with two locations in Pearland.
The Pearland ISD and Alvin ISD portions are served by Alvin Community College (ACC), and the Pasadena ISD portion is served by San Jacinto College.
The University of Houston–Clear Lake (UHCL) has a satellite campus, located within the city.
The Pearland Library at 3522 Liberty Drive is a part of the Brazoria County Library System. As of September 13, 2008 the library was closed for many months due to Hurricane Ike storm damage. It reopened in March 2009.
The system also operates the Pearland Westside Library, located on 6,000 square feet (560 m2) of space in the Shadow Creek Ranch Town Center.Joseph Gutheinz, retired NASA employee who investigated stolen and missing moon rocks
The 1980s punk and new wave band The Judy's
Kyle Kacal, member of the Texas House of Representatives from College Station since 2013; rancher in Brazos County
Richard Machowicz, television personality and former Navy Seal
Bunny Meyer, YouTube personality
Thomas Morstead, New Orleans Saints punter
Ed Thompson, member of the Texas House of Representatives since 2013; former Pearland mayor pro tempore
Randy Weber, member of the United States Congress who was born in Pearland and resided there till 2012.
Fozzy Whittaker, Carolina Panthers running back
Markham, Ontario, Canada
Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico
Lopez, Quezon, Philippines