Midtown was the second residential neighborhood created in Houston, following the settling of Allen's Landing. Around 1906 Midtown was divided between the Third Ward and Fourth Ward. This suburb experienced explosive growth through the 1940s as the Humble Oil and Refining Company prospered, but began declining in the 1980s. Midtown was the only district in Texas to experience negative growth from 1980 to 1990.
Midtown remains home to Little Saigon, a neighborhood of Vietnamese and Vietnamese Americans, which pioneered the redevelopment of Midtown Houston in the 1970s. During the 1980s, Travis and Milam Streets were a mirror image of Saigon in the 1970s. Higher rents and street construction have reduced the number of Vietnamese American businesses, many of which have relocated to the outer Houston Chinatown in the Bellaire Boulevard corridor west of Sharpstown.
Since the late 1990s the Midtown neighborhood has experienced retail, commercial and residential growth under the direction of the Midtown Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ). "Midtown" is a fairly recent moniker; it first appeared around the time the TIRZ appeared.
Welcoming the increased infrastructure and public works services to a community which had been overlooked, some long-time Midtown residents have issues with the redevelopment. Because the price of land is skyrocketing, these people are concerned they are being pushed out of their homes. They note that they cannot afford the luxury apartment and townhomes being built and redevelopment also pushes out local independent merchants in favor of 'big name' corporate entities who are being accused of gentrification. Community Development Corporations in and around Midtown want to encourage development while promoting culturally sensitive and responsive models.
According to the 2000 Census, the Super Neighborhood #62 Midtown (which mostly corresponds to the boundaries of the Midtown District) contained a total of 5,311 residents. The racial makeup of the area was 45% (2,439 people) White, 18% (949 people) Black or African American, 6% (320 people) Asian, less than 1% (8 people) Native American, less than 1% (35 people) from other races, 1% (70 people) from two or more races and 28% (1,490 people) of the population were Hispanic or Latino The super neighborhood contained a total of 4,559 people above the age of 18. The super neighborhood contained a total of 3,219 people who are male and 2,092 people who are female. 18 people are in nursing homes. Nobody is in a correctional institution, a college dormitory, or a military quarter. There were 2,326 households, with a population of 4,142 in those households. The average household size is 1.78 people.
Houston Fire Department Station 7 is located in Midtown
The Houston Police Department's South Central Patrol Division , headquartered at 2022 St. Emanuel., serves the neighborhood.
Two Houston City Council districts, D and I cover portions of Midtown. As of 2008 Wanda Adams and James G. Rodriguez, respectively, represent the two districts.
Midtown is served by Houston Independent School District.
One school, J. Will Jones Elementary School, is located in Midtown. Pupils in Midtown who attend their neighborhood schools attend either J. Will Jones, MacGregor Elementary School (in the Hermann Park area), or Gregory-Lincoln Education Center (in the Fourth Ward) for primary school.
All pupils in Midtown who are north of U.S. Route 59 (almost all of Midtown) are zoned to Gregory-Lincoln Education Center for middle school. A small portion of the Midtown district south of U.S. Route 59 (which is in Super Neighborhood #66 Binz instead of Super Neighborhood #62 Midtown) is zoned to Ryan Middle School; the portion contains one multi-family residence.
An HISD alternative secondary school, Houston International Studies High School, is located in the HCCS Central campus.
The Contemporary Learning Center, an alternative public school, is near Midtown.
A charter school called Houston CAN! Academy is also located in Midtown.
Midtown Park is located at the intersection of Bagby and Gray. The Midtown Management District and several businesses provided funding for the park. Elizabeth Baldwin Park is located at 1701 Elgin.