West University Place, often called West University or West U for short, is a city located in the U.S. state of Texas within the Houston–The Woodlands–Sugar Land metropolitan area and southwestern Harris County. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, the population of the city was 14,787. It is nicknamed “The Neighborhood City” and is mainly a bedroom community for upper-class families.
West University Place is located at 29°42′57″N 95°25′59″W / 29.71583°N 95.43306°W / 29.71583; -95.43306 (29.715929, −95.432992).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.0 square miles (5.2 km), all of it land.
The City of Houston surrounds much of West University Place. The boundaries are roughly Bellaire Boulevard/Holcombe Boulevard, Kirby Drive, Bissonnet Road, and Community Drive. West University Place is 6 miles (9.7 km) from Downtown Houston.
The city’s boundaries are Kirby Drive to the east, Union Pacific St. Louis Southwestern Railway railroad track to the west, Bellaire Boulevard/West Holcombe Boulevard to the south, and Bissonnet and Law Streets to the north. Viewed on a map, the city shape resembles a little house, with a “chimney” to the west side, and since it surrounds the city of Southside Place, a “door” is formed on the map surrounding Southside Place. (See map)
The Poor Farm Ditch is a ditch that drains into the Brays Bayou that formerly belonged to the Harris County poor farm. In 1928 the ditch was dredged after significant flooding had occurred in the area. On occasions the ditch still flooded. The commissioners of the City of West University adjourned their meeting so they could dam streets in December 1935. The Harris County Flood Control District, in 1954, widened and deepened the ditch and added a concrete bottom and siding. During that year the district installed a chain link fence. To make the ditch more attractive, the Sunset Terrace Garden Club planted oleanders around the ditch; the oleanders obscure the view of the ditch from Edloe Street to the east. The West University Garden Club maintained the flowers. A 2001 Edloe Greenbelt proposal called for the removal of the flowers.
As of 2010 census, there were 14,787 people, 5,260 households, and 4,264 families residing in the city. The population density was 7,393.5 people per square mile (2,854.6/km²). There were 5,543 housing units at an average density of 2,771.5 per square mile (1,070.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 90.6% White, 0.80% African American, 0.2% Native American, 8.4% Asian, 0.90% from other races, and 2.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.9% of the population.
There were 5,260 households out of which 44.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 74.1% were married couples living together, 5.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 18.9% were non-families. 15.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.81 and the average family size was 3.17.
In the city, the population was spread out with 30.6% under the age of 18, 3.4% from 18 to 24, 22.1% from 25 to 44, 34.1% from 45 to 64, and 9.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41.4 years. For every 100 females, there were 96.9 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $202,132, and the median income for a family was $227,425. Males had a median income of $168,056 versus $71,910 for females. About 1.4% of families and 2.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.0% of those under age 18 and 2.9% of those age 65 or over.
As of 2018 many residents include lawyers and employees of the nearby institutions Rice University and the Texas Medical Center; that year Swartz described the community as “a prosperous place” that neverhteless is not “as flashy as wealthy neighborhoods like River Oaks or Memorial”. In 2009 Claudia Feldman of the Houston Chronicle described West University Place as a “wealthy city inside a city” and “a tidy, orderly community, one where furniture matches, bills get paid and accomplished parents raise accomplished children.” John Nova Lomax, a journalist, stated in a 2008 Houston Press article that, due to the growth and dominance of Houston, municipal enclaves with their own services, including West University Place, “are little more than glorified neighborhoods.”
As of 2011, 85% of adults living in West University Place have bachelor’s degrees, making it the community with the highest percentage of adults with bachelor’s degrees in the Southern United States.