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 1915destroyed 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).
|U.S. Decennial Census|
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.