La Porte is a city in Harris County, Texas, United States, within the Bay Area of the Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown metropolitan area. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 33,800. La Porte is the fourth-largest incorporated city in Harris County. When La Porte celebrated its centennial in 1992, it was the home of Barbours Cut Terminal, operated by the Port of Houston Authority since 1977. Fifteen years later, the Port of Houston's newest addition, Bayport Terminal, was established just south of La Porte. The area around La Porte has served an increasingly important role in international trade since the 1970s.
The area around modern La Porte gained fame early in Texas history as the location of the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836, which ended the Texas Revolution, establishing the independence of the Republic of Texas from Mexico. The San Jacinto Monument, in the unincorporated area of La Porte, commemorates the battle. During the early 20th century, particularly the 1920s and 1930s, La Porte's Sylvan Beach became a nationally known tourist destination attracting some of the nation's most well-known entertainers. As a result of changing economics in the Houston area and beach erosion, the tourist business declined while industrial development in the area grew. During World War II and afterward, La Porte's economy rapidly shifted toward petroleum/petrochemicals and shipping, which developed as the dominant industries in the Pasadena-Baytown area.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 20.0 square miles (51.8 km²), of which 18.6 square miles (48.3 km²) is land and 1.4 square miles (3.6 km²), or 6.91%, is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 31,880 people, 10,928 households, and 8,578 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,683.3 people per square mile (649.9/km²). There were 11,720 housing units at an average density of 618.8 per square mile (238.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 81.39% White, 6.25% Black or African American, 0.48% Native American, 1.13% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 8.52% from other races, and 2.15% from two or more races. 20.45% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
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