Gulfton is a community in Southwest Houston, Texas, United States that includes a 3.2 sq mi (8.3 km2) group of apartment complexes that primarily house Hispanic and immigrant populations. It is located between the 610 Loop and Beltway 8, west of the City of Bellaire, southeast of U.S. Highway 59, and north of Bellaire Boulevard.
In the 1960s and 1970s Gulfton experienced rapid development, with new apartment complexes built for young individuals from the Northeast and Midwest United States. They came to work in the oil industry during the 1970s oil boom.
In the 1980s, as the economy declined, existing tenants left, resulting in significant drop in occupancy rates in the apartment complexes and forcing many complexes into bankruptcy and foreclosure. Owners marketed the empty units to newly arrived immigrants and Gulfton became a predominantly immigrant community. Beginning in the 1980s Gulfton's crime rate increased and schools were increasingly overwhelmed with excess students. "Houstonians" (Houston citizens) nicknamed the community the "Gulfton Ghetto." The city of Houston responded to the sudden demographic shifts by increasing police presence, and the school district responded by opening more schools to handle the influx of students. After the 1980s demographic and socioeconomic transitions, Gulfton gained a community college campus, two additional elementary schools, added public bus routes, a park, a community center, a public library, and a juvenile detention facility.
By 2000 Gulfton was the most densely populated community in Houston, with 71 percent Hispanic residents, including many recent immigrants from Mexico and Central America.
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