Alief (/ˈeɪliːf/ AY-leef) is a large suburban community in southwestern Harris County, Texas, United States, mostly within the city limits of Houston. The Alief Community Association defines the boundaries of Alief as, "Westheimer on the north, Sam Houston Tollway on the east, Fort Bend County Line on the west and Interstate 69/U.S. Highway 59 on the south," while the Alief Independent School District boundaries extend as far east as Gessner in some places. Portions of Alief are in Southwest Houston while other portions of Alief are within unincorporated Harris County.
First settled along the banks of Brays Bayou in 1861 as a small farming community named Dairy, Alief slowly matured into a local commercial center by the end of the 19th century. Its population fluctuated between 100 and 200 until the 1960s, when the suburbanization of Houston brought significant amounts of development to the area. The community was annexed by the city of Houston in the 1970s, having failed to incorporate itself. During the 1970s energy crisis, which saw the price of oil reach record highs, Alief experienced rapid and immense population growth, stimulated by the construction of new corporate campuses and the resettlement of Vietnamese refugees in Houston. Alief has become notable for its independent school district, ethnic diversity, and relatively high crime rate.