Gulf Coast Region Snapshot2015

As the state's chief financial officer, I am charged with monitoring the economic health of our state. Therefore, it's vitally important that my office studies factors related to our regional economies.

The 13 counties comprising the Gulf Coast Region house a quarter of the state's population. They contribute 29 percent of the state's personal income and offer the state's highest average wages.

Below, we track regional trends in population growth, personal income, jobs and wages, education and income inequality— a wildcard issue that, if left unaddressed, could curtail continued economic expansion.

– Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

Gulf Coast Region Counties

  • Austin
  • Brazoria
  • Chambers
  • Colorado
  • Fort Bend
  • Galveston
  • Harris
  • Liberty
  • Matagorda
  • Montgomery
  • Walker
  • Waller
  • Wharton

A quarter of Texas' population calls the Gulf Coast Region home.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau.

Key Industries 2016

  • Chemical Manufacturing
  • Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing
  • Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction
  • Machinery Manufacturing
  • Petroleum Products Manufacturing
  • Management of Companies and Enterprises
  • Oil and Gas Extraction
  • Pipeline Transportation
  • Professional, Scientific and Technical Services
  • Securities, Commodity Contracts and Other Financial Investments
  • Support Activities for Mining
  • Support Activities for Transportation

Population Growth

Gulf Coast Region vs. Texas and U.S. 2004-2014

  • Region: 26%
  • Texas: 20%
  • U.S.: 9%

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis and Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

The Gulf Coast Region accounted for 41% of all net migration to Texas in 2014, but it only accounts for 25% of the total state population.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

With 547 people per square mile, the Gulf Coast Region is Texas' most densely populated.

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis and Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

Personal Income

Personal income in the Gulf Coast Region rose from $193 billion in 2004 to $362 billion in 2014. It accounted for 29 percent of the state's $1.23 trillion of personal income in 2014.

Per capita personal income grew by 49 percent, faster than the state's 47 percent average.

Houston ship channel-related businesses add more than 1 million jobs to Texas.

Source: Port of Houston

Gulf Coast Region Income Highlights
County 2014 Per Capita Income 10-Year Per Capita Income Growth
Harris $56,896 48%
Montgomery $55,849 62%
Fort Bend $54,753 54%
Chambers $46,986 52%
Galveston $46,917 46%
Austin $46,741 64%
Colorado $45,389 58%
Brazoria $42,519 46%
Wharton $40,869 51%
Matagorda $37,324 53%
Liberty $34,839 44%
Waller $34,078 38%
Walker $25,534 43%

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis and Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

Per Capita Personal Income Growth 2004-2014

  • Region: 49%
  • Texas: 47%
  • U.S.: 34%

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis and Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

Jobs & Wages

Job Growth 2004-2014

  • Region: 25.9%
  • Texas: 21.7%
  • U.S.: 5.5%

The Gulf Coast Region added more than 614,000 jobs from 2004 to 2014 and accounted for nearly 30 percent of total Texas job growth.

The region also boasted the state's highest average wages — $62,953 — in 2014.

Tourism sustains 1/3 of Galveston Island jobs and generated $257 million in total income.

Source: Galveston Island Convention and Visitors Bureau


Gulf Coast Region Public High School Graduates, 2014

  • Harris County Percentage: 65%
  • Other Counties in Gulf Coast Region percentage: 35%

Harris County produces 64.8 percent of the Gulf Coast Region's public high school graduates.

From 2009 through 2012, graduation rates in the Gulf Coast Region rose from 80.2 to 87.8 percent.

Source: Texas Education Agency and Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

Income Inequality

The Gulf Coast Region is a national leader in the creation of innovative jobs. Advanced industries – identified as those that invest in technological innovations and employ skilled workers – increased by 31 percent in the region from 2004-2014. Average wages in the advanced industries topped $120,000 in 2014 and accounted for 12.3 percent of the region's jobs, compared to 9.5 percent in Texas and 8.8 percent in the U.S.

While these gains have produced tremendous benefits for the region, the Gulf Coast Region has the state's widest margin between high- and low-income earners – a gap nearly double that found in the South Region.

Education is a factor in the disparity, as jobs requiring a bachelor's degree (or higher) increased by 27 percent from 2004-2014 and pay on average $27 more per hour than other occupations in the region.

Wage Gap Between Earners at the Top and Bottom 10 Percent
Region Wage gap
South $13.58
Upper Rio Grande $14.69
Northwest $14.93
Upper East $15.43
High Plains $15.64
Southeast $16.25
Central $16.55
Alamo $17.21
West $19.98
Capital $21.28
Metroplex $21.34
Gulf Coast $24.11
TEXAS $20.14

Source: Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. and Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts


The Gulf Coast Region is a cornerstone of Texas industry. It serves as an anchor for booming oil and gas production, sustains one of the nation's largest metropolitan areas and facilitates billions in trade and shipping. Yet it also provides sandy beaches and ocean breezes that draw thousands of tourists to its shores each year.

For these reasons as well as others, the Gulf Coast Region accounted for a substantial portion of the state's impressive job and wage growth, though not all industries enjoy these high wages.

Overall, the region is growing and prosperous and has served a vital role in making the Texas economy one of the world's strongest.


If you have any questions or concerns regarding the material on this page, please contact the Comptroller’s Data Analysis and Transparency Division.