Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
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Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
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2018 Texas Regional Report Compiled from an analysis of the 12 Comptroller Economic Regions

Texas Statewide Snapshot

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The Texas Comptroller’s office has divided the 268,000 square miles of Texas into 12 economic regions, each with at least one Census-defined metropolitan statistical area (MSA) considered to be an economic center or “focus” for that region (Exhibit 1).

This report examines regional economic trends including population, personal income, jobs and wages, and education, as well as economic conditions unique to the state and its regions.

Exhibit 1: Texas Comptroller Economic Regions and Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs)
Region Name Region MSAs*
1 High Plains Amarillo MSA
Lubbock MSA
2 Northwest Abilene MSA
Wichita Falls MSA
3 Metroplex Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington MSA
- Fort Worth-Arlington Metro Division
- Dallas-Plano-Irving Metro Division
Sherman-Denison MSA
4 Upper East Longview MSA
Texarkana, TX-AR Metro Area
Tyler MSA
5 Southeast Beaumont-Port Arthur MSA
6 Gulf Coast Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land MSA
7 Central Texas College Station-Bryan MSA
Killeen-Temple MSA
Waco MSA
8 Capital Austin-Round Rock MSA
9 Alamo San Antonio-New Braunfels MSA
Victoria MSA
10 South Texas Brownsville-Harlingen MSA
Corpus Christi MSA
Laredo MSA

McAllen-Edinburg-Mission MSA
11 West Texas Midland MSA
Odessa MSA

San Angelo MSA
12 Upper Rio Grande El Paso MSA

* Bolded MSAs provide an economic “focus” for their regions.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau


Texas had an estimated total population of 28.3 million in 2017, 12.6 percent or 3 million more than in the 2010 census. More than half of the state’s population is concentrated in the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington MSA (26.1 percent) and the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugarland MSA (24.4 percent).

From 2007 to 2017, the state’s population grew more than twice as fast as that of the nation as a whole, at 12.6 percent vs. 5.5 percent. While most Texas MSAs saw population increases, Austin-Round Rock outpaced all others, growing by more than 23 percent (Exhibit 2).

Exhibit 2: Texas Population by MSA, 2010 vs. 2017
Texas MSAs* Comptroller Economic Region 2010 Census 2017 (estimate) Change (2010 to 2017)
Austin-Round Rock MSA Capital 1,716,289 2,115,827 23.3%
Midland MSA West Texas 141,671 170,675 20.5%
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land MSA Gulf Coast 5,920,416 6,892,427 16.4%
San Antonio-New Braunfels MSA Alamo 2,142,508 2,473,974 15.5%
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington MSA Metroplex 6,426,214 7,399,662 15.2%
Odessa MSA West Texas 137,130 157,087 14.6%
College Station-Bryan MSA Central Texas 228,660 258,044 12.9%
McAllen-Edinburg-Mission MSA South Texas 774,769 860,661 11.1%
Laredo MSA South Texas 250,304 274,794 9.8%
Killeen-Temple MSA Central Texas 405,300 443,773 9.5%
Lubbock MSA High Plains 290,805 316,983 9.0%
Tyler MSA Upper East 209,714 227,727 8.6%
Sherman-Denison MSA Metroplex 120,877 131,140 8.5%
San Angelo MSA West Texas 111,823 119,535 6.9%
Waco MSA Central Texas 252,772 268,696 6.3%
Corpus Christi MSA South Texas 428,185 454,008 6.0%
Victoria MSA Alamo 94,003 99,646 6.0%
Amarillo MSA High Plains 251,933 264,925 5.2%
El Paso MSA Upper Rio Grande 804,123 844,818 5.1%
Brownsville-Harlingen MSA South Texas 406,220 423,725 4.3%
Abilene MSA Northwest 165,252 170,219 3.0%
Beaumont-Port Arthur MSA Southeast 403,190 412,437 2.3%
Longview MSA Upper East 214,369 217,481 1.5%
Texarkana MSA Upper East 149,198 150,355 0.8%
Wichita Falls MSA Northwest 151,306 151,230 -0.1%

* Bolded MSAs provide an economic “focus” for their regions.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Population Composition

According to a recent Census analysis, Texas has a median age of 34.2 years. Of the state’s 254 counties, 163 have a median age significantly older than the state median and only 31 are significantly younger. Of the state’s most populous counties, most (Tarrant, Dallas, Harris, Travis and Bexar) had median ages on par with the state’s except for El Paso County, which is significantly younger. MSAs in Texas are on par with the state median except for Laredo (28.3 years) and College Station-Bryan (26.8 years).

Texas household income is more or less evenly distributed among five income levels. Of the more than 9 million households in the state, 22 percent have family incomes of less than $25,000 and 16 percent have incomes of more than $125,000 (Exhibit 3). Within every region of the state, nearly 18 percent of households have an average household income between $50,000 and $75,000.

Texas is an ethnically diverse state; 38.6 percent of its total population is Hispanic, 11.6 percent is black (not Hispanic) and 6.3 percent is of “other” minority ethnicity (Exhibit 4).

Exhibit 3: Texas Household Income
Income Level State Total
less than $25,000 22.2%
$25,000 to $50,000 23.6%
$50,000 to $75,000 17.8%
$75,000 to $125,000 20.2%
more than $125,000 16.1%

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Exhibit 4: Texas Population by Race and Ethnicity, 2017
Race and Ethnicity State Total
Hispanic 38.6%
Black (not Hispanic) 11.6%
White (not hispanic) 43.4%
Other 6.3%

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Jobs and Wages

In 2017, Texas provided more than 12 million jobs. The state’s job count rose by about 17.4 percent from 2007 to 2017, almost three times the rise seen in the U.S. (Exhibit 5).

Exhibit 5: Texas Employment vs. U.S., 2007 to 2017
Area Number of Jobs, 2017 Change in Jobs from 2007 Percent Change
Texas 12,011,078 1,779,177 17.4%
United States 143,860,846 8,495,037 6.3%

Note: Figures include private and public sector employees with the exception of active duty military personnel, railroad employees, religious institution employees and the self-employed.

Sources: JobsEQ and Bureau of Labor Statistics

Nearly 30 percent of Texas’ jobs are in the Metroplex Region, followed by the Gulf Coast Region with about 25 percent of the total. The Capital Region, however, saw the highest job growth between 2007 and 2017, with employment increasing by 30 percent.

The average Texas wage was $55,801 in 2017, about even with the nation’s; from 2007 to 2017, however, the state’s individual wage growth slightly outpaced that of the nation (Exhibit 6). Texas’ inflation-adjusted wages rose by more than 5.6 percent during this period.

Exhibit 6: Wage Trends, Texas vs. U.S., 2007 to 2017
Area Average Wage, 2017 Change in Wages from 2007 Nominal Rate of Change, 2007 to 2017 Real Rate of Change,* 2007 to 2017
Texas $55,801 $11,106 24.9% 5.6%
United States $55,375 $10,917 24.6% 5.4%

* The constant or “real” rate adjusts average wages for the effects of inflation in the value of a particular base year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, prices in 2017 are 18.22 percent higher than prices in 2007.

Sources: JobsEQ and Bureau of Labor Statistics

Industry Concentration

Exhibit 7 lists the Texas industry subsectors most highly concentrated according to location quotient (LQ) — a measure of how concentrated an industry is in the region relative to the nation — and by share of total state jobs in each subsector. Industries are described according to the federal government’s North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), which is used by federal statistical agencies to classify business establishments.

Texas’ most highly concentrated industries primarily concern the extraction and transportation of natural resources as well as construction services. The air transportation subsector saw some of the highest annual wage increases from 2007 to 2017.

Exhibit 7: Texas' Most Highly Concentrated Industries, 2007 to 2017
Industry Description (NAICS Code)1 Location Quotient2 Number of Jobs Change 2007 to 2017 Average Wage Nominal Rate of Change3 Real Rate of Change,3 2007 to 2017
Oil and Gas Extraction (211) 6.23 75,697 -0.2% $188,968 20.7% 2.1%
Support Activities for Mining (213) 5.36 133,439 11.8% $96,713 16.3% -1.6%
Pipeline Transportation (486) 4.48 19,066 36.8% $158,441 17.3% -0.8%
Petroleum and Coal Products Manufacturing (324) 2.43 23,142 -5.2% $133,019 12.3% -5.0%
Space Research and Technology (927) 2.02 2,959 -9.7% $127,161 20.3% 1.7%
Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction (237) 1.81 176,419 10.2% $67,188 36.6% 15.5%
Leather and Allied Product Manufacturing (316) 1.80 4,272 -2.0% $37,225 29.4% 9.4%
Air Transportation (481) 1.50 62,580 -4.1% $94,622 45.5% 23.0%
Museums, Historical Sites and Similar Institutions (712) 1.46 30,566 26.0% $28,669 16.3% -1.6%
Support Activities for Transportation (488) 1.44 92,593 18.6% $59,260 25.2% 5.9%
Texas Total - 12,011,078 17.4% $55,801 24.8% 5.6%

Note: The figures above include private and public sector employees with the exception of active duty military personnel, railroad employees, religious institution employees and the self-employed.

  1. NAICS codes are the standard used by federal statistical agencies in classifying business establishments for the purpose of collecting, analyzing and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. business economy.
  2. The higher the location quotient, the more concentrated the industry subsector is in the region compared to nation.
  3. The constant or “real” rate adjusts average wages for the effects of inflation in the value of a particular base year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, prices in 2017 were 18.22 percent higher than prices in 2007.

Sources: JobsEQ and Bureau of Labor Statistics


A strong educational foundation is the cornerstone for growth and competitiveness in the global economy. As the Texas economy diversifies, becoming more knowledge based, a well-educated workforce offers possibilities for workplace advancement and prospects for business expansion.

In 2016, 89.1 percent of the Texas' class of public high school students graduated, slightly higher than the state’s rate of 89.1 percent (Exhibit 8).The Texas high school graduation rate has risen by almost 5 percent since 2010.

Many high school graduates enroll in postsecondary programs, offering greater job prospects and the possibility to of earning higher wages. Texas residents enjoy a variety of options for higher education (Exhibit 9); each of the Comptroller’s economic regions offers opportunities.

Exhibit 8: Texas Public High School Graduation Rates, 2010 to 2016
Year Texas
2010 84.3%
2011 85.9%
2012 87.7%
2013 88.0%
2014 88.3%
2015 89.0%
2016 89.1%

Source: Texas Education Agency

Exhibit 9: Texas Institutions of Higher Learning by Comptroller Region
Region Universities Junior and Community Colleges Health Science Schools
High Plains 4 4 1
Northwest 5 6 0
Metroplex 18 21 2
Upper East 7 9 1
Southwest 3 4 0
Gulf Coast 10 22 4
Central Texas 4 6 1
Capital 6 1 1
Alamo 9 7 1
South Texas 6 7 1
West Texas 2 3 0
Upper Rio Grande 2 1 1
Texas Total 76 91 13

For a list of institutions of higher education within a specific economic regions, see that region’s individual report.

Source: Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board

Regional Economics

The Comptroller's office has analyzed data pertaining to each of the 12 regional economies, examining their dynamics and competitiveness.

Sales Tax Revenue

Sales receipts subject to Texas state sales tax trended upward in the past decade (Exhibit 10), with a significant climb following the 2009 recession. While the trend leveled off somewhat from 2014 to 2016, receipts from 2017 match the long-term trend line.

A review of two-digit NAICS codes allows for a broad analysis of industry sectors within the state. The retail trade and food services and accommodation sectors clearly contribute most to taxable sales, with the two combining for more than 49 percent of the state’s reported sales tax contributions. Three other industries of note are wholesale trade, manufacturing and information, combining for 25 percent of the state’s reported sales tax contributions.

Exhibit 10: Revenue Subject to Texas Sales Tax, 2007 to 2017
Year Subject to Texas Sales Tax
2007 $330,278,179,769
2008 $349,714,254,911
2009 $315,364,296,469
2010 $326,089,404,510
2011 $361,942,118,931
2012 $398,649,894,316
2013 $421,844,060,026
2014 $456,217,805,889
2015 $457,879,905,244
2016 $453,636,195,871
2017 $483,135,308,754

Source: Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

U.S. Military Installation Impact

Texas has 13 U.S. military installations within its borders. In 2017, these bases directly employed more than 224,000 and supported nearly 625,000 jobs in all. Based upon 2017 data provided through the Texas Military Preparedness Commission (TMPC), the Comptroller estimates that U.S. military installations in Texas contribute about $62.3 billion annually to the state’s gross domestic product (GDP).

Texas vs. the U.S.

Based on data from the World Bank and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, if Texas were a nation, it would rank as the world’s 10th largest economy in terms of GDP. Exhibit 11 shows how the region rates with other states and the nation on a number of demographic and economic measures. The Alamo Region would be the 42nd largest state in terms of land mass (square miles) and have the 36th largest population. The region would also have the 30th highest per capita income and would have the 16th lowest unemployment rate in 2017.

Exhibit 11: Texas Compared to the U.S.
Measure Texas State Rank U.S.
Population 28,304,596 2 325,719,178
Age 25+ with at least a High School Diploma 82.4% 49 87.0%
Age 25+ with Bachelor's Degree or Higher 28.1% 29 30.3%
Population Under 18 Years 26.0% 2 22.6%
Population 65 Years and Over 12.3% 48 15.7%
Age Dependency Ratio* 62.1% 20 61.9%
Per Capita Income $46,204 25 $49,204
Unemployment Rate 4.3% 26 4.4%

The age dependency ratio is the share of dependent-age persons compared to the working-age population minus the sum of those under 18 years and 65 and older divided by the population age 18 to 64. In other words, for every 100 working-age people in Texas there are about 62 dependent-age people.

Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis


Texas is both urban and rural, with a vibrant and diverse economy. Each of the 12 economic regions may emphasize a few specific industries, but the fact that the economy is as diverse as it is insulated Texas from the full effect of the 2009 recession and helped mitigate the results of the oil price plunge in 2014.

Since the last decennial Census in 2010, Texas has added more than 3 million people. Almost all Texas MSAs saw their population increase, with the Austin-Round Rock MSA leading growth at 23.3 percent. Interestingly, while the state’s most populous counties, as well as all MSAs, have median ages on par with or younger than the state’s median of 34.2 years, 163 of Texas’ 254 counties have median ages significantly above the state’s.

The Texas economy as a whole has been led by consistent growth from the Capital and Metroplex regions. While the U.S. military and supporting industries have had a positive economic impact on all regions, construction services as well as air transport have a large footprint as well. Businesses supporting the extraction and transportation of natural resources are highly concentrated in the state and help make the Texas economy unique among states.


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