The 13-county Gulf Coast region covers about 13,900 square miles in eastern coastal Texas, stretching from Huntsville on the north to Matagorda Bay and Galveston along the Gulf Coast.
The region includes one metropolitan statistical area (MSA), the Houston- The Woodlands-Sugarland MSA, which includes Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery and Waller counties.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
The Gulf Coast Region’s estimated total population in 2017 was more than 7 million, or 25 percent of the state’s total population. That marked an increase of 18.9 percent (more than 1 million people) since the 2010 Census.
Average Annual Earnings by Educational Attainment, Gulf Coast Region
|Educational Attainment||Number Employed, Region||Average Annual Earnings, Region|
|Less than high school||516,634||$43,491|
|High school or equivalent, no college||661,979||$51,093|
|Some college or associate degree||796,592||$57,501|
|Bachelor's degree or advanced degree||648,501||$81,421|
Sources: U.S. Census Bureau and JobsEQ
Gulf Coast region workers with some college or associate degrees and stable jobs earned an average of $6,408 more annually than those with a high school degree, while those with at least a bachelor’s degree earned an average of $30,328 more.
From 2009 to 2019, the Gulf Coast region’s employment rose by almost 21 percent, just below state job growth. In 2019, the region accounted for nearly 26 percent of the state’s total employment, making it the state’s second-largest employment base.
The Gulf Coast region’s most significant occupations are shown below, sorted by numerical growth during the last five years.
Employment Growth, Gulf Coast Region vs. Texas and U.S., 2009-2019
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 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Top Occupations in Gulf Coast Region by Numeric Growth, 2014-2019
|Occupation||Number Employed||Average Annual Wages|
|Food and Beverage Serving Workers||172,191||$23,100|
|Other Personal Care and Service Workers||79,010||$22,900|
|Construction Trades Workers||160,545||$42,400|
|Health Diagnosing and Treating Practitioners||102,161||$104,300|
|Business Operations Specialists||96,304||$82,700|
Note: Data are as of Q4 2019 except wage data, which are for covered employment in 2018.
In 2019, taxable sales directly attributable to businesses in the region exceeded $124 billion, contributing about 22 percent to the state’s overall taxable sales.
Regional Receipts Subject to Sales Tax
|Year||Revenue Gulf Coast Region|
|2007||77.52 billion dollars|
|2008||83.83 billion dollars|
|2009||74.36 billion dollars|
|2010||75.39 billion dollars|
|2011||86.74 billion dollars|
|2012||97.02 billion dollars|
|2013||101.66 billion dollars|
|2014||111.64 billion dollars|
|2015||109.40 billion dollars|
|2016||102.31 billion dollars|
|2017||109.55 billion dollars|
|2018||121.14 billion dollars|
|2019||123.70 billion dollars|
Note: Numbers shown are for reported revenue subject to sales tax and directly attributed to the region.
Source: Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
The Gulf Coast region enjoys a vibrant and diverse economy. Harris County, with Houston at its center, is the region’s economic hub. The region and its 13 counties have many unique economic conditions and challenges. It contains about 25 percent of the state’s population, up from 19 percent since 2010, and is the state’s most diverse region.
The Gulf Coast region’s economy generates about 22 percent of the state’s taxable sales. Industry concentration in the region primarily concerns the production of chemical and petroleum products as well as certain transportation sectors, all contributing positively to a unique regional economy.
The Gulf Coast Region is one of the Comptroller’s 12 economic regions.
View a complete list of these regions, plus more in-depth county-by-county data.
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the material on this page, please contact the Comptroller’s Data Analysis and Transparency Division.