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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This analysis predates the COVID-19 crisis and the economic impacts that followed. It is offered as an overview of the Gulf Coast regional economy and a resource for comparative purposes.

Regional Snapshot

Gulf Coast Region

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.

Gulf Coast
Region Counties:

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

Top 10 Industries by Location Quotient

  1. Oil and Gas Extraction
  2. Pipeline Transportation
  3. Space Research and Technology
  4. Support Activities for Mining
  5. Petroleum and Coal
  6. Products Manufacturing
  7. Water Transportation
  8. Chemical Manufacturing
  9. Support Activities for Transportation
  10. Machinery Manufacturing

Source: JobsEQ®

Population Growth





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

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

Top Occupations in the Gulf Coast Region by Numeric Growth, 2014 to 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.
Source: JobsEQ

Regional Economy

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

Gulf Coast Region, Taxable Sales, 2007-2019
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.

Glenn Hegar

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.