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Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

economy

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

Regional Snapshot

South Texas Region


The 28-county South Texas region covers about 37,800 square miles in southern Texas, stretching along the Mexican border from Del Rio to Brownsville and up the Gulf Coast past Rockport to Aransas Pass and San Antonio Bay.

The region includes four metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs): the Brownsville-Harlingen MSA, comprising Cameron County; the Corpus Christi MSA, which includes Aransas, Nueces and San Patricio counties; the Laredo MSA, comprising Webb County; and the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission MSA, comprising Hidalgo County.

South Texas Region Counties:

  • Aransas
  • Bee
  • Brooks
  • Cameron
  • Dimmit
  • Duval
  • Edwards
  • Hidalgo
  • Jim Hogg
  • Jim Wells
  • Kenedy
  • Kinney
  • Kleberg
  • La Salle
  • Live Oak
  • Maverick
  • Mcmullen
  • Nueces
  • Real
  • Refugio
  • San Patricio
  • Starr
  • Uvalde
  • Val Verde
  • Webb
  • Willacy
  • Zapata
  • Zavala

Top 10 Industries by Location Quotient

  1. Leather and Allied Product Manufacturing
  2. Support Activities for Mining
  3. Petroleum and Coal Products Manufacturing
  4. Fishing, Hunting and Trapping
  5. Pipeline Transportation
  6. Justice, Public Order and Safety Activities
  7. Support Activities for Transportation
  8. Ambulatory Health Care Services
  9. Oil and Gas Extraction
  10. Museums, Historical Sites and Similar Institutions

Source: JobsEQ®

Population Growth

South Texas REGION VS. TEXAS AND U.S., 2010-2019

Region
7.4%

U.S.
6.3%

Texas
15.3%

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

In 2019, the South Texas region’s estimated total population was more than 2.4 million, or 8.4 percent of the state’s total population. That marked an increase of 7.4 percent (about 169,000 people) since the 2010 Census.

Education

Average Annual Earnings by Educational Attainment, South Texas Region

Average Annual Earnings by Educational Attainment, South Texas Region
Educational Attainment Number Employed, Region Average Annual Earnings, Region
Less than High School 208,634 $36,756
High School or Equivalent, No College 190,717 $42,462
Some College or Associate Degree 200,785 $46,544
Bachelor’s Degree or Advanced Degree 103,605 $60,260

Sources: U.S. Census Bureau and JobsEQ

South Texas region workers with some college or associate degrees and stable jobs earned an average of $4,082 more annually than those with a high school degree, while those with at least a bachelor’s degree earned an average of $17,798 more.

JOBS & WAGES

From 2009 to 2019, the South Texas region’s employment rose by more than 14 percent, less than growth in the state as a whole. In 2019, the region accounted for about 6.7 percent of the state’s total employment.

The South Texas region’s most significant occupations are shown below, sorted by numerical growth during the last five years.

Employment Growth, South Texas Region vs. Texas and U.S., 2009 to 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 South Texas Region by Numeric Growth, 2014 to 2019

Top Occupations in the South Texas Region by Numeric Growth, 2014 to 2019
Occupation Number Employed Average Annual Wages
Other Personal Care and Service Workers 59,215 $20,400
Food and Beverage Serving Workers 50,703 $20,100
Health Diagnosing and Treating Practitioners 38,402 $95,500
Business Operations Specialists 19,982 $62,900
Health Technologists and Technicians 23,170 $43,700

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 $22.7 billion, contributing about 4.1 percent to the state’s overall taxable sales.

Regional Receipts Subject to Sales Tax

South Texas Region, Taxable Sales, 2007-2019
Year Revenue South Texas Region
2007 16.9 billion dollars
2008 17.7 billion dollars
2009 15.8 billion dollars
2010 16.7 billion dollars
2011 18.7 billion dollars
2012 20.3 billion dollars
2013 21.2 billion dollars
2014 22.0 billion dollars
2015 21.3 billion dollars
2016 20.1 billion dollars
2017 20.4 billion dollars
2018 22.0 billion dollars
2019 22.7 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

Summary

The South Texas region and its 28 counties have many unique economic conditions and challenges. Webb County, with the city of Laredo at its center, and Nueces County, with the city of Corpus Christi, are the region’s economic centers.

The region has a high concentration of public health, safety and education industries as well as certain petroleum-related industries; these help differentiate the South Texas region from others.

The South Texas 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


Questions?

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