The 30-county West Texas region covers about 39,800 square miles in western Texas, stretching from the cities of Mason and Brady on the east to the Rio Grande just south of Dryden and north to the city of Seminole.
The region contains three metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs): the Midland MSA, comprising Martin and Midland counties; the Odessa MSA, comprising Ector County; and the San Angelo MSA, made up of Irion and Tom Green counties.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
In 2019, the West Texas region’s estimated total population was 662,439, or about 2.3 percent of the state’s total population. That marked an increase of 15.8 percent (more than 90,000 people) since the 2010 Census.
Average Annual Earnings by Educational Attainment, West Texas Region
|Educational Attainment||Number Employed, Region||Average Annual Earnings, Region|
|Less than High School||58,851||$46,649|
|High School or Equivalent, No College||72,493||$54,196|
|Some College or Associate Degree||76,276||$57,527|
|Bachelor’s Degree or Advanced Degree||39,251||$72,517|
|Educational Attainment Unavailable||36,963||$30,065|
Sources: U.S. Census Bureau and JobsEQ
West Texas region workers with some college or associate degrees and stable jobs earned an average of $3,331 more annually than those with a high school degree, while those with at least a bachelor’s degree earned an average of $18,321 more.
From 2009 to 2019, the West Texas region’s employment rose by almost 36 percent, far exceeding employment growth in the state as a whole. In 2019, it accounted for about 2.5 percent of the state’s total employment.
The West Texas region’s most significant occupations are shown below, sorted by numerical growth during the last five years.
Employment Growth, West 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 the West Texas Region by Numeric Growth, 2014 to 2019
|Occupation||Number Employed||Average Annual Wages|
|Construction Trades Workers||19,761||$42,600|
|Motor Vehicle Operators||16,432||$43,500|
|Food and Beverage Serving Workers||16,717||$21,300|
|Material Moving Workers||11,566||$37,100|
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 approached $21 billion, contributing about 3.7 percent to the state’s overall taxable sales.
Regional Receipts Subject to Sales Tax
|Year||Revenue West Texas Region|
|2007||8.0 billion dollars|
|2008||9.4 billion dollars|
|2009||7.1 billion dollars|
|2010||8.4 billion dollars|
|2011||11.0 billion dollars|
|2012||13.5 billion dollars|
|2013||14.4 billion dollars|
|2014||17.7 billion dollars|
|2015||13.5 billion dollars|
|2016||11.1 billion dollars|
|2017||15.2 billion dollars|
|2018||20.3 billion dollars|
|2019||20.7 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
The West Texas region and its 30 counties have many unique economic conditions and challenges. Midland County, with Midland at its center, and Ector County, anchored by Odessa, are the region’s economic centers.
In the past decade, the region had the state’s most volatile regional economy. It saw significant job growth; the Midland MSA’s employment growth nearly tripled that of the state as a whole. If the region were a state, it would have the nation’s fifth-highest per capita income. Its high concentration of industries revolving primarily around the extraction and transportation of oil and gas differentiates the West Texas region from others in Texas.
The West 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.
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
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