economy

Capital Region Snapshot

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As the state's chief financial officer, I am charged with monitoring the economic health of our state. Therefore, it's vitally important that my office studies factors related to our regional economies.

The 10 counties comprising the Capital Region cover the area surrounding and adjacent to the state capital. They provide a home to the "Live Music Capital of the World," some of the nation's best-known barbecue joints and rapidly expanding communities.

Below, we track regional trends in population growth, personal income, jobs and wages, education and growth sustainability— a wildcard issue that, if left unaddressed, is of particular concern to the region.

– Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

Capital Region Counties

  • Bastrop
  • Blanco
  • Burnet
  • Caldwell
  • Fayette
  • Hays
  • Lee
  • Llano
  • Travis
  • Williamson

Nearly 41,000 people moved to the Capital Region between July 2013 and July 2014.

U.S. Census Bureau

Key Industries 2016

  • Computer and Peripheral Equipment Manufacturing
  • Semiconductor and Other Electronic Component Manufacturing
  • Software Publishers
  • Computer Systems Design and Related Services
  • Management, Scientific and Technical Consulting Services
  • Data Processing, Hosting and Related Services
  • Architectural, Engineering and Related Services
  • Professional and Commercial Equipment and Supplies Merchant Wholesalers
  • Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction
  • State Government

Population Growth

Capital Region vs Texas and U.S. 2004-2014

  • Region: 36%
  • Texas : 20%
  • U.S: 9%

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis and Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

Capital Region's 27 colleges and universities have a combined total enrollment of nearly 180,000 students.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau and Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

The Capital Region has a population density of 244 people per square mile, greater than Texas' 103 people per square mile.

Personal Income

Personal income in the Capital Region grew from $49.9 billion in 2004 to $96.6 billion in 2014. It accounted for 7.9 percent of the state's $1.23 trillion in personal income in 2014.

Per capita personal income grew 42 percent, compared with 47 percent growth statewide.

Although Texas outgrew the Capital Region in per capita income, the region has maintained a higher level of per capita income each year between 2004 and 2014. Capital Region per capita income started at $32,930 in 2004, compared to $31,077 statewide. The regional level grew to $46,911 in 2014, compared to $45,669 statewide.

Capital Region Income Highlights
County 2014 Per Capita Income 10-Year Per Capita Income Growth
Blanco $57,949 74%
Travis $54,145 46%
Fayette $47,200 59%
Burnet $43,688 47%
Lee $43,2414 72%
Llano $42,786 49%
Williamson $38,938 34%
Hays $34,959 31%
Bastrop $30,383 31%
Caldwell $29,283 39%

Southwestern University was the first institute of higher learning in Texas

Source: Southwestern University

Per Capita Personal Income Growth 2004-2014

  • Region: 43%
  • Texas: 47%
  • U.S: 34%

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis and Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

Jobs & Wages

Job Growth 2004-2014

  • Region: 33.3%
  • Texas: 21.7%
  • U.S.: 5.5%

The Capital Region added nearly 237,000 jobs from 2004 to 2014, a 33.3 percent increase and six times the national job growth during this period. Williamson and Hays counties led the region in percent job gains with 67.4 percent and 51.7 percent, respectively.

The 2014 regional average wage of $52,782 was slightly higher than the state average of $52,537.

Source: Economic Modeling Specialists Intl.

For three years in a row, the U.S. Census has named San Marcos as the country's fastest-growing city with a population of more than 50,000.

Education

Capital Region Public High School Graduates, 2014

  • Travis County Percentage: 41%
  • Williamson County Percentage: 35%
  • Hays County Percentage: 10%
  • Other Counties in Capital Region percentage: 13%

Total does not add to 100% due to rounding.
Source: Texas Education Agency and Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

Three counties — Travis, Williamson and Hays — produced 87 percent of public high school graduates.

In 2014, the Capital Region had two independent school districts
— Austin and Round Rock — with more than 7,000 high school graduates. In the same year, these two ISDs produced 37 percent of all public high school graduates in the Capital Region.

Growth Sustainability

Housing

According to the Austin Board of Realtors, average home prices in the Central Texas area were 8 percent higher in February 2016 than in February 2015. The median home price of $269,900 was 8 percent higher than in February 2015. The Austin-Round Rock metropolitan statistical area (MSA) had the highest median gross rent of all MSA's in Texas every year from 2009 to 2013.

Transportation

Austin ranked fourth most congested in a recent traffic study and is the only Texas city to appear in the top 10. Texas Department of Transportation metrics show the portion of IH-35 that cuts through Travis County is at or near the top of the state's most crowded highway segments.

Region Population Growth, 2004-2014
Capital 35.9%
Gulf Coast 25.7%
Alamo 22.9%
Metroplex 21.9%
West 18.1%
South 16.5%
Upper Rio 15.5%
Central 14.6%
High Plains 7.9%
Upper East 7.1%
Southeast 2.6%
Northwest 0.9%
U.S. 8.9%
Texas 20.4%

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis and Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

Conclusion

With a hip urban center surrounded by quaint communities, the Capital Region has a strong economy and many thriving industries that continues to draw new residents.

And no wonder. The region offers plenty of live music, prominent restaurants and tourist attractions. Yet the very things that make this region so successful are putting a strain on its infrastructure.

Newcomers — and current residents — face rising home prices and congested roadways. The region must depend on its highly educated workforce to keep wages outpacing housing costs and it will also need to solve regional transportation issues.

Overall, the Capital Region appears well poised to continue its remarkable expansion.

Questions?

Contact the Comptroller's Data Analysis and Transparency Division at 800-531-5441, ext. 6-9231, or via email.