This analysis predates the COVID-19 crisis and the economic impacts that followed. It is offered as an overview of the Texas economy and a resource for comparative purposes.
The Texas Comptroller’s office divides the 268,000 square miles of Texas into 12 economic regions, each with at least one Census-defined metropolitan statistical area (MSA), areas with relatively high population densities and close economic integration. Regions with multiple MSAs may have more than one highlighted to emphasize their economic significance as regional hubs (Exhibit 1).
|1||High Plains||Amarillo MSA
Wichita Falls MSA
|3||Metroplex||Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington MSA
- Fort Worth-Arlington Metro Division
- Dallas-Plano-Irving Metro Division
|4||Upper East||Longview MSA
Texarkana, TX-AR Metro Area
|5||Southeast||Beaumont-Port Arthur MSA|
|6||Gulf Coast||Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land MSA|
|7||Central Texas||College Station-Bryan MSA
|8||Capital||Austin-Round Rock MSA|
|9||Alamo||San Antonio-New Braunfels MSA
|10||South Texas||Brownsville-Harlingen MSA
Corpus Christi MSA
|11||West Texas||Midland MSA
San Angelo MSA
|12||Upper Rio Grande||El Paso MSA|
Note: Bolded MSAs highlighted for particularly significant population and economic output.
This report examines statewide economic trends including population, household income, jobs and wages and education, as well as economic conditions unique to the state and its regions.
Texas had an estimated total population of 29 million in 2019, more than half of it concentrated in the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington MSA (26 percent) and Houston-The Woodlands-Sugarland MSA (24.1 percent). From 2010 to 2019, the state’s population grew more than twice as fast as the nation’s, at 15.3 percent vs. 6.3 percent. While most Texas MSAs saw population increases, Austin-Round Rock and Midland outpaced all others (Exhibit 2).
|Texas MSA||Comptroller Economic Region||2010 Census||2019 (estimate)||Change
2010 to 2019
|Austin-Round Rock MSA||Capital||1,716,289||2,227,083||510,794||29.80%|
|Midland MSA||West Texas||141,671||182,603||40,932||28.90%|
|Odessa MSA||West Texas||137,130||166,223||29,093||21.20%|
|Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land MSA||Gulf Coast||5,920,416||7,066,141||1,145,725||19.40%|
|San Antonio-New Braunfels MSA||Alamo||2,142,508||2,550,960||408,452||19.10%|
|Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington MSA||Metroplex||6,366,542||7,573,136||1,206,594||19.00%|
|College Station-Bryan MSA||Central Texas||228,660||264,728||36,068||15.80%|
|Killeen-Temple MSA||Central Texas||405,300||460,303||55,003||13.60%|
|McAllen-Edinburg-Mission MSA||South Texas||774,769||868,707||93,938||12.10%|
|Tyler MSA||Upper East||209,714||232,751||23,037||11.00%|
|Lubbock MSA||High Plains||290,805||322,257||31,452||10.80%|
|Laredo MSA||South Texas||250,304||276,652||26,348||10.50%|
|Waco MSA||Central Texas||252,772||273,920||21,148||8.40%|
|San Angelo MSA||West Texas||112,966||122,027||9,061||8.00%|
|Corpus Christi MSA||South Texas||405,027||429,024||23,997||5.90%|
|Amarillo MSA||High Plains||251,933||265,053||13,120||5.20%|
|El Paso MSA||Upper Rio Grande||804,123||844,124||40,001||5.00%|
|Brownsville-Harlingen MSA||South Texas||406,220||423,163||16,943||4.20%|
|Longview MSA||Upper East||280,000||286,657||6,657||2.40%|
|Beaumont-Port Arthur MSA||Southeast||388,745||392,563||3,818||1.00%|
|Wichita Falls MSA||Northwest||151,306||151,254||-52||0.00%|
|Texarkana MSA||Upper East||149,198||148,761||-437||-0.30%|
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, the Texas population had a median age of 34.2 years in 2018. Of the state’s 254 counties, 163 had a median age significantly above the state median; only 31 were significantly younger. Among the state’s most populous counties, most (Tarrant, Dallas, Harris, Travis and Bexar counties) had median ages on par with the state except for El Paso county, which was significantly younger. Texas’ MSAs were on par with the state median except for Laredo (28.3 years) and College Station-Bryan (26.8 years).
Texas is an ethnically diverse state; 43.4 percent of its population is white (not Hispanic), 38.6 percent is Hispanic, 11.6 percent is black (not Hispanic) and 6.3 percent is of “other” ethnicity (Exhibit 3).
|Black (not Hispanic)||11.6%|
|White (not hispanic)||43.4%|
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
|Income Level||State Total|
|less than $25,000||21.1%|
|$25,000 to $50,000||23.0%|
|$50,000 to $75,000||17.9%|
|$75,000 to $125,000||20.6%|
|more than $125,000||17.4%|
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
In 2018, Texans had a median household income of $59,570. Household income in Texas is generally distributed among five income levels. Of more than 9 million Texas households, 21 percent had annual incomes of less than $25,000 in 2018, while 17 percent had incomes above $125,000 (Exhibit 4). In every region in the state, nearly 18 percent of households had average incomes between $50,000 and $75,000.
In 2019 Texas contributed about $1.9 trillion or 8.8 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) of $12.4 trillion.
The strength of Texas’ economy is due in part to the diversity of its major industries. Exhibit 5 lists the industries with the greatest statewide employment concentrations compared to the national average, as measured by location quotient (LQ). LQ represents an industry’s proportionate concentration in the region; an LQ greater than 1.0 means that industry employment is more concentrated in the region than nationally. A high LQ can identify industries that have a competitive advantage in the region, such as the ability to produce products more efficiently and of a higher quality.
In terms of LQ, Texas’ strongest industries are oil and gas extraction, support for mining activities and pipeline transportation industries, reflecting the state’s status as national leader in the energy sector.
|Industry||LQ||Employed||Average Annual Wages|
|Oil and Gas Extraction||6.22||77,812||$201,076|
|Support Activities for Mining||5.36||160,398||$102,211|
|Petroleum and Coal Products Manufacturing||2.37||23,030||$141,632|
|Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction||1.97||210,241||$71,331|
|Space Research and Technology||1.97||2,932||$138,621|
|Leather and Allied Product Manufacturing||1.90||4,505||$37,570|
|Museums, Historical Sites and Similar Institutions||1.48||31,616||$30,245|
|Support Activities for Transportation||1.43||100,608||$63,212|
|Total - All Industries||0.99||12,575,053||$59,470|
Note: Data are as of Q4 2019 except for wages, which represent covered employment in 2018.
A unique aspect of the Texas economy is the contribution made by U.S. military installations located in the state. Texas has 14 of these installations within its borders. In 2019, they directly employed more than 226,000 and supported nearly 634,000 jobs in all. Based upon data provided through the Texas Military Preparedness Commission, the Comptroller’s office estimates that military installations contributed about $75.3 billion to the Texas GDP in 2019.
In 2019, more than 12.5 million persons were employed in Texas. The state’s job count rose by about 22.3 percent from 2009 to 2019, outperforming the national job growth rate during the period (Exhibit 6).
|Area||Number of Jobs||Change in Jobs|
2009 to 2019
2009 to 2019
Note: Figures include private- and public-sector employees with the exception of active-duty military personnel, railroad employees, employees of religious institutions and the self-employed.
Sources: JobsEQ and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
The following exhibits highlight high-growth and concentrated occupations in Texas. Exhibit 7 details the most common occupations by LQ. Extraction workers, such as earth drillers and mining machine operators, generally work in the oil and gas industry.
|Occupation||Employment||Average Annual Wages, 2018||LQ|
|Plant and System Operators||39,617||$59,000||1.47|
|Supervisors of Construction and Extraction Workers||84,104||$68,900||1.46|
|Air Transportation Workers||33,501||$112,600||1.38|
|Helpers, Construction Trades||28,191||$32,200||1.34|
Note: Data are as of Q4 2019 except wage data, which represent covered employment in 2018.
Exhibit 8 shows occupations with the largest numeric growth in Texas during the last five years. Most of the fastest-growing occupations are in service industries; the largest occupation category in the top 10 (and seventh fastest-growing) includes relatively high-paying computer occupations.
|Occupation||2019 Employment||Average Annual Wages, 2018||LQ||Five-year Employment Change, 2014 to 2019||Percent Growth||Annual Employment Growth, 2018 to 2019||Percent Growth|
|Personal Care and Service Workers (Other)||315,623||$22,300||0.94||84,188||6.4%||9,822||3.1%|
|Animal Care and Service Workers||18,324||$24,200||0.92||4,852||6.3%||454||2.5%|
|Sales Representatives, Services||205,744||$65,700||1.14||53,117||6.2%||3,309||1.6%|
|Supervisors of Personal Care and Service Workers||15,072||$42,800||0.65||3,822||6.0%||287||1.9%|
|Mathematical Science Occupations||14,417||$85,700||0.97||3,589||5.9%||482||3.3%|
|Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations (Other)||19,081||$68,500||1.29||3,835||4.6%||293||1.5%|
|Personal Appearance Workers||39,277||$26,300||0.77||7,178||4.1%||750||1.9%|
|Air Transportation Workers||33,332||$112,600||1.38||6,075||4.1%||492||1.5%|
Note: Data are as of Q4 2019 except wage data, which are for covered employment in 2018.
A strong educational foundation provides a cornerstone for growth and competitiveness in the global economy, offering opportunities for workplace advancement and business expansion.
Post-secondary education delivers a good return on investments of time and tuition. Texas workers with some college or associate degrees and with stable jobs (defined as those held with the same firm throughout a calendar quarter) earn an average of $8,393 more annually than those with a high school degree, while those with at least a bachelor’s degree earn an average of $43,681 more (Exhibit 9).
|Educational Attainment||Employed||Percent of Texas||Average Annual Earnings|
|Less than High School||2,065,483||17.1%||$42,808|
|High School or Equivalent, No College||2,765,759||22.9%||$52,035|
|Some College or Associate Degree||3,245,675||26.9%||$60,428|
|Bachelor’s Degree or Advanced Degree||2,454,975||20.3%||$95,716|
|Educational Attainment Data Unavailable||1,544,282||12.8%||$22,087|
Sources: U.S. Census Bureau and JobsEQ
During the 2017-18 school year, 90 percent of Texas’ high school seniors graduated a steady rise from the 84.3 percent graduation rate during the 2009-10 school year (Exhibit 10).
Source: Texas Education Agency
Many of Texas’ high school graduates enroll in postsecondary education, which offers greater job prospects and the possibility of higher wages. Each of the Comptroller’s economic regions offer a variety of higher education options (Exhibit 11).
|Region||Number of Universities||Number of Junior and Community Colleges||Number of Health Science Schools|
|Upper Rio Grande||2||1||1|
Note: See our individual regional reports for a more on higher education institutions within each region.
Source: Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board
The health of the Texas economy can be measured in part through an analysis of sales tax collections. Sales taxes are inherently volatile in the short term but over time can provide a useful gauge of the state’s economic condition.
Sales receipts subject to Texas state sales tax trended upward in the past decade, with a significant climb following the 2009 recession (Exhibit 12). While sales receipts leveled off somewhat from 2014 to 2016, 2019 receipts exceeded the long-term linear trend line.
|2007||330.3 billion dollars|
|2008||349.7 billion dollars|
|2009||315.4 billion dollars|
|2010||326.1 billion dollars|
|2011||361.9 billion dollars|
|2012||398.6 billion dollars|
|2013||421.8 billion dollars|
|2014||456.2 billion dollars|
|2015||457.9 billion dollars|
|2016||453.6 billion dollars|
|2017||483.1 billion dollars|
|2018||526.2 billion dollars|
|2019||556.7 billion dollars|
|Total||4.88 trillion dollars|
Source: Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
In 1997, the U.S., Canada and Mexico jointly released the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), which classifies all business enterprises for the purpose of collecting, analyzing and publishing economic statistics. A review of two-digit NAICS codes allows for a broad analysis of industry sectors.
In 2019, Texas’ retail trade and food services sector contributed most to taxable sales, contributing 36.8 percent of all reported taxable sales. Two other industries of note, the accommodation and the information sectors, together contributed about 20 percent of reported taxable sales.
Based on data from the World Bank and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, if Texas were a nation, it would rank as the world’s 9th largest economy in terms of GDP. Exhibit 13 shows how Texas ranks among other states and the nation on several demographic and economic measures.
|Population with at Least a High School Diploma, 2018||83.2%||49||87.7%|
|Population with Bachelor’s Degree or Higher, 2018||29.3%||28||31.5%|
|Population Under 18 Years, 2018||25.8%||2||22.4%|
|Population 65 Years and Above, 2018||12.6%||48||16.0%|
|Population Percent Change, 2010 to 2019||15.3%||2||6.3%|
|Per Capita Income, 2018||$50,355||26||$54,446|
|Unemployment Rate, 2019||3.5%||27||3.9%|
Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis
With several of the nation’s most populous cities, Texas’ urban and suburban areas offer significant economic opportunity. The state also has some of the nation’s least-populous counties, including some of the nation’s most productive agricultural land. This urban-rural interdependence creates sustainable cycles of economic activity. Each of Texas’ 12 economic regions feature dominant industries unique to each, contributing to an economic diversity that helped the state navigate previous economic downturns.
Since the 2010 Census, Texas’ population has risen by more than 3.8 million. Most Texas MSAs grew in the last decade, with the Austin-Round Rock and Midland MSAs leading the state in population growth. The state’s most populous counties, and all MSAs, have median ages on par with or younger than the state’s median of 34.2 years. Texas’ rural and less-populated counties have older populations; 163 of Texas’ 254 counties have median ages significantly above that of the state as a whole.
The Texas economy has seen consistent growth in the last decade. The military and its supporting industries have had a positive impact on all of the state’s economic regions. Businesses supporting energy extraction and transportation are highly concentrated in Texas, making its economy unique among states.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the material on this page, please contact the Comptroller’s Data Analysis and Transparency Division.
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