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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

The Upper East Region2018 Regional Report

The 23-county Upper East Region encompasses about 16,000 square miles in the northeast corner of Texas, stretching from the Arkansas and Louisiana borders on the east to Cedar Creek Reservoir in the west. The region has a population density of 74 people per square mile, less than the state average of 108 people per square mile. The Upper East Region includes three metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs): the Longview MSA, consisting of the counties of Gregg, Rusk and Upshur; the Texarkana MSA, which consists of Bowie County; and the Tyler MSA, which consists of Smith County.

Counties in the region not associated with an MSA are Anderson, Camp, Cass, Cherokee, Delta, Franklin, Harrison, Henderson, Hopkins, Lamar, Marion, Morris, Panola, Rains, Red River, Titus, Van Zandt and Wood. The economic core of the Upper East region is the city of Tyler (Smith County). The Tyler MSA has a population of about 228,000.

This report examines regional economic trends including population, personal income, jobs and wages, and education, as well as economic conditions unique to the Upper East Region.

Population

The Upper East Region’s estimated total population in 2017 was 1.14 million, or nearly 4 percent of the state’s total population. This is an increase of 3 percent (more than 32,000 people) since the 2010 census. An estimated 20 percent of the region’s population is concentrated in the Tyler MSA, representing slightly less than 1 percent of the state’s population.

From 2010 to 2017, the region’s population grew at a slower pace than did the state’s as a whole. While the population of each county in the region changed during this period (Exhibit 1), Rains and Smith counties outpaced all others, growing by about 8 percent each, slightly less than the state growth rate.

Exhibit 1: Upper East Region Population by County,
2010 and 2017
County 2010 Census Estimate (as of July 2017) Percent Change
Anderson 58,458 57,741 -1.2%
Bowie 92,565 94,012 1.6%
Camp 12,401 12,855 3.7%
Cass 30,464 30,012 -1.5%
Cherokee 50,845 52,240 2.7%
Delta 5,231 5,298 1.3%
Franklin 10,605 10,767 1.5%
Gregg 121,730 123,367 1.3%
Harrison 65,631 66,661 1.6%
Henderson 78,532 81,064 3.2%
Hopkins 35,161 36,496 3.8%
Lamar 49,793 49,587 -0.4%
Marion 10,546 10,064 -4.6%
Morris 12,934 12,467 -3.6%
Panola 23,796 23,243 -2.3%
Rains 10,914 11,762 7.8%
Red River 12,860 12,229 -4.9%
Rusk 53,330 52,833 -0.9%
Smith 209,714 227,727 8.6%
Titus 32,334 32,904 1.8%
Upshur 39,309 41,281 5.0%
Van Zandt 52,579 55,182 5.0%
Wood 41,964 44,314 5.6%
Upper East Region Total 1,111,696 1,144,106 2.9%
Tyler MSA 209,714 227,727 8.6%
Texas Total 25,145,561 28,304,596 12.6%

Source: U.S. Census Bureau


Population Composition

According to a recent Census analysis, the median age of the counties in the Upper East Region is significantly higher the state’s as a whole. Almost every county in the region (21 of 23) has a median age significantly higher than the state’s median age of 34.2 years. Marion, at more than 49 years, is the oldest county in the region. The Tyler MSA’s median age of 36.3 years also is higher than the statewide median. Household income in Texas is more or less evenly distributed among five income levels.

Of the more than 9 million households within the state of Texas, 22 percent have incomes less than $25,000 and 16 percent have incomes more than $125,000. In every region of the state, nearly 18 percent of the households have average incomes between $50,000 and $75,000. Household income within the Upper East Region was significantly lower than the state, with only 27.6 percent of the region’s households having average incomes exceeding $75,000 versus 36.3 percent for the state (Exhibit 2).

The Upper East Region’s total population is 14.5 percent Hispanic – more than 24 percentage points lower than Hispanics’ 38.6 percent share of the state population (Exhibit 3). Non-Hispanic blacks represent 15.2 percent of the region’s population – 3.6 percentage points higher than the state average of 11.6 percent.

Exhibit 2: Upper East Region and Texas Household Income

Exhibit 2: Household Income Percentile, Upper East Region vs. Texas
Income Level Upper East Region State Total
less than $25,000 27.4% 22.2%
$25,000 to $50,000 27.1% 23.6%
$50,000 to $75,000 17.8% 17.8%
$75,000 to $125,000 17.9% 20.2%
more than $125,000 9.7% 16.1%

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Exhibit 3: Upper East Region and Texas Population by Race and Ethnicity

Population by Race and Ethnicity, Upper East Region vs. Texas
Race and Ethnicity Upper East Region State Total
Hispanic 14.5% 38.6%
Black (not Hispanic) 15.2% 11.6%
White (not Hispanic) 67.4% 43.4%
Other 2.9% 6.3%

Source: U.S. Census Bureau


Jobs and Wages

In 2017, the Upper East Region accounted for 3.5 percent of the state’s total employment. The region’s employment increased by more than 2 percent, from 2007 to 2017. Employment in the Tyler MSA increased more than 10 percent over the same period (Exhibit 4). About 25 percent of the region’s total jobs are in the Tyler MSA.

Exhibit 4: Upper East Region Employment, 2007 to 2017
Area Number of Jobs, 2017 Change in Jobs from 2007 Percent Change
Tyler MSA 102,411 9,533 10.3%
Upper East Region 416,547 9,362 2.3%
Texas 12,011,078 1,779,177 17.4%
United States 143,860,846 8,495,037 6.3%

Note: The above 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 Bureau of Labor Statistics


The average wage in the Upper East Region was $41,868 in 2017, well below the average wage of the state and nation. From 2007 to 2017, individual wage growth in the region was lower than individual wage growth at the state and national levels during the same period (Exhibit 5).

Adjusted for inflation, individual wages in the Upper East Region increased about 3 percent during this period. Within the region, the Tyler MSA average wage was slightly higher than the region.

Exhibit 5: Upper East Region Wage Trends, 2007 to 2017
Area Average Wage, 2017 Change in Wages from 2007 Nominal Rate of Change, 2007 to 2017 Real Rate of Change,* 2007 to 2017
Tyler MSA $44,331 $7,147 19.2% 0.8%
Upper East Region $41,868 $7,433 21.6% 2.8%
Texas $55,801 $11,106 24.9% 5.6%
United States $55,375 $10,917 24.6% 5.4%

* The constant or “real” rate adjusts average wages for the effects of inflation in the value of a particular base year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, prices in 2017 are 18.22 percent higher than prices in 2007.

Sources: JobsEQ and Bureau of Labor Statistics


Industry Concentration

Exhibit 6 lists the Upper East Region industry subsectors that are the most highly concentrated according to location quotient (LQ) — a measure of how concentrated an industry is in a region relative to the nation — and by their shares within each subsector of the state’s total jobs. Industries are described according to the federal government’s North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), which is used by federal statistical agencies to classify business establishments.

The Upper East Region’s most highly concentrated industries focus primarily on the extraction and transportation of natural resources and logging and wood products. Employment in the petroleum and coal products manufacturing subsector increased by more than 15 percent from 2007-2017.

Exhibit 6: Upper East Region’s Most Highly Concentrated Industries, 2007 to 2017
Industry Description (NAICS1) Job Concentration Job Trends Wage Trends
Location Quotient2 Share of State's Jobs Number of Jobs Change, 2007 to 2017 Average Wage Nominal Rate3 of Change Real Rate3 of Change, 2007 to 2017
Support Activities for Mining (213) 8.21 5.5% 7,295 -21.0% $72,505 14.3% -3.3%
Pipeline Transportation (486) 3.53 2.8% 535 -17.2% $116,233 24.4% 5.3%
Oil and Gas Extraction (211) 3.22 1.8% 1,395 -16.3% $106,495 35.5% 14.6%
Wood Product Manufacturing (321) 2.77 13.7% 3,308 -7.7% $36,128 25.8% 6.4%
Forestry and Logging (113) 2.62 28.1% 454 -17.5% $50,832 28.0% 8.3%
Animal Production and Aquaculture (112) 2.37 7.4% 1,878 -9.4% $32,226 45.0% 22.6%
Paper Manufacturing (322) 2.15 13.6% 2,381 -14.7% $65,677 23.4% 4.4%
Petroleum and Coal Products Manufacturing (324) 2.02 3.0% 688 15.3% $80,005 22.7% 3.8%
Food Manufacturing (311) 1.96 10.0% 9,395 -0.6% $39,680 28.7% 8.9%
Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction (237) 1.96 3.9% 6,819 -5.6% $51,385 33.0% 12.5%
Upper East Region - 3.5% 416,547 2.3% $41,868 21.6% 2.8%

Note: The figures above include private and public sector employees with the exception of active duty military personnel, railroad employees, religious institution employees and the self-employed.

  1. NAICS codes are the standard used by federal statistical agencies in classifying business establishments for the purpose of collecting, analyzing and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. business economy.
  2. The higher the location quotient, the more concentrated the industry subsector is in the region compared to nation.
  3. The constant or “real” rate adjusts average wages for the effects of inflation in the value of a particular base year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, prices in 2017 were 18.22 percent higher than prices in 2007.

Sources: JobsEQ and Bureau of Labor Statistics


Education

A strong educational foundation is the cornerstone for growth and competitiveness in the global economy. As the Texas economy diversifies, becoming more knowledge based, a well-educated workforce offers possibilities for workplace advancement and prospects for business expansion.

In 2016, 93.4 percent of the Upper East Region’s class of public high school students graduated, higher than the state’s graduation rate of 89.1 percent (Exhibit 7). The region’s high school graduation rate reliably outperforms the state’s and has increased about 2 percent since 2010.

Many high school graduates enroll in postsecondary programs, offering greater job prospects and the possibility of earning higher wages. Residents of the Upper East Region enjoy a variety of options for higher educational achievement (Exhibit 8).

Exhibit 7: Upper East Region and Texas Public High School Graduation Rates, 2010 to 2016
Year South Texas
2010 91.1% 84.3%
2011 92.0% 85.9%
2012 93.1% 87.7%
2013 93.6% 88.0%
2014 93.6% 88.3%
2015 93.6% 89.0%
2016 93.4% 89.1%

Source: Texas Education Agency


Exhibit 8: Upper East Region Institutions of Higher Education, 2017

Universities

  • East Texas Baptist University
  • Jarvis Christian College
  • LeTourneau University
  • Texas A&M University – Texarkana
  • Texas College
  • The University of Texas at Tyler
  • Wiley College

Health Science Schools

  • The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler

Junior and Community Colleges

  • Jacksonville College
  • Kilgore College
  • Northeast Texas Community College
  • Panola College
  • Paris Junior College
  • Texarkana College
  • Texas State Technical College – Marshall
  • Trinity Valley Community College
  • Tyler Junior College

Source: Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board

Regional Economy

The Comptroller's office has analyzed data pertaining to the Upper East Region, examining the region’s dynamics and competitiveness.

Sales Tax Revenue

Sales receipts subject to state sales tax directly attributable to the Upper East Region have trended upward in the past decade (Exhibit 9). The region has experienced fluctuations following the 2009 recession, with an upward trend line (trend lines depict trends in data, either upward, downward or flat, for an extended period of time).

Receipts from 2017 continued to fluctuate, but the overall trend is upward. For 2017, receipts subject to state sales tax directly attributed to businesses in the Upper East Region exceeded $11.6 billion, contributing about 2.4 percent to the state’s overall sales tax revenue collections. The Tyler MSA directly accounted for $3.1 billion of this total.

A review of two-digit NAICS codes allows for a broad analysis of industry sectors within the region. The retail trade and the food services and accommodation sectors contribute most to taxable sales, with the two combining for more than 71 percent of the region’s state sales tax contributions. Two other industries of note are the wholesale trade and the manufacturing sectors, combining for 13 percent of the region’s reported sales tax contributions.

Exhibit 9: Revenue Subject to Sales Tax, 2007 to 2017
Year Upper East Region
2007 $10,077,896,974
2008 $10,872,249,312
2009 $9,697,277,606
2010 $9,833,398,095
2011 $10,376,029,054
2012 $10,671,559,318
2013 $10,819,907,108
2014 $11,557,686,863
2015 $11,529,632,444
2016 $11,190,625,633
2017 $11,633,255,832

Note: Numbers shown are for reported revenue subject to sales tax and directly attributed to the region.

Source: Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts


U.S. Military Installation Impact

Texas has 13 U.S. military installations within its borders. In 2017, these bases directly employed more than 224,000 and supported nearly 625,000 jobs. The U.S. military installations in Texas contributed about $62.3 billion to the state’s gross domestic product (GDP).

Military installations in the Upper East Region have a positive impact on the Texas economy, supporting an estimated 12,000 jobs and contributing about $1 billion to the state’s GDP (Exhibit 10).

Exhibit 10: Estimated U.S. Military Impact on the Gulf Coast Region, 2017
Region Total Jobs Supported U.S. Military Contribution to State GDP
State of Texas 624,690 $62.3 billion
Upper East 11,926 $1.0 billion

Sources: Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, TMPC, REMI


Upper East Region vs. the U.S.

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 10th largest economy in terms of GDP.

Exhibit 11 shows how the region rates with other states and the nation on several demographic and economic measures. Were it a state, the Upper East Region would be the 42nd largest in the nation in terms of land mass (square miles) and the 43rd largest by population. The region also would have the 35th lowest unemployment rate based on 2017 data.

Exhibit 11: Upper East Region Compared to the U.S.
Measure Upper East Region Rank if Region
was a State
Texas State Rank U.S.
Population 1,144,106 43 28,304,596 2 325,719,178
Population age 25+ with at least a high school diploma 83.2% 48 82.4% 49 87.0%
Population age 25+ with bachelor’s degree or higher 18.2% 51 28.1% 29 30.3%
Population under 18 years 23.8% 11 26.0% 2 22.6%
Population 65 years and over 17.9% 7 12.3% 48 15.7%
Age dependency ratio* 71.5% 51 62.1% 20 61.9%
Per capita income $39,806 43 $46,204 25 $49,204
Unemployment rate 4.6% 35 4.3% 26 4.4%

* The age dependency ratio is the share of dependent-age persons compared to the working-age population minus the sum of those under 18 years and 65 and older divided by the population age 18 to 64. In other words, for every 100 working-age people in Texas there are about 62 dependent-age people.

Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis


Conclusion

The Upper East Region and its 23 counties have many economic variables and challenges that are unique. The region features a diverse economy that is both rural and urban. Forming the economic hub is Smith County (the sole county in the Tyler MSA). It is the region’s most populous county as well as the fastest growing.

The region saw limited population growth since 2010, its median age is significantly older than the state’s as a whole, and average household income is less than the statewide average. The U.S. military’s presence has had a positive economic impact on the region, however, and most of the top 10 most concentrated industries saw a significant rise in average wages from 2007 to 2017. The region’s high school graduation rate has reliably outperformed the state’s rate year after year, and the local economy has seen a steady increase in receipts subject to state sales tax since the 2009 recession.


Questions?

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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