The relative health of the Central Texas economy can be gauged by sales tax revenues and compared to other states in terms of education, population, per capita income and unemployment rate. Central Texas is a microcosm of the state, both urban and rural, with a vibrant and diverse economy. Sales receipts subject to state sales tax directly attributable to Central Texas have been on an upward trend over the past decade. However, many families in the region are still struggling to achieve financial stability and improve their quality of life.
In the past 10 years, average rents in Austin have increased by more than 50%, while the median income has only risen by 9%, making affordable housing even more out of reach for those earning the minimum wage. This report provides an overview of the regional economy of Central Texas and serves as a resource for comparative purposes. It examines regional economic trends, including population, household incomes, jobs and salaries, and education, as well as economic conditions and characteristics unique to Central Texas. Figure 15 shows how the Central Texas region ranks with other states and the nation in a range of demographic and economic measures.
The most important occupations in the Central Texas region are shown in Exhibits 7 and 8, first by location quotient and secondly by numerical growth over the past five years. Central Texas residents have access to a variety of options for higher educational achievement (Figure 1). Based on location ratios, the Central Texas region is a leader in leases of intangible non-financial assets; animal production and aquaculture; and activities to support mining. When it comes to average income, Central Texas is no different from other states. According to data from the U.
S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS), the median household income for Central Texans was $62,845 in 2019. This figure is slightly higher than the national median household income of $61,937. However, it is important to note that this figure varies significantly across different communities within Central Texas. For example, some communities have median household incomes that are much higher than the national average while others are much lower. In addition to median household income, it is also important to consider other factors such as poverty rate and cost of living when assessing economic health in Central Texas. According to data from the ACS, poverty rates in Central Texas range from 4% to 24%.
The cost of living in Central Texas is also relatively high compared to other states. The average cost of living index for Central Texas is 102.7 which is higher than the national average of 100. Overall, it is clear that while there are some areas within Central Texas that have higher incomes than others, there are still many families who struggle financially due to high costs of living and low wages. It is important for policy makers to take into account these factors when making decisions about economic development initiatives in order to ensure that all communities within Central Texas have access to economic opportunities.