Data, Maps, and Reports
Central Texas Regional Data
With one of the country’s most-educated workforce and a thriving business community supported by continuous innovation the Central Texas region can support companies of any size and industry—from established technology giants such as Apple and Dell to novel start-ups in areas such as biotechnology, clean energy, and telecommunications.
The Austin metropolitan region, combined with an additional five counties that comprise the Capital Area Council of Governments, offers companies and their workers an unparalleled economic environment. The region’s unemployment rate, for example, remains more than two percentage points below the national average. While communities throughout the country continue to struggle from the fallout from the economic downturn, employment in the Central Texas region has surpassed pre-recession highs. Looking forward, Central Texas is expected to maintain its strength in the years ahead; according to a recent analysis by Moody Analytics, economic growth in the Austin metropolitan region is expected to grow more than twice the national average through 2016.
No where is the advantage Central Texas provides local companies more evident than in the area of innovation. Among the country’s top 100 metropolitan areas, Forbes Magazine crowned Austin as the most innovative. On a per capita basis, Central Texas trails only Silicon Valley in the production of utility patents. Additionally, Austin is home to the most productive location for the world’s single largest producer of patents—IBM. The Central Texas region’s innovative culture is further supported by an extensive network of engaged entrepreneurs. The Business Journal, for example, has named Central Texas the best place to start a business, a title the region has maintained for three straight years.The Austin region’s remarkable concentration of human capital helps fuel constant innovation.
The Central Texas region is the single most popular destination for college-educated migrants. Nearly half of all adults who move to the Austin metropolitan area from another state holds a college diploma. In addition to its status as one the country’s premier talent magnets, Central Texas produces a wealth of human capital each year from its local community colleges and four-year universities. The result is a virtual circle in which booming businesses help attract and retain talented workers, which in turn helps fuel future business growth. In today’s increasingly knowledge-based economy, locating in the Central Texas region provides companies with a crucial competitive advantage.
The information below outlines the competitive advantages of the Central Texas region. For additional information on economic development in Central Texas, contact Michael Hennig, economic development program manager, or reach out to our partner communities eager to help your business succeed.
Economic Competitiveness Measures
People follow economic opportunity, and there is no region more economically dynamic than Central Texas. The Central Texas region benefits from extraordinary levels of population growth; among metropolitan areas with at least 500,000 residents, Central Texas is currently the country’s fastest-growing metropolitan area. During the past decade, the Austin metropolitan area has been one of the country’s fastest-growing regions. Between 2000 and 2011, the population of Central Texas increased by nearly 43 percent - more than twice the rate of other fast-growing areas such as Denver and Portland.
Williamson County is projected to experience the greatest level of growth in the years ahead, with a 22 percent population increase expected by 2016. Other counties in Central Texas projected to experience double-digit population increases during this period include Bastrop, Burnet and Hays counties. Travis County, which includes the city of Austin, is projected to grow by 7 percent.
In 2011, the population of Central Texas (which includes the Austin metropolitan area and five adjacent counties) approached 1.9 million. Since 2002, the Central Texas region has grown by nearly 450,000 residents. The region’s current growth is expected to continue in the years ahead. By 2016, the population of the capital area is expected to exceed 2.1 million.
The tremendous growth of the Austin metropolitan area is largely the result of the region’s remarkable economic resilience. Since 2001, the Austin region has added more than 92,000 jobs - approaching the combined job growth of Raleigh/Durham and Nashville during this period. While communities such as Denver and San Jose are still struggling to fully recover from the recession, the Austin region is thriving.
The unemployment rate of the Austin region remains the envy of peer communities. At 6.8 percent, unemployment in Austin is significantly below the national average and communities such as San Jose, Portland, Raleigh/Durham, Denver and Nashville.
Austin’s dynamism is further reflected in the region’s growing economic output. During the past decade, the gross regional product of the Austin region has jumped by approximately 65 percent. In comparison, since 2000 the economies of Denver and San Jose have expanded at just two-thirds this rate.
In 2010, nearly 40 percent of Central Texas residents possessed a four-year college degree.
On a per capita basis, the Austin region produces more patents than almost any other region in the country. On a proportional basis, the Austin region produced more patents in 2010 than Portland, Denver and Nashville combined.
Despite the region’s strong economic performance during the past decade, Austin remains rather affordable compared to other major metropolitan regions. In 2010, the median value of a home in Austin was just 3.4 times more than the median household income. In contrast, the median value of a home in San Jose is 7.5 times more than the median household income.
Central Texas is an increasingly integrated region that leverages the many assets of individual counties to deliver a compelling quality of life for residents while also providing a competitive business climate for employers. Today, nearly half of all workers cross a county line to reach their place of employment, giving Central Texas employers access to one of the world’s best workforces.
Austin Chamber of Commerce
Bastrop Economic Development Corporation
Buda Economic Development Corporation
City of Burnet, Community Development
Cedar Park Economic Development Corporation
Elgin Economic Development Corporation
City of Georgetown Economic Development Department
Hutto Economic Development Corporation
Jarrell Economic Development Corporation
Kyle Economic Development
Lago Vista-Jonestown Economic Development Alliance
LAKE TRAVIS (LAKEWAY)
Lake Travis Chamber of Commerce
City of Leander
Luling Economic Development Corporation
Manor Economic Development Corporation
Marble Falls Economic Development Corporation
Lockhart Economic Development Corporation
Pflugerville Economic Development Corporation
Round Rock Chamber of Commerce/Economic Development Partnership
Greater San Marcos Partnership
Taylor Economic Development Corporation