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In the News

State of the Region: use momentum to tackle challenges!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The 2016 State of the Region presentation compared popular conceptions against realities to convey the region’s strengths and discuss challenging issues in the areas of population growth, job growth, transportation, land use, development and more.

“We have a lot of positive momentum in our region,” said CAPCOG Planning and Economic Development Director, Chris Schreck presenting the 2016 State of the Region. “The challenge for us is to identify how to best use that momentum to tackle some of the challenges that still remain.”

The region’s continual growth is a healthy economic statistic as it “zoomed past 2 million,” and shows no signs of slowing with about 50,000 people coming to the area per year, Schreck said. According to popular narrative, the majority of the new residents are young, millennial-hipsters, but more accurately those new residents could be “hipster-grandmothers”, he said. The largest growing demographic by percentage is people 60 to 74, whose population doubled in the last 10 years.

There are several positive trends for job and employment growth, such as advanced industries employment growing by about 40,000 jobs since 2005; however, of the 1.05 million jobs in the Capital Area, 58 percent are in occupations where people make less than $20 per hour on average. “In our region we don’t have an unemployment problem. Our problem is that many folks can work a fulltime job and still be incredibly financially stretched,” Schreck said.

Travis County is still the region’s employment epicenter, which caused about 315,000 workers to commute into the county from elsewhere as of 2014. The increasing traffic continues to congest the already stressed transportation infrastructure which is costly to expand. Developing more employment centers throughout the region, and encouraging telecommuting can help traffic and improve air quality.

The region’s environmental quality, affordability and equity, and disaster resiliency are other areas Schreck addressed in the presentation.

> Review the 2016 State of the Region.
> Learn about the CAPCOG Planning and Economic Division.
> Read other Planning and Economic Division Publications.

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