My New Year’s resolution is to put doing something about the high levels of Texas poverty on our state’s agenda for 2009. Here is an assessment of where Texas communities stand in terms of poverty based on the recently released American Communities Survey.
There are 61 Texas communities represented in the Census survey of more than 900 communities across the US.
Six Texas communities have poverty levels below the average US poverty level of 13.3 percent. However, three of the six are large metro areas (Austin-Round Rock, Dallas-Plano-Irving Metro Division and Fort Worth-Arlington Metro Division) that include affluent suburban communities that dilute much higher percentages of central city urban poverty. The “urbanized areas” of major Texas cities themselves have the following poverty rates: Austin – 14.1 percent; Dallas/Fort Worth – 14.1 percent and; San Antonio – 17.2 percent; and Houston – 16.1 percent. All are above the US community average.
Three smaller Texas communities have poverty rates below the US average: Dumas, Gainesville and Fredericksburg. Fredericksburg’s poverty rate is actually less than half of the US average.
Two Texas communities have poverty levels equal to the US average. A whopping forty-four Texas communities have poverty levels above the US average but less than twice the US level.
Nine Texas communities have poverty rates more than double that of the average US community. All of these communities, except College Station-Bryan, are along the Texas-Mexico border. Raymondville, Texas ranked as the community with the highest percent of persons in poverty of all US communities with an astonishing 50.1 percent of its residents below the poverty level. Rio Grande City-Roma ranked second in the US in poverty.
Eighty-seven percent of Texas communities in the American Communities survey have higher rates of persons in poverty than the US.
I extracted this data for Texas metropolitan or micropolitan statistical areas from Census Table GCT1701. The table shows the percent of people below the poverty level in the past 12 months (for whom poverty status is determined). The data represents the latest poverty estimates from the 2005-2007 American Community Survey.
Rank Percent of people in US Metro & Metro Statistical Area below poverty 1 Raymondville 50.1 2 Rio Grande City-Roma 41.4 6 McAllen-Edinburg-Mission 37.5 7 Brownsville-Harlingen 37.1 12 Eagle Pass 33.1 21 Laredo 30.5 32 Kingsville 28.7 34 El Paso 28.2 38 College Station-Bryan 26.7 43 Bay City 25.6 46 Del Rio 25.4 48 Big Spring 25.1 55 Huntsville 24.6 58 Alice 24.4 67 Beeville 23.6 80 Uvalde 23.0 120 Brownwood 21.0 133 Nacogdoches 20.5 140 Corsicana 20.2 174 Corpus Christi 19.2 180 Marshall 19.1 182 Waco 19.1 195 Plainview 18.8 212 Jacksonville 18.5 224 Lubbock 18.1 229 Stephenville 18.0 246 Lufkin 17.6 252 Athens 17.4 260 San Angelo 17.4 270 Brenham 17.2 287 Odessa 16.9 305 Paris 16.7 313 Beaumont-Port Arthur 16.5 322 Borger 16.4 330 Abilene 16.3 343 Palestine 16.2 354 Amarillo 16.0 361 Pampa 15.9 363 Tyler 15.9 368 Mount Pleasant 15.8 369 San Antonio 15.8 371 Sulphur Springs 15.8 375 Levelland 15.7 378 Kerrville 15.6 394 Longview 15.4 411 Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown 15.2 421 Victoria 15.1 437 Bonham 14.8 440 El Campo 14.8 441 Midland 14.8 442 Mineral Wells 14.8 456 Wichita Falls 14.6 481 Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood 14.2 553 Granbury 13.3 557 Sherman-Denison 13.3 565 Dumas 13.2 575 Austin-Round Rock 13.1 578 Dallas-Plano-Irving Metro Division 13.1 586 Gainesville 13.0 618 Fort Worth-Arlington Metro Division 12.6 928 Fredericksburg 6.5
If a city has a high poverty rate, it is GOOD! It means that that city has not driven out the poor as so many have, like Boston, Frisco, and Austin.
The cuase of homelessness is big government liberal elitist ZONING! and the best thing the government can do to reduce homessness is get out of the way and stop actively causing it by demolishing and condemning shanties.
I’m not so sure that it’s “liberal elitists” that have caused the problem of homelessness or poverty. The lack of education may be the key to both issues. There has to be a way of ensuring that a good education is made available to everyone. A lot of people under the poverty level are “generational” and that mindset has to change BEFORE any success is made.
As far as the “shanties” go… How is the condemning of those “homes” a bad thing? If you’ve been to some Texas-Mexico border towns and have actually seen some of those areas, you must wonder how humans (particularly Americans) could allow other humans to exist like that.
Thank you for your post — it is shocking to see how much poverty exists in our state.
aditmore is right! We’re moving out of Boston because we can’t afford it here any more. We’re looking at Texas because it’s affordable. Boston’s loss. We’re a good, hard working family.
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