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.
Read the entire report and review a most helpful data table here.