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Demographics

The Upper East Texas region’s population is growing, but not as quickly as that of the state as a whole. Upper East Texas is 71 percent white and has a population that is older on average than Texas’. Personal income in the region grew 28 percent from 2001 to 2006, nearly matching the growth experienced statewide.


Upper East Texas is much more rural than Texas as a whole. In 2007, metropolitan counties accounted for just 46 percent of the region’s population.

Panola College Tyson Scholarship award winners, PHOTO: Panola college

Panola College Tyson Scholarship award winners

PHOTO: Panola college


The 65+ age group accounted for 15 percent of the region’s population, considerably more than the state’s 10 percent share.

Metropolitan/Nonmetropolitan

The Upper East Texas region is a 23-county area containing three metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) – Tyler (Smith County), Longview (Gregg, Rusk and Upshur counties), and Texarkana (Bowie County). Delta County is part of the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington MSA. Defined by the federal government, a metropolitan area contains a core urban area of 50,000 or more population, accompanied by adjacent communities that have a high degree of economic and social interaction with that core (as measured by commuting to work).1 Exhibit 11 illustrates the region’s metro counties and the county seats for each county in the region.

Upper East Texas is much more rural than Texas as a whole. In 2007, metropolitan counties accounted for just 46 percent of the region’s population. By contrast, 87 percent of all Texas residents lived in metro areas in 2007.2

Exhibit 11

Upper East Texas Metro Counties

Upper East Texas Metro Counties

(Upper East Texas Metro Counties in Text Format.)

Population Growth

Given the largely rural character of Upper East Texas, it is no surprise that its regional population gains trail those of the state. Exhibit 12 shows growth indices for Texas and the region with 2002 as a base year. The regional population increased 5.3 percent between 2002 and 2007, compared to 9.8 percent for Texas. The Tyler MSA nearly matched state growth with a 9.7 percent increase, or 1.8 percent annually. The metro counties’ populations grew by 5.6 percent over this period, compared with 4.8 percent for the region’s non-metro counties.

Exhibit 12

Upper East Texas Actual and Projected Population Increase, 2002-2012

Upper East Texas Actual and Projected Population Increase, 2002-2012

(Upper East Texas Actual and Projected Population Increase in Table Format.)

Exhibit 13

Upper East Region, Texas and U.S. Population by Age, 2007

Upper East Region, Texas and U.S. Population by Age, 2007

(Upper East Region, Texas and U.S. Population by Age in Table Format.)


Age

The Upper East Texas region’s population is older on average than those of the state and the nation. In 2007, 33.5 percent of the region’s population was under the age of 25; 51.5 percent were aged 25 to 64; and 15 percent were 65 or older. The 65+ age group accounted for 15 percent of the region’s population, considerably more than the state’s 10 percent share. In the U.S. as a whole, 12.5 percent were aged 65 or older in 2007 (Exhibit 13).

Ethnicity

Exhibit 14 compares the regional population’s ethnicity with those of Texas and the U.S. The region is predominantly white, accounting for 71 percent of residents in 2007. Blacks made up 15.6 percent and Hispanics accounted for 11 percent. The remaining 2 percent fall in the “other” category, which includes persons of American Indian, Asian and Native Hawaiian descent and those claiming descent from two or more races.

The region’s population share of Hispanics is far lower than in the state as a whole and the nation. Its Hispanic population is, however, expected to increase more quickly than other ethnic groups, rising by 21.4 percent by 2015, while the white population is expected to rise by 3.0 percent and the black population by 2.2 percent.4

Educational Attainment

In 2007, 22 percent of the Upper East Texas region’s population had less than a high school degree. This proportion is much higher than the U.S. average, but nearly equal with Texas figures. The region trails the state, however, in its share of the population holding a bachelor’s degree. Only 11 percent of the region’s residents have earned a bachelor’s degree, compared with 17 percent in Texas and 18 percent in the U.S. (Exhibit 15).

Exhibit 14

Upper East Region, Texas and U.S. Population by Ethnicity, 2007

Upper East Region, Texas and U.S. Population by Ethnicity, 2007

(Upper East Region, Texas and U.S. Population by Ethnicity in Table Format.)

Exhibit 15

Educational Attainment for Population Over the Age of 25, 2007 Upper East Texas, Texas and U.S. Averages

Educational Attainment for Population Over the Age of 25, 2007 Upper East Texas, Texas and U.S. Averages

(Educational Attainment for Population Over the Age of 25, Upper East Texas, Texas and U.S. Averages in Table Format.)

Crime Rates, Upper East Texas Region, 2005-2006

Crime 2005 Upper East Texas Crime Rate 2005 Texas Crime Rate 2006 Upper East Texas Crime Rate 2006 Texas Crime Rate Upper East Texas % Change in Crime Rate Texas % Change in Crime Rate
Murder 4.7 6.1 5.1 5.9 8.5% -3.3%
Rape 44.6 37.2 37.6 35.8 -15.7% -3.8%
Robbery 59.0 156.5 52.1 158.5 -11.7% 1.3%
Assault 348.8 329.6 346.3 316.8 -0.7% -3.9%
Violent Crime Rate 457.1 529.5 441.1 531.6 -3.5% 0.4%
Burglary 890.5 960.6 854.3 916.3 -4.1% -4.6%
Larceny 2,235.1 2956.0 2,064.1 2,752.8 -7.7% -6.9%
Auto Theft 243.3 408.7 222.2 407.0 -8.7% -0.4%
Property Crime Rate 3,368.9 4,325.3 3,140.6 4,191.6 -6.8% -3.1%
Total Crime Rate 3,826.0 4,854.8 3,581.7 4,593.1 -6.4% -5.4%

Note: All crime rates are reported per 100,000 population.

Source: Texas Department of Public Safety.

Exhibit 16

Median Household Income, State of Texas and Selected Counties, 2005

Median Household Income, State of Texas and Selected Counties, 2005

(Median Household Income, State of Texas and Selected Counties in Table Format.)

Income

The median income for all Texas households in 2005 (most recent data available) was $42,139.7 In the Upper East Texas region, Smith County, where Tyler is located, had the highest median household income at $39,267. Marion County had the lowest, at $27,683. The counties representing Longview MSA (Gregg, Rusk and Upshur) had a median income of between $36,000 and $37,500. Bowie County, home to Texarkana, had the lowest income of the metropolitan areas at nearly $33,700 (Exhibit 16).8

While the region’s median household incomes are lower than the statewide average, such measures do not take the cost of living into account. A cost-of-living adjustment can facilitate a more accurate comparison of income.

For instance, a person earning an annual salary of $37,000 in Longview has the equivalent purchasing power as a person living in Dallas earning $45,738, or 24 percent more. The purchasing equivalency in Austin is a salary of $47,313.9

Total personal income in the region rose by 28.0 percent between 2001 and 2006, compared with 32.8 percent for the state as a whole. Five counties in the region outpaced the state average during this period (Exhibit 17).

Per capita personal income in the region averaged nearly $29,200 in 2006, or 83 percent of the state average of $35,166. Only Gregg County had a higher average than the state.10

Sources: Encyclopedia Britannica Online, The Handbook of Texas Online and Biography.com.

Exhibit 17

Upper East Texas Per Capita Personal Income Percent Increase 2001-2006

Upper East Texas Per Capita Personal Income Percent Increase 2001-2006

(Upper East Texas Per Capita Personal Income Percent Increase in Table Format.)

Endnotes

  • 1 U.S. Office of Management and Budget, OMB Bulletin No. 08-01: Update of Statistical Area Definitions and Guidance on Their Uses (Washington, D.C., November 20, 2007), pp. 2, 30, 39, 51, http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/bulletins/fy2008/b08-01.pdf. (Last visited September 23, 2008.)
  • 2 Data provided by Economic Modeling Specialists Inc., (EMSI), for rural population data.
  • 3 America’s Promise Alliance, “The 2008 100 Best Communities for Young People: Longview, Texas,” p. 1, http://www.americaspromise.org/APAPage.aspx?id=11094&terms=Longview+Texas. (Last visited September 23, 2008.)
  • 4 Data provided by EMSI for age and ethnicity data.
  • 5 Texas Department of Public Safety, Uniform Crime Reporting Bureau, “2005 and 2006 Statewide and Upper East Texas Index of Crimes,” A custom query was created.
  • 6 U.S. Census Bureau, “Code 9221: Justice, Public Order, and Safety Related Employment for Upper East Texas.” A custom query was created.
  • 7 U.S. Census Bureau, “Household Income–Distribution by Income Level and State: 2005,” p.1, http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/tables/08s0684.xls. (Last visited September 23, 2008.)
  • 8 U.S. Census Bureau, “Small Area Income & Poverty Estimates–State and County Estimates.” A custom query was created for Upper East Texas counties.
  • 9 Sperling’s Best Places, “Cost of Living Calculator,” http://www.bestplaces.net/col/. (Last visited September 24, 2008.)
  • 10 U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, “Texas Per Capita Personal Income and Population by County for 2006.” A custom database query was created with Texas Comptroller office calculations.
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