The five-county Austin MSA passed 2,250,000 in total population in 2019, having grown by over 1/4 million since 2015. Today, Travis County makes up more than half of that total with a resident population of over 1.25 million people.
Hays and Williamson Counties continue to grow at the fastest rates. Williamson County increased its population by 16% over the last five years and reached a population of over 590,000 people. Hays County continues to top the list with a five-year growth rate of 18%, and reached a total population of 230,191. Bastrop County, with a 10% growth rate, and Travis County, with an 8% growth rate, were the counties with least growth in the Austin MSA region.
The U.S. Census Bureau reports that 49% of Travis County residents are White, 34% are Hispanic, 8% are Black and 7% are Asian. Forty-six percent of the child population are Hispanic, while 68% of the population age 65 or older is White.
There are stark differences in educational attainment levels and median household income by race and ethnicity. The first graph depicts median household income. The second graph depicts the percent of people in Travis County, over the age of 25, who have a Bachelor’s degree or higher. Approximately 29% of Black adults over the age of 25, and 24% of Hispanic adults over the age of 25, have a Bachelor’s degree. This contributes to lower household incomes for these groups. Increasing educational opportunity and educational success for people of all races and ethnicities is one way we can bridge the economic divide and increase access to opportunity.
This map shows the percentage of the population within each census tract who are low-income, or earn less than two-times the federal poverty threshold. The Center for Public Policy Priorities estimates that it takes at least two times the federal poverty level for families to meet their basic needs. Dark blue areas are census tracts where more than 50% of the total population are low income. Census tracts that are medium blue represent areas where 30 % to 50% of the total population is low-income.
About 24% of all people living in the five-county Austin Metropolitan Statistical Area are low-income . “Low-income” is defined as people who live in a household with total earnings of less than 200% of the federal poverty threshold. In 2019, these were $51,852 for a family of four (consisting of 2 adults/2 children) and $51,852 for a family of three (consisting of 1 adult/2 children).
From 2010 to 2019, the Austin Metropolitan Statistical Area has grown by 491,000 people, surpassing 2 million people in 2015. This represents a growth of 29%. The number of low-income residents declined by more than 45,000, a reduction of approximately 9% over the same time period.
CHANGE IN LOW- INCOME
This map depicts the change in the number of low-income people reported for each census tract from 2010 to 2016.
Census tracts that are blue saw a decline in the number of people who are low-income and areas that are green saw an increase of up to 500 people who are low-income over this six year period.
Census tracts that are gold saw between 500 and 1500 additional low-income people, and census tracts that are red saw increases between 1,500 to more than 3,000 additional low-income people.
Census tracts with small low-income populations may be unreliable.
The number of Travis County residents, aged five and older, who speak a language other than English grew by 69% from 2000 to 2018, and the number of residents who speak English less than “very well” has grown by 41%. In 2018, 31% of Travis County residents age five or older spoke a language other than English, and 11% spoke English less than “very well”.
Spanish was the most commonly-spoken non-English language in Travis County and the five-county Austin MSA in this one-year American Community Survey data estimate. About 40% of the Spanish speakers in the Austin MSA speak English “less than very well,” which indicates a need for English language and adult literacy classes as well as translation and interpretation services. Vietnamese and Chinese are the second and third most commonly spoken languages in Travis County and in the five-county Austin MSA. Almost half (49%) of Vietnamese speakers surveyed were found to speak English “less than very well”, while 32% of Chinese speakers surveyed were found to speak English “less than very well”.