Texas Middle Class Growing More Than Rest of U.S.
Texans like to joke that the Lone Star State is like a whole other country. But the best way to understand Texas’ astounding economic performance might just be to see what the United States would look like if you took Texas out of it.
Since the year 2000, Texas has increased the size of its workforce by 2 million people, an increase of 25 percent. The U.S., minus Texas, has increased its workforce over the same period by 5 million people, an increase of just 5 percent.
When the state’s longtime governor Rick Perry ran for president in 2012, left-wing critics pooh-poohed the Texas economic juggernaut, dismissing its jobs as undesirable, low-wage ones.
And it’s true that average wages in Texas are lower than the national average. But that’s because Texas absorbs a huge number of young, low-skilled immigrants whose wages typically follow the same pattern across the country. And Texas’ low cost of living — 10th lowest in the country, according to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center — helps those wages go much farther than they would in California or New York.
Economists use the Gini coefficient (named for Italian demographer Corrado Gini) to quantify the degree of income inequality in a particular country or region. And according to the U.S. Census Bureau, Texas has a lower Gini coefficient — indicating less income inequality — than either California or New York.