Poverty Rates in Decline throughout Greater Austin Area

Posted on 03/09/2017 by Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce

According to the most recent data available, poverty rates in the Austin MSA, Travis County and city of Austin appear to have declined over the past five years. In addition, the Child Poverty rate has also declined in the same three areas.

The information comes from the American Community Survey which includes data through end of year 2015 – see chart below. While the trend appears to be clear, even factoring in margin of error, there was a reported uptick in the poverty rate from 2013 to 2014. In addition, one county, Caldwell, also experienced an uptick in the poverty rate. It should also be noted that smaller counties with less population might experience wider swings in reporting. However, even taking into account the differing margins of error and demographic figures, the trend shows the poverty rate is declining.

While these trends point in a positive direction, the Chamber via Opportunity Austin believes it is important for the region to maintain vigilance in addressing poverty throughout the area. Poverty rates continue to be included as one of several key indicators central to Greater Austin’s economic health and overall well-being. While efforts to create new jobs, economic opportunities and educational programs tend to lift all boats, it is imperative to remain focused on keeping Austin an affordable place to live, work, and invest for the entire community.

American Community Survey (U.S. Census Bureau)

Total Poverty Rate
City of Austin Travis County Austin MSA
2015 Estimate 14.50% 13.30% 11.70%
2014 Estimate 18.50% 17.20% 15.10%
2013 Estimate 17.80% 16.10% 14.30%
2012 Estimate 20.30% 18.40% 15.50%
2011 Estimate 20.30% 18.50% 15.20%
Childhood Poverty Rate
City of Austin Travis County Austin MSA
2015 Estimate 20.10% 18.30% 15.20%
2014 Estimate 26.80% 24.30% 19.90%
2013 Estimate 23.60% 21.70% 17.80%
2012 Estimate 30.00% 26.40% 21.20%
2011 Estimate 29.10% 25.30% 19.80%

In addition to the charts above, more data on poverty in the Austin MSA can be found in a recent Chamber report on Poverty, Income & Health Insurance in the Central Texas Economy in Perspective.

Related Categories: Public Policy