Houston excels in the latest ranking of top U.S. cities for working-class families

By: Taro Chellaram /Real Estate Articles/Dec 29, 2023

Houston excels in the latest ranking of top U.S. cities for working-class families

The Ludwig Institute for Shared Economic Prosperity (LISEP) reveals that Houston-The-Woodlands-Sugar Land boasts the 30th most prosperous local economy in the U.S. Factors include a surging population, with a median age of 35.1, and three key metrics: "True Living Cost," "True Weekly Earnings," and "True Rate of Unemployment Out of the Population." While over 50% of households meet basic needs, 46.4% struggle due to a high cost of living. A 58.2% increase in necessities costs for a 4-person family is noted. Despite a 63% "True Rate of Unemployment," Houstonians' median weekly earnings rose to $894.89. LISEP aims to guide policymakers in assessing economic dynamics and supporting struggling families. Other Texas metro areas, like Austin and San Antonio, also earn spots in the analysis. The top-performing U.S. economies include San Jose-Sunnyvale, Austin-Round Rock, and San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward.

A recent economic analysis conducted by the Ludwig Institute for Shared Economic Prosperity (LISEP) has shed light on the economic landscape of Houston-The-Woodlands-Sugar Land, positioning it as the 30th most prosperous local economy among the 50 largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) in the U.S. The evaluation considered various localized economic factors, revealing key insights into the region's dynamics.

Key Points:

  • Population Growth: Houston has experienced a significant surge in population, witnessing an 18.7 percent increase over the past decade, with the current population surpassing 7.34 million residents. The median age of Houstonians stands at 35.1 years.
  • Determining Criteria: The prosperity ranking of Houston was determined by three primary criteria:
    True Living Cost: Tracking price changes for essential household necessities.
    True Weekly Earnings: Calculating the median weekly earnings of all workers, including part-timers and the unemployed.
    True Rate of Unemployment Out of the Population: Measuring the percentage of people unable to find full-time employment with a living wage.
  • Income Disparities: The analysis reveals that slightly over half of Houston-area households are earning enough to afford basic needs, while 46.4 percent are grappling with financial challenges due to a high cost of living.
  • Cost of Living Increase: The report highlights a substantial 58.2 percent increase in the total costs of necessities for a 4-person family in Houston since 2005, reaching $85,492.
  • Earnings and Purchasing Power: Despite the challenges, Houstonians are bringing home higher weekly earnings ($894.89), showing an 8.2 percent increase in purchasing power since 2005. On average, Houston households have 8.1 percent of their income remaining after meeting essential needs.
  • Unemployment Rate: Houston's "True Rate of Unemployment Out of the Population" is reported to be 63 percent, reflecting the percentage of individuals unable to secure full-time employment with a living wage.
    Comparison with Other Texas Metro Areas: While Houston secured the 30th position, other Texas metro areas featured prominently, with Austin-Round Rock claiming the 2nd spot nationally and San Antonio-New Braunfels ranking 13th. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington secured the 26th position.
  • National Rankings: The top 10 highest-performing economies in the U.S. are led by San Jose-Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, California, followed by Austin-Round Rock, San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, and others.

Considering these findings, LISEP emphasizes the importance of using real-world data to aid policymakers in understanding and addressing the dynamics of local economies, especially in the context of the challenges faced by low-income and working-class families. The report aims to contribute valuable insights to policymakers for identifying successful strategies and areas that require improvement in fostering economic prosperity.

source: HTTPs://houston.innovationmap.com/

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