- 97% of the region’s population is housed in El Paso county, which also happens to be the smallest county in land area
- From 2003-2013, the region has seen a population growth of 17%, which is slightly lower than the Texas growth of 20%, but significantly greater than the national growth of 9%
- From 2003 to 2013, the per capita persona income growth in the region was 43%, which is slightly lower than the Texas average of 46% but higher than U.S. average of 37%
- Personal income grew from $16 billion in 2003 to $26.7 billion in 2013
- Job growth in the region was 15.4%, which is lower than the Texas average of 19.6% but greater than the U.S. average of 4.7%
- Average wages in the Upper Rio Grande Region increased nearly 39% from 2003 to 2013, mirroring Texas growth and exceeding the national pace.
- Fort Bliss Army Base
Challenge: Economic Development
The Upper Rio Grande Region lags behind the state in economic growth. El Paso, the region’s largest city, is the only metropolitan statistical area in Texas to experience a decline in real per capita gross regional product (GRP).
A lack of economic diversity plays a key role in slowing the economy. Top industries claim a much greater share of jobs and GRP in the Upper Rio Grande than they do statewide. Government plays a particularly large role — it has three times the impact on the region’s GRP than it does in Texas as a whole. Meanwhile, the economic contributions of most other sectors fall short of state averages.
- El Paso has the lowest crime rate ranking for a U.S. city its size for 4 consecutive years.
- Big Bend National Park hosts an average 300,000 visitors each year. In 2013, they spent nearly $27 million.