"Rate of Poverty Dips in Texas, But Some Metro Areas See an Increase" was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.
The share of Texans living in poverty continued to dip slightly in 2014, according to census figures released Thursday. But poverty is prevalent in many parts of the state, with the share of poor people rising in several metropolitan areas.
Estimates from the 2014 American Community Survey show that the percentage of poor Texas residents declined in 2014 — dropping to 17.2 percent from 17.5 percent in 2013 — as part of a gradual drop in poverty in the state in recent years. But the share of poor Texans in 11 of the state’s 25 metropolitan areas surpassed the state’s overall share of poor residents.
South Texas was home to the largest share of poor people in 2014, with one in three residents living in poverty.
The state’s share of poor children dropped less than half a percentage point in 2014, but almost one in four Texas children still live in poverty. On the border, almost half of children live in poverty with the highest rate in the Brownsville area, where 48.8 percent of children are poor. That’s up from 45.2 percent in 2013.
The rate of Texans receiving food stamps is also higher on the border, according to the census figures.
In 2014, 13.1 percent of Texas households received aid from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. In South Texas, the percentage of households on food stamps was more than double the state figure. At 31.6 percent, the Laredo metro area had the highest share of residents receiving food assistance, while McAllen came in a close second with 30.8 percent of residents on food stamps.
The census figures also showed that the gender wage gap — the difference between how much women are paid compared with men — remained steady in Texas. In 2014, women who worked full-time, year-round jobs in Texas made 78.8 percent of what men made. (That's one percentage point lower than the national gender wage gap.)
In dollars, the median income for women was about $10,000 less than men last year. The median income among men who worked full-time, year-round jobs last year was $46,235 while the median income for women was $36,428.
The greatest disparity in pay between men and women was in oil-booming Midland, where the median income for women was $25,602 less than for men. In San Angelo, there was a $19,458 difference.
The metro area with the lowest gender gap was the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission area, where the median income for women was $4,651 less than it was for men.