Austin’s changing economic landscape

I just scored a couple of interesting maps from City Demographer Ryan Robinson. This first one shows the median family income by census tract in 2011:

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And here’s what things looked like as of 2017:

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It’s important to note that this map displays family income. It does not include single adults or multiple unrelated adults who live together.

There are two obvious trends I notice on both ends of the income spectrum.

High-income: Much more purple ($150k +) has migrated east of MoPac, covering many central neighborhoods. Perhaps the most dramatic change has come in the Mueller/Cherrywood areas, where the median income jumped all the way from green ($60-75k) or turquoise ($75-100k) to dark purple.

Low-income: There is only one red tract (less than $20k), compared to several in 2011. There is also only one dark orange ($20-30k) tract left.

A loss of families: Check out the growth of those light purple tracts listed as “no households.” Robinson tells me that some of those tracts may not have enough households because they are taken up by the airport (southeast) or the Austin State School (just west of MoPac). However, some of those central tracts simply don’t have that many families –– at least as a percentage of the population –– because of the tremendous growth in student housing.

Obviously, part of the increase in median income across the city was driven by inflation as well as the economic growth that occurred during this timeframe. However, the jump in median incomes, particularly in some areas of the city, are much larger than you would expect just from inflation and an improved economy. This map undoubtedly reflects population shifts that have occurred, notably the departure of lower-income people and the arrival of wealthier people.

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