Wealth Inequity: A Spotlight on the 5 Poorest Counties in Texas

Wealth Inequity: A Spotlight on the 5 Poorest Counties in Texas

Texas is renowned for its extensive size, varied population, and robust economy. Nevertheless, there is disparity in prosperity and well-being across the state. Several counties in Texas grapple with elevated poverty rates, meager incomes, and restricted opportunities.

This article delves into the five least affluent counties in Texas, utilizing the most recent census data. It examines their geographical locations, population sizes, per capita incomes, poverty rates, and primary economic activities.

Additionally, the article addresses the challenges and opportunities these counties encounter in their pursuit of development.

CountyPer Capita IncomePopulationPoverty Rate
Zavala$11,38611,67735.30%
Starr$11,41460,96831.50%
Maverick$12,25354,25829.40%
Willacy$12,66022,13432.10%
Presidio$12,7427,81828.80%

Zavala County: Zavala County, which is in the southwest of the state, has a per capita income of only $11,386—less than half of the $24,870 state average.Out of the 11,677 people living in the county, 35.3% are considered to be below the poverty line. The primary industry in the county is agriculture, particularly the cultivation of spinach.

Starr County: Starr County is located in the Rio Grande Valley, close to the Mexican border.There are 60,968 people living in the county, with a per capita income of $11,414 and a poverty rate of 31.5%. The three primary industries of the county are trade, education, and oil and gas.

Wealth Inequity: A Spotlight on the 5 Poorest Counties in Texas

Maverick County: Adjacent to Zavala and Starr counties is another border county: Maverick County.There are 54,258 people living in the county, with a per capita income of $12,253, and 29.4% of them are poor. Due to its location near the Eagle Pass-Piedras Negras International Bridge, the county’s economy is heavily reliant on trade and tourism.
Willacy County: East of Starr County is where you’ll find Willacy County in the state’s Gulf Coast region.There are 22,134 people living in the county, with a per capita income of $12,660 and 32.1% of them being poor. The three primary industries in the county’s economy are wind energy, fishing, and agriculture.
Presidio County: With borders to both Mexico and New Mexico, Presidio County is Texas’ western most county. With 7,818 people living in the county, 28.8% of them are poverty, and a per capita income of $12,742. Ranching, tourism, and the arts are the county’s main economic drivers.

The five Texas counties with the lowest affluence – Zavala, Starr, Maverick, Willacy, and Presidio – encounter significant hurdles in their development efforts, despite being situated in a state renowned for its economic prowess.

These areas contend with issues such as low per capita incomes, elevated poverty rates, and a lack of economic diversification.

Nevertheless, amidst these challenges lie opportunities. Zavala possesses agricultural potential, Starr boasts a diverse economic base, Maverick benefits from its strategic location, Willacy is witnessing growth in its wind energy sector, and Presidio stands out with unique tourism and artistic offerings.

Effectively addressing challenges and leveraging these opportunities will be pivotal for these counties to enhance the well-being of their residents and narrow the gap with the rest of Texas.

Reference