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Census data shows smaller households, higher incomes in Crossroads

By ALLISON MILES
March 5, 2011 at 10:03 p.m.
Updated March 4, 2011 at 9:05 p.m.


How to learn moreWant to delve deeper into census numbers yourself? Visit www.census.gov and search the available data.

Throughout the past 10 years, the average household size in the Crossroads decreased. The median household income, however, increased, according to data released by the United States Census Bureau.

The question remains: why?

Although business and financial professionals say the Crossroads' current economic trend is a positive one, they can't say exactly why it came about.

The trend goes against the national numbers, which slant modestly in the other direction, said Ray Perryman, president of the Waco-based economic and financial analysis firm The Perryman Group.

For the Crossroads, it's a healthy move, he said, explaining households have more money to spend and income per person is increasing even more.

"Although the movements are not extreme, they likely reflect some of the locations of higher paying jobs in the area over the past 10 years," he said in an e-mail.

Because the changes took place throughout an extended period, it's difficult to pinpoint a cause, said Dale Fowler, president of the Victoria Economic Development Corp. The Eagle Ford Shale drilling projects, for instance, are too recent to have been part of that consideration.

The region's growing medical industry might play a role, he said, noting that such salaries would likely be reflected in the median household income levels.

E.J. Bammert, Goliad County's chief appraiser, agreed that the trend was good news for the Crossroads.

"I don't know of any household that'll tell you they're making too much money," he said with a laugh.

Goliad topped the list of Crossroads communities that saw an increase in median household income. The county saw a 48 percent increase throughout the past 10 years, from $34,201 to $50,486.

Like Fowler, he said he wasn't sure what led to the increase.

Goliad County's largest employer is the school district and salaries have increased over time, he said. Although jobs at the International Power Coleto Creek plant pay well, employment isn't extremely high.

He attributed most of the rise to the structure of jobs available in the county, explaining that many minimum wage positions were eliminated when more automated processes took over.

"They've replaced them with folks now that have higher-paying jobs," he said. "But all this is is a guess. I can't hang my hat on it."

Perryman said the census data could indicate more economic growth in the coming years.

"This pattern suggests the area is a good region for retail and commercial development, which will likely be noticed as various retail and restaurant chains mine the new data," Perryman said in the e-mail.

Fowler also said such information is what companies look at when determining where to build new facilities.

"That's exactly why we do economic development," he said. "To increase the potential earning for people in our region."

And, with the University of Houston-Victoria's expansion, new Caterpillar plant and other ongoing projects, he said he expects big things for the Crossroads.

"I suspect the next 10-year census will look even better," Fowler said.

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