Economy of Texas facts for kids
As a stand-alone country, Texas would be the 12th largest economy in the world.
|GDP||$1.648 trillion (2014)|
GDP per capita
Population below poverty line
|15.8% (16.5% considering cost of living)|
|13,126,900 (January 1, 2015)|
|Unemployment||4.4% (January 1, 2015)|
The economy of Texas is one of the largest economies in the United States. As of 2015, Texas is home to six of the top 50 companies on the Fortune 500 list and 51 overall, (third most after New York and California). In 2012, Texas grossed more than $264.7 billion a year in exports—more than exports of California ($161.9 billion) and New York ($81.4 billion) combined. As a sovereign country (2014), Texas would be the 12th largest economy in the world by GDP (ahead of South Korea and Australia).
Texas has a gross state product of $1.648 trillion (2014) the second highest in the U.S. Texas's household income was $48,259 in 2010 ranking 25th in the nation. The state debt in 2012 was calculated to be $121.7 billion, or $7,400 per taxpayer. Texas has the second largest population in the country after California.
Historically four major business enterprises shaped the Texas economy prior to World War II: cattle and bison, cotton, timber, and oil. The first enterprise to enjoy major success in Texas was cattle and bison. In the early days of Anglo-American settlement furs and hides were the major products derived from cattle. Beef was not particularly popular in the United States. However soon Texas entrepreneurs pioneered the beef industry and demand steadily increased. The cattle industry enjoyed its greatest financial success in the later 1870s and 1880s.
Cotton production, which had been known in Texas since Spanish times, gradually increased throughout the 19th century. By the early 20th century Texas had become the leading cotton producer in the nation. By the 1920s the cotton industry was past its peak as government regulation and foreign competition took their toll.
The forests of Texas have been an important resource since its earliest days and have played an important role in the state's history. The vast woodlands of the region, home to many varieties of wildlife when Europeans first arrived, provided major economic opportunities for early settlers. They today continue to play an important role economically and environmentally in the state.
The densest forest lands lie in the eastern part of the state. In particular the Big Thicket region, just north of Houston and Beaumont, has historically been home to the most dense woodlands. The Big Thicket was mostly uninhabited until heavy settlement from the U.S. began in the mid-19th century, and was even used as a refuge by runaway slaves and other fugitives. The Rio Grande valley in South Texas was home to a large palm tree forest when Spaniards first arrived, though today very little of it remains.
The development of railroads in the eastern part of the state during the mid-19th century led to a boom in lumber production in the 1880s. This era of financial success lasted approximately 50 years finally coming to an end as Texas' forests were decimated and the Great Depression dropped prices.
In 1901 the Gladys City Oil, Gas, and Manufacturing Company struck oil on Spindletop Hill in Beaumont. Though petroleum production was not new, this strike was by far the largest the world had ever seen. The find led to widespread exploration throughout Texas and neighboring states. By 1940 Texas was firmly established as the leading oil producer in the U.S.
Texas remained largely rural until World War II though the success of the petroleum industry rapidly expanded the economy with heavy industry of many types taking root. The second world war created tremendous demand for petroleum and a variety of products that Texas was in a unique position to provide. By the end of the war Texas was one of the leading industrial states and the population had become predominantly urban. Additionally the economy had diversified sufficiently that, though petroleum was still the largest sector by the end of the war, the business community in the state was truly diverse.
The Texas economy today relies largely on information technology, oil and natural gas, aerospace, defense, biomedical research, fuel processing, electric power, agriculture, and manufacturing.
|Fortune 500 companies
based in Texas for 2011
according to revenues
with State and U.S. rankings
|9||Plains All American Pipeline||99|
|20||National Oilwell Varco||202|
|28||Whole Foods Market||273|
|31||Energy Future Holdings||292|
|34||Enbridge Energy Partners||309|
|36||Energy Transfer Equity||351|
|42||CC Media Holdings||391|
|43||Dr Pepper Snapple Group||404|
|44||Group 1 Automotive||413|
|48||El Paso Corp.||481|
List of Texas companies
In 2014, for the thirteenth year in a row, Texas led the United States in export revenues. Texas exports for 2008 totaled $192.2 billion. In 2002, the Port of Houston was 6th among the top sea ports in the world in terms of total cargo volume;
Wealthiest places in Texas
- Southlake, Texas town, Texas $176,427
- Barton Creek CDP, Texas $110,504
- Westover Hills town, Texas $98,573
- Highland Park town, Texas $97,008
- Hunters Creek Village city, Texas $88,821
- Bunker Hill Village city, Texas $86,434
- Hill Country Village city, Texas $77,374
- Mustang town, Texas $75,692
- West University Place city, Texas $69,674
- Hilshire Village city, Texas $66,620
- Olmos Park city, Texas $65,697
- University Park city, Texas $63,414
- The Hills village, Texas $61,363
- Southside Place city, Texas $57,021
- West Lake Hills city, Texas $55,651
- Onion Creek CDP, Texas $54,758
- Tiki Island village, Texas $54,611
- Parker city, Texas $54,099
- Lakeshore Gardens-Hidden Acres CDP, Texas $52,512
- Rollingwood city, Texas $52,280
- Hedwig Village city, Texas $52,153
- Lost Creek CDP, Texas $52,147
- Heath city, Texas $51,049
- Colleyville city, Texas $50,418
- Shavano Park city, Texas $47,705
- Sugar Land, Texas city, Texas $47,597
- Bellaire city, Texas $46,674
- Lakeway city, Texas $45,765
- Ransom Canyon town, Texas $45,675
- Alamo Heights city, Texas $45,640
Images for kids
Offloading freshly harvested cotton into a module builder in Texas; previously built modules can be seen in the background
Economy of Texas Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.