In the last 10 years, Texas added 732,000 net jobs. No other state tops one hundred thousand. With no state income tax and no tax on goods in transit, it’s no wonder Texas is home to over 50 fortune 500 companies and has more Fortune 1000 companies than any other state.
Texas isn’t just growing, it’s booming. If Texas were a country it would have the 11th largest economy in the world. Its annual economic output exceeds 1 trillion dollars and that number is climbing. As the largest exporter of goods in the United States, Texas grosses more than $100 billion a year in trade with other nations.
One Texas industry that thrived after the Civil War was cattle. Due to its long history as a center of the industry, Texas is associated with the image of the cowboy. The state’s economic fortunes changed in the early 20th century, when oil discoveries initiated an economic boom in the state. With strong investments in universities, Texas developed a diversified economy and high tech industry in the mid-20th century. As of 2010 it shares the top of the list of the most Fortune 500 companies with California at 57. With a growing base of industry, the state leads in many industries, including agriculture, petrochemicals, energy, computers and electronics, aerospace, and biomedical sciences. Texas has led the nation in export revenue since 2002 and has the second gross state product.
As of 2010, Texas had a gross state product (GSP) of $1.207 trillion, the second highest in the U.S. Its GSP is comparable to the GDP of India or Canada, which are the world’s 12th- and 11th-largest economies, respectively. Texas’ economy is the fourth largest of any country subdivision globally, behind England (as part of the UK), California, and Tokyo Prefecture. It’s Per Capita personal income in 2009 was $36,484, ranking 29th in the nation.
Texas’s large population, abundance of natural resources, thriving cities and leading centers of higher education have contributed to a large and diverse economy. Since oil was discovered, the state’s economy has reflected the state of the petroleum industry. In recent times, urban centers of the state have increased in size, containing two-thirds of the population in 2005. The state’s economic growth has led to urban sprawl and its associated symptoms.
As of April 2012, the state’s unemployment rate is 6.5%.
In 2010, Site Selection Magazine ranked Texas as the most business-friendly state in the nation, in part because of the state’s three-billion-dollar Texas Enterprise Fund. Texas has the joint-highest number of Fortune 500 company headquarters in the United States, along with California.
In 2010, there were 346,000 millionaires in Texas, constituting the second-largest population of millionaires in the nation.
Texas’s affluence stimulates a strong commercial sector consisting of retail, wholesale, banking and insurance, and construction industries. Examples of Fortune 500 companies not based on Texas traditional industries are AT&T, Kimberly-Clark, Blockbuster, J. C. Penney, Whole Foods Market, and Tenet Healthcare. Nationally, the Dallas–Fort Worth area, home to the second shopping mall in the United States, has the most shopping malls per capita of any American metropolitan area.
Mexico, the state’s largest trading partner, imports a third of the state’s exports because of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). NAFTA has encouraged the formation of controversial maquiladoras on the Texas/Mexico border.
With large universities systems coupled with initiatives like the Texas Enterprise Fund and the Texas Emerging Technology Fund, a wide array of different high tech industries have developed in Texas. The Austin area is nicknamed the “Silicon Hills” and the north Dallas area the “Silicon Prairie”. Texas has the headquarters of many high technology companies, such as Dell, Inc., Texas Instruments, Perot Systems, Rackspace and AT&T. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center (NASA JSC) located in Southeast Houston, sits as the crown jewel of Texas’s aeronautics industry. Fort Worth hosts both Lockheed Martin’s Aeronautics division and Bell Helicopter Textron. Lockheed builds the F-16 Fighting Falcon, the largest Western fighter program, and its successor, the F-35 Lightning II in Fort Worth.
Thirty-six (36) separate and distinct public universities exist in Texas, of which 32 belong to one of the six state university systems. Discovery of minerals on Permanent University Fund land, particularly oil, has helped fund the rapid growth of the state’s two largest university systems: The University of Texas System and Texas A&M System. The four other university systems: the University of Houston System, the University of North Texas System, the Texas State System, and the Texas Tech System are not funded by the Permanent University Fund.
The Carnegie Foundation classifies three of Texas’s universities as Tier One research institutions: The University of Texas at Austin, the Texas A&M University, and the University of Houston. The University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University are flagship universities of the state of Texas. Both were established by the Texas Constitution and hold stakes in the Permanent University Fund. The state has been putting effort to expand the number of flagship universities by elevating some of its seven institutions designated as “emerging research universities.” The two that are expected to emerge first are the University of Houston and Texas Tech University, likely in that order according to discussions on the House floor of the 82nd Texas Legislature
The state is home to various private institutions of higher learning—ranging from liberal arts colleges to a nationally recognized top-tier research university. Rice University in Houston is one of the leading teaching and research universities of the United States and is ranked the nation’s 17th-best overall university by U.S. News & World Report. Trinity University, a private, primarily undergraduate liberal arts university in San Antonio, has ranked first among universities granting primarily bachelor’s and select master’s degrees in the Western United States for 20 consecutive years by U.S. News. The former republic chartered the private universities Baylor University, University of Mary Hardin–Baylor, and Southwestern University.
Universities in Texas currently host three presidential libraries: George Bush Presidential Library at Texas A&M University, the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum at The University of Texas at Austin and the George W. Bush Presidential Library at Southern Methodist University.
Houston is one of only five American cities with permanent professional resident companies in all of the major performing arts disciplines: the Houston Grand Opera, the Houston Symphony Orchestra, the Houston Ballet, and The Alley Theatre. Known for the vibrancy of its visual and performing arts, the Houston Theatre District—a 17-block area in the heart of Downtown Houston— ranks second in the country in the number of theater seats in a concentrated downtown area, with 12,948 seats for live performances and 1,480 movie seats.
Founded in 1892, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, also called “The Modern”, is Texas’s oldest art museum. Fort Worth also has the Kimbell Art Museum, the Amon Carter Museum, the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, the Will Rogers Memorial Center, and the Bass Performance Hall downtown. The Arts District of Downtown Dallas has arts venues such as the Dallas Museum of Art, the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House, the Trammell & Margaret Crow Collection of Asian Art, and the Nasher Sculpture Center.
The Deep Ellum district within Dallas became popular during the 1920s and 1930s as the prime jazz and blues hotspot in the Southern United States. The name Deep Ellum comes from local people pronouncing “Deep Elm” as “Deep Ellum”. Artists such as Blind Lemon Jefferson, Robert Johnson, Huddie “Leadbelly” Ledbetter, and Bessie Smith played in early Deep Ellum clubs.
Austin, The Live Music Capital of the World, boasts “more live music venues per capita than such music hotbeds as Nashville, Memphis, Los Angeles, Las Vegas or New York City.” The city’s music revolves around the nightclubs on 6th Street; events like the film, music, and multimedia festival South by Southwest; the longest-running concert music program on American television, Austin City Limits; and the Austin City Limits Music Festival held in Zilker Park.
While American football has long been considered “king” in the state, Texans today enjoy a wide variety of sports.
Texans can cheer for a plethora of professional sports teams. Within the “Big Four” professional leagues, Texas has two NFL teams (the Dallas Cowboys and the Houston Texans), two Major League Baseball teams (the Texas Rangers and the Houston Astros), three NBA teams (the Houston Rockets, the San Antonio Spurs, and the Dallas Mavericks), and one National Hockey League team (the Dallas Stars). The Dallas – Fort Worth Metroplex is one of only thirteen American metropolitan areas that hosts sports teams from all the “Big Four” professional leagues. Outside of the “Big Four” leagues, Texas also has one WNBA team (the San Antonio Silver Stars) and two Major League Soccer teams (the Houston Dynamo and FC Dallas).
Many elite research medical centers are located in Texas. The state has nine medical schools, three dental schools, and two optometry schools. Texas has two
Biosafety Level 4 (BSL-4) laboratories: one at The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston, and the other at the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research in San Antonio—the first privately owned BSL-4 lab in the United States.
The Texas Medical Center in Houston is the world’s largest medical center and annually conducts $1.2 billion in research. The Texas Medical Center in Houston, holds the world’s largest concentration of research and healthcare institutions, with 47 member institutions. Texas Medical Center performs the most heart transplants in the world. The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston is a highly regarded academic institution that centers around cancer patient care, research, education and prevention.
San Antonio’s South Texas Medical Center facilities rank sixth in clinical medicine research impact in the United States. The University of Texas Health Science Center is another highly ranked research and educational institution in San Antonio.
Both the American Heart Association and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center call Dallas home. The Southwestern Medical Center ranks “among the top academic medical centers in the world”. The institution’s medical school employs the most medical school Nobel laureates in the world.