Bastrop County is a growing suburban county in central Texas, with a population of 82,730 people and 17,110 jobs. The county has grown faster than the U.S.: the county’s population grew 18% from 2006-2016 and job base grew 36%.
The county’s population growth has historically been driven by migration of people into the county: from 2006 to 2016, 77% of new population was due to domestic migration. However, migration into the county turned negative in 2012, likely due to the out-migration of families after the Bastrop fires in late 2011. Positive migration resumed from 2013-2016, more than replacing the lost population during the 2011 fires. 2,093 of the 2,525 new migrants in 2016 were domestic migrants.
Bastrop County has a diverse age range of population and is home to a large concentration of families. According to the Census, 21% of Bastrop County’s population are children under 15 years of age (versus 19% for the U.S.) and 27% of county residents are between 45 and 64 years old (versus 26% for the U.S.). As a result, the county has lower concentrations of both young adults and the elderly residents than the nation.
Of the total population, 89% were born in the United States, with 11% born abroad. Of the foreign-born population, 70% are not naturalized US citizens. Bastrop County’s population is 54% White, 35% Hispanic, 8% Black, and 1% Asian. The three largest ancestral groups are German, English, and Irish.
According to the Census, Bastrop County education levels trail the U.S. average: 82% of residents in 2016 had at least a high school degree and only 20% had a Bachelor’s degree or higher. These educational attainment statistics are significantly lower than the U.S. average (88% high school, 31% Bachelor’s). (American Community Survey, Bastrop County) Bastrop County’s median household income remained just above the national average for many years, but fell to 97% of U.S. median household income in 2012. It rose to become 102% of the national average in 2016. The percent of overall population in poverty in Bastrop County has remained slightly under national trends for most of the past decade. Between 2005 and 2015 overall population in poverty in Bastrop County rose slightly from 11.7% to 12.7%. The percentage of children in poverty in Bastrop county rose from 17.8% in 2005 to 21.7% in 2015.
Bastrop County’s economy has performed very well over the past decade, creating new jobs every year until 2011. Bastrop County has weathered the national recession well, adding 400 jobs in 2009 and 2010, despite losing 250 in 2011. 2013 showed a positive rebound of 1,000 jobs and job growth was twice as high as the U.S. average in 2015 and 2016.
The Bastrop County unemployment rate has fallen from its recent high of 8.2% in 2010 to 3.7% in 2016. The county rate has been lower than the U.S. rate since 2006. The largest industries in Bastrop County are:
- Government – 24% of county employment
- Trade, Transportation, and Utilities – 23%
- Leisure and Hospitality – 16%
- Health Services – 11%
- Construction – 7%
Employment in all major industries has grown over the past 5 years except in Manufacturing and Government. Significant growth occurred in Information (+174%), Leisure and Hospitality (+60%), Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (+42%), and Health Services (+43%). Manufacturing employment declined -8.5% from 2011-2016, while the U.S. gained 5.1%. Most salaries in Bastrop remain below U.S. levels, but are gaining. Natural Resources and Mining has salaries above U.S. levels. The average salary in Bastrop County is 68% of the U.S. average and from 2011-2016 grew 8%, slower than the U.S. growth rate of 12%. The county’s fastest growing salaries are in Leisure and Hospitality, Health Services & Private Education, and Manufacturing.