Profile: Caldwell County

Caldwell County is a small county in central Texas with a population of 41,160 people and 8,220 jobs. The county’s population grew 14% from 2006- 2016 and job base grew 27%.

The county’s population growth is led by births although domestic migration has risen over the last 4 years and has nearly reached birth levels. In 2016 there were 535 births and 482 domestic migrants in Caldwell.

Caldwell County has a slightly younger population with a higher concentration of families. According to the Census, 19% of Caldwell County’s population is under 15 years of age (versus 19% for the U.S.) and 26% of county residents are between the ages of 25 and 44 years old (versus 26% for the U.S.). Of the total population, 91% were born in the United States, with 9% born abroad.  Of the foreign-born population, 76% are not naturalized US citizens.

Caldwell County’s population is 50% Hispanic, 42% White, and 7% Black. The three largest ancestral groups are German, Irish and English.

According to the Census, Caldwell County is under-educated: 79% of residents in 2016 had at least a high school degree and only 15% had a Bachelor’s degree or higher. These educational attainment statistics are lower than the U.S. average (89% high school, 30% Bachelor’s).

Caldwell County’s median household income has remained under national averages for the past decade and was 83% of the US level in 2015.

Historically, the percent of overall population in poverty in Caldwell County is higher than US levels. Caldwell County’s poverty rate was 18% in 2016, the US average is 15%. The percentage of children Caldwell living in poverty in 2015 was 25%.

Caldwell County’s economy has enjoyed sporadic growth over the past decade, creating new jobs every year except three and generally outpacing U.S. growth. Caldwell County struggled slightly with the recession, losing jobs in 2006, 2009, and 2015 but returning to positive growth from 2010-2014 and 2016. In 2016 Caldwell County’s employment growth almost exactly matched US employment growth (1.4% and 1.7%, respectively).

The Caldwell County unemployment rate has fallen from its recent high of 8.6% in 2010 to 4.3% in 2016.  The county rate has been slightly lower than the U.S. rate since 2007.

The largest industries in Caldwell County are:

• Trade, Transportation, and Utilities – 23% of county employment
• Government– 21%
• Health Services – 18%
• Leisure and Hospitality – 12%
• Manufacturing – 6%

Employment declined in several industries from 2011-2016. Natural Resources & Mining employment decreased 15.8%, Financial Activities decreased 4.4%, and Government employment decreased 2.9%. Significant growth occurred in Information (+119%), Leisure & Hospitality (+56%) and Construction (+44%). Manufacturing employment declined 9% from 2010-2015, while it increased in the U.S. by 5%.

The average salary in Caldwell County is 67% of the U.S. average and from 2011-2016 grew 11.5%, which was almost the exactly same as the U.S. growth rate of 11.6%.

The county’s fastest growing salaries are in Construction, Other Services, and Health Services.

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