Profile: Hays County

Hays County is a populous suburban county in the Austin metropolitan area, with a population of 204,470 people and 63,860 jobs. The county has grown faster than the metro and the U.S.: the population grew 53% from 2006-2016 with the job base growing 42%.

The county’s population growth is primarily due to the migration of people into the county. Domestic migration has increased in recent years going from 3,490 people in 2011 to 7,930 in 2016.

Hays County has a younger population with a high concentration of families and college students.  According to the Census, 19% of Hays County’s population are children under 15 years of age and 21% of county residents are young adults between the ages of 15 and 24 years old (versus 13% for the U.S.). As a result, the county has lower concentrations of adults between the ages of 45-64 and elderly residents. Of the total population, 88% were born in the United States, with 12% born abroad.  Of the foreign-born population, 50% are not naturalized US citizens.

Hays County’s population is 55% White, 38% Hispanic, 4% Black, and 2% Asian. The three largest ancestral groups are German, English, and Irish.

According to the Census, Hays County is well-educated: 88% of residents had at least a high school degree and 36% had a Bachelor’s degree or higher. These educational attainment statistics are higher than the U.S. average (86% high school, 31% Bachelor’s).

Hays County’s median household income has remained above the national average for most of the past decade, and was 110% of U.S. median household income in 2015.

The percent of overall population in poverty in Hays County has fluctuated around the national level for the past decade but was 1% lower than the average in 2015. Between 2005 and 2015, poverty in Hays County rose to a peak of 19% in 2009 and then fell to 14% in 2015.

Hays County’s economy has performed well over the past decade, creating new jobs every year except 2008. Hays County weathered the national recession well, only losing 1000 jobs in 2008 and adding 19,000 jobs from 2006 to 2016.

The Hays County unemployment rate has fallen from its recent high of 7.0% in 2010 to 3.3% in 2016. The county rate has been consistently lower than the U.S. rate.

The largest industries in Hays County are:

• Trade, Transportation, and Utilities – 24% of county employment
• Government– 20%
• Leisure and Hospitality– 14%
• Health Services – 11%
• Construction– 8%

Hays County industries have grown 26% on average over the last 5 years, the U.S. grew 10%. Employment has grown over the past 5 years in all Hays County industries except Natural Resources and Mining. Significant growth occurred in Construction (+86%), and Financial Activities (+48%).

Other Hays County industries that have grown significantly in comparison to the U.S. are Professional and Business Services, Information, Manufacturing, and Trade, Transportation and Utilities.

The average salary in Hays County is 72% of the U.S. average and from 2011 – 2016 grew 17%, which was more than the US growth of 12%.

No individual industry in the county had a larger salary than the U.S. average. The county’s fastest growing salaries are in Natural Resources and Mining, Professional and Business Services, and Construction.

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