Regional Profile

The Heart of Texas Region has vibrant economic and workforce diversity!

The Heart of Texas Economic Development District is comprised of six counties in central Texas between Dallas and Austin. The U.S. Census reported the estimated 2019 population to be 372,588, compared to 349,273 in 2010, an increase of nearly 7%. The Region includes six counties, including Bosque, Falls, Freestone, Hill, Limestone and McLennan County. Major population centers are Waco, Hewitt, Robinson and Hillsboro.

Economy

The Heart of Texas Region is heavily agricultural, but its economy is largely driven by the strong industrial and commercial center in the Waco MSA. Smaller centers can be found in Hillsboro and Mexia. Access to health care is generally good throughout the region, with two major health centers in McLennan County and rural health centers in each of the other counties. Economic development in the Heart of Texas region centers around key industry clusters identified in the Texas Industry Cluster Initiative, such as:

  • Advanced Technologies and Manufacturing
  • Aerospace and Defense
  • Energy

Energy production is one of the most significant industrial sectors represented in the Heart of Texas region. Lignite coal, found in Limestone and Freestone counties, is the only significant mineral resource in the area. There is a significant amount of oil and natural gas extraction as well. But recent years have resulted in a trend to develop solar and wind farms around the area. The state of Texas was the second-largest state in the country in solar capacity additions and the rising trend continues today.

Recently, the region has experienced significant economic growth, primarily in the Waco MSA, with several investments by companies like Amazon, Hello Bella, OCI Solar Power and Hecate Energy and can easily accommodate more growth in the coming years.

Workforce

There is an available and skilled workforce in the Heart of Texas region. In November 2020, the Waco MSA had a total employment of 121,023, down nearly 2% from November 2019 as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Further wage and employment information for the Waco MSA is illustrated below.

Wages by Industry (millions) (2nd Quarter 2020)

wages by industry

Source: Texas Workforce Commission 12/2020

Employment by Industry (November 2020)

employment by industry

Source: Texas Workforce Commission 12/2020

One of the most significant advantages is the presence of robust workforce training providers, that can all quickly deliver specialized training. Waco is also home to Baylor University, the 11th-largest Christian university in the country and offers a wide range of degree programs for those seeking higher levels of education.

Technical Colleges and Workforce Centers

  • Hill College
  • McLennan Community College
  • Navarro College
  • Temple College
  • Texas State Technical College
  • McLennan County Workforce Solutions Center

Geography

The geography of the Heart of Texas Region is a combination of tablelands and irregular plains ranging to hilly in the west, with altitudes varying from 209 to 1,200 feet above sea level. The mean minimum temperature is 33.3 F and the mean maximum temperature is approximately 96 F. Rainfall averages about 36.21 inches a year. The area has abundant lakes, rivers and streams that are popular for recreation and help provide municipal water supplies.

Heart of Texas Region

Population

Total Population

384,759

Population
Growth Rate

0.98%

Median Age

37

Diversity Index

69.100

Housing & Income

Households

142,617

Total Housing Units

160,784


Owner Occupied

89,231

Renter Occupied

53,385

Vacant

18,167

Median Home Value

$142,328


Average Home Value

$183,591

Income
Growth Rate

Median
Household Income

0.98%


Per Capita Income

1.75%

Income Projection

Median Household

$49,314 $52,159


Average Household

$66,993 $73,127


Per Capita

$24,968 $27,224

Workforce

Total Businesses

12,386

Total Employed

149,616

Workers 16+

154,809

2020 HealthCare/Social Assist

cp-industries

Businesses

879

Employed

23,375

2020 Retail Trade Businesses

cp-industries

Businesses

1,939

Employed

19,698

2020 Educational Services - Businesses

cp-industries

Businesses

393

Employed

17,968

2020 Accommodation/Food Service

cp-industries

Businesses

991

Employed

14,186

2020 Food Service/Drinking Estab

cp-industries

Businesses

827

Employed

12,728

2020 Manufacturing Businesses

cp-industries

Businesses

401

Employed

10,837

Some
High School

24,031

Graduated
High School

61,587

Associates
Degree

24,388

Bachelor's
Degree

36,764

Graduate
Degree

19,288

Average Commute Time

0 min.



Resident Commuters

129,091

Non-Resident Commuters

24,987

Drive Alone

127,287

Carpooled

16,094

Public

626

Work At Home

5,716