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

376,893

Population
Growth Rate

0.00%

Median Age

37

Diversity Index

73.400

Housing & Income

Households

140,511

Total Housing Units

159,884


Owner Occupied

91,421

Renter Occupied

49,090

Vacant

19,373

Median Home Value

$183,776


Average Home Value

$218,214

Income
Growth Rate

Median
Household Income

0.00%


Per Capita Income

3.05%

Income Projection

Median Household

$55,646 $65,182


Average Household

$82,002 $95,328


Per Capita

$30,747 $35,739

Workforce

Total Businesses

13,091

Total Employed

155,239

Workers 16+

157,721

2022 HealthCare/Social Assist

cp-industries

Businesses

1,002

Employed

24,090

2022 Retail Trade Businesses

cp-industries

Businesses

2,062

Employed

18,944

2022 Educational Services - Businesses

cp-industries

Businesses

414

Employed

17,061

2022 Accommodation/Food Service

cp-industries

Businesses

1,057

Employed

14,625

2022 Food Service/Drinking Estab

cp-industries

Businesses

882

Employed

13,012

2022 Manufacturing Businesses

cp-industries

Businesses

414

Employed

11,647

Some
High School

20,693

Graduated
High School

61,831

Associates
Degree

28,850

Bachelor's
Degree

40,302

Graduate
Degree

20,381

Average Commute Time

0 min.



Resident Commuters

130,721

Non-Resident Commuters

26,175

Drive Alone

130,056

Carpooled

15,229

Public

737

Work At Home

7,184