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

388,221

Population
Growth Rate

0.97%

Median Age

37

Diversity Index

69.100

Housing & Income

Households

144,090

Total Housing Units

162,079


Owner Occupied

94,149

Renter Occupied

49,940

Vacant

17,989

Median Home Value

$168,165


Average Home Value

$212,257

Income
Growth Rate

Median
Household Income

0.99%


Per Capita Income

2.22%

Income Projection

Median Household

$50,838 $55,404


Average Household

$71,865 $80,239


Per Capita

$26,800 $29,917

Workforce

Total Businesses

12,522

Total Employed

152,754

Workers 16+

157,053

2021 HealthCare/Social Assist

cp-industries

Businesses

935

Employed

23,074

2021 Retail Trade Businesses

cp-industries

Businesses

2,009

Employed

18,953

2021 Educational Services - Businesses

cp-industries

Businesses

405

Employed

18,271

2021 Accommodation/Food Service

cp-industries

Businesses

1,009

Employed

14,077

2021 Food Service/Drinking Estab

cp-industries

Businesses

836

Employed

12,577

2021 Public Administration

cp-industries

Businesses

609

Employed

11,653

Some
High School

22,969

Graduated
High School

63,067

Associates
Degree

27,110

Bachelor's
Degree

38,005

Graduate
Degree

20,115

Average Commute Time

0 min.



Resident Commuters

129,634

Non-Resident Commuters

26,716

Drive Alone

130,183

Carpooled

15,769

Public

504

Work At Home

5,591