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Are Texas’ big cities headed for a dystopian future? An effort in Dallas aims to prevent that.

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May 13, 2019

The Texas economic boom is etched in the skyscrapers. Yet Texas is also well on its way to a dystopian future.

Originally published by Houston Chronicle

The state will need to create up to 7.8 million jobs just to keep unemployment where it is in 2036, around 4 percent. (It was 3.8 percent in March.) But in just a little more than five years, the number of jobs requiring a degree will triple to 77 percent, according to Texas 2036. Yet eighth-grade reading levels have dropped from 23rd in the nation to 24th. Texas ranks 46th in fourth-grade reading. Don’t even ask about math.

“The coin of the realm for states and nations that will lead the world is human capital,” said Spellings. “And Texas is going the wrong way.”

The politicians in Austin have kept the state’s finances in the black — but largely by ignoring the bills piling up for education and health care, which alone will eat up more than 70 percent of the budget in 2036. Even so, access to health care is among the worst in the nation and the state ranks near the bottom in results such as obesity and maternal death.

Congested commutes cut into productivity. And literally nobody knows where all the water is going to come from to satisfy the needs of industry and the 40 million people who will be living here in 2036, according to the Texas Demographic Center.

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