Texas is The Best Place to Live – But How Are We Really Doing Against Other States?

We know Texas is an economic powerhouse. Our state has led the nation in job creation for much of the last two decades. And at Texas 2036, we are committed to raising and highlighting the priorities that will help maintain our economic strength as we continue to grow.

We have compiled vast amounts of data to show where we are and where we are going. We have produced a Strategic Framework to articulate goals and benchmarks for continued success. But part of our challenge is also to look at similar states and see how we compare on the very metrics that we believe hold the keys to continued success in the future. We need to make some of the same comparisons that people and businesses around the world make when looking where to invest or live.

Texas and California are often compared. But we have many other competitors for business and talent that are of similar size to Texas, so we assembled a list of 11 large, similar states.

To evaluate the business climate of each state, we looked at overall economic growth; the number of businesses (including Fortune 500 headquarters), Inc. Magazine’s 5000 fastest-growing companies, new small businesses, and venture capital investments; and rankings on national indices assessing how attractive states are to businesses.

To determine which states were the most successful at attracting or retaining talent, we identified factors such as overall increase in the talent pool, (including net migration gain); rankings on a national index assessing quality of life (measuring factors such as cost of living, education, health, crime, commute times, weather, and cultural and recreational opportunities); and measures of per capita personal income.

So how’d we do against these peer states… 

State Texas performed better than these states
California 43%
Colorado 38%
Florida 48%
Georgia 48%
Illinois 36%
New York 31%
North Carolina 38%
Ohio 48%
Pennsylvania 33%
Virginia 26%
Washington 24%

…across the 57 key indicators in prosperity, education, health, infrastructure, justice and safety, natural resources and government performance?

There is much room for interpretation when trying to look at so many indicators at once. It’s important not to focus too much on any single comparison. Broadly speaking, the data shows that Texas is a leading state in economic growth, energy and agriculture. We also know that we have considerable work to do in education, health and justice, and safety in order to make Texas the land of opportunity for all that we want it to be.

The point is not to win a certain number of categories against other states or climb to a specific spot in the rankings. Rather, it is to acknowledge that, without the right investments and priorities, we could find Texas trailing other large states in the competition for talent and investment. That’s why we need long-term thinking and data-driven analysis. 

Texas 2036 is committed to building support for the solutions and investments that will keep us competitive well into the future.