Texas 2036 Report
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Cross-Cutting themes

Equity

As state policies and economic growth improve quality of life for Texans, it’s important that all Texans -- regardless of their race, gender, age, or zipcode -- have the opportunity to share in these gains. Although Texas has been a great place to live and work for many people for generations, not all Texans have had the opportunity to equally participate in the growth and success of Texas. Though all Texans are affected by these inequities, many communities disproportionately bear the impact. The younger and more diverse population transforming our state’s demographics provides Texas an opportunity for innovative, systemic, and sustained approaches for developing our institutions to better serve all Texans.

Education achievement gaps exist by race and economic status. Texas traditionally has had a stratified education system in which some student groups achieve nationally competitive results while others — particularly students of color and those from low-income families — fall behind. For example, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), only 16% of Black 4th graders and 21% of Hispanic 4th graders read on grade level, compared to 48% of White 4th graders. These results indicate a school system in Texas that has historically underserved the very students who rely on it most for economic opportunity and upward mobility. House Bill 3 in 2019 represented a major step by the Legislature to address this historical inequity, driving resources — including both additional funding and access to high-quality teachers — to school districts based on identified student needs rather than the property values surrounding the students’ homes. Implementation is still in the early days and progress should be closely monitored, In advancing a more equitable education system, every student should have access to resources and rigor to help them achieve success, and school districts should be accountable for eliminating equity gaps.

Gaps in postsecondary readiness, enrollment, and completion rates are even more pronounced for disadvantaged student groups in Texas. Only 16% of Black high school graduates in Texas and 18% of Hispanic graduates meet postsecondary readiness criteria on the SAT or ACT, compared to 43% of White graduates. Similarly wide disparities exist for postsecondary enrollment and completion, indicating that Texas’s education system is not preparing students for success in postsecondary programs or for the job market.

To ensure Texans have longer, healthier lives, Texas will also have to address health disparities based on race and income. Only 61% of Hispanic adults reported having a usual care provider in 2018, versus 71% of Black adults and 77% of White adults.Additionally, there were 166 deaths from treatable conditions reported per 100,000 among the Black population in 2017, versus only 90 among White and 86 among Hispanic populations. These facts suggest a healthcare system that is unaffordable or inaccessible to all Texans.

Existing income disparities are reflected in broadband subscription patterns creating digital inequities across the state. Some of this has been caused by a lack of infrastructure in rural areas. Other disparities have been created because of income. Only 46% of Texas households earning less than $20,000 annually subscribe to fixed broadband, compared to 82% of households earning more than $75,000. As COVID-19 has shifted schools, healthcare providers, and employers from physical to virtual environments, this lack of digital equity threatens to exacerbate pre-existing disparities in educational achievement, health, and employment due to the opportunities for e-Learning and telemedicine. As the state continues to evolve after COVID-19, all Texas communities will need access to broadband for residents to fully engage in civic life and to avail themselves of career, educational, and health care opportunities. Digital equity and inclusion require strategies that ensure access to cost-effective and robust broadband internet service in both urban and rural areas.

Many of Texas 2036 performance indicators reflect further inequities. We are committed to disaggregating data in order to bring to view disparities masked by aggregate data.  Income inequality indices, housing affordability, and Texans living in poverty are a few of the additional indicators we are working to make available to the public and policymakers. Accurate data is critical to understanding and addressing the challenges facing Texans now and in the future.  

Summary of goals included in Cross-Cutting theme

  • Quality of life: Texas is the best place to live and work
  • Early Learning: Texas children get a strong early start to succeed in school and life.
  • K-12: Texas students graduate high school ready for postsecondary success.
  • Postsecondary: Texas students earn a postsecondary credential to access the jobs of today and tomorrow.
  • Jobs: Texans have the knowledge and skills to access careers enabling economic security.
  • Availability of health care: Texans have access to basic health care.
  • Affordability of health care: Texans are able to afford the basic health care they need.
  • Population health: Texans live long, healthy, and productive lives.
  • *Public health: Texans and their communities are empowered to adopt healthy lifestyles.
  • *Mobility of individuals: Texans can travel to their destinations effectively and efficiently.
  • *Digital connectivity: Texans can digitally participate in economic opportunities and essential services.
  • Crisis Readiness: Texas is ready to address the human, economic, and environmental consequences of natural disasters and hazards.
  • Quality of air: Texans have clean air.
  • Quality of water: Texans have clean water.
  • Parks and Wildlife: Texans enhances and protects its state parks, public and private open spaces, and wildlife.
  • Public safety: Texans are protected from threats to their well-being and property.
  • Protection for the vulnerable: Texas protects the vulnerable from traumatic experiences.
  • Safety net: Texans have access to resources to meet basic needs when they are in crisis.
  • Justice system: Texans are served effectively, efficiently, and impartially by the justice system.
  • Civic engagement: Texans actively participate in governing their communities.
  • Broad and stable revenue base: Texas residents and businesses contribute taxes and fees to meet strategic needs and remain competitive as we grow and change.
  • Talent in government: Texas government attracts and retains the critical talent to deliver excellent service and get results.

Rural

Rural communities are vital to Texas’s economic health, providing food, fiber, energy, and talent. Texas’s rural population of 3 million people is larger than the population of 18 states.
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U.S. Census Bureau, State Population Totals and Components of Change:* 2010-2019. https://www.census.gov/data/tables/time-series/demo/popest/2010s-state-total.html

From West to East Texas, from the Panhandle to the Valley, Texas’s rural communities are home to 10% of all Texans, as well as key industries such as agriculture and energy production.
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Rural Health Information Hub, Texas, 2019. https://www.ruralhealthinfo.org/states/texas

In 2018, oil and gas production contributed $162 billion — or 9% of Texas’s GDP — to the state, with the two largest production fields located in rural Texas.
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Bureau of Economic Analysis, GDP by State, Texas, Top Five State Industries as a percentage of Total GDP, 2018. https://apps.bea.gov/regional/bearfacts/statebf.cfm

Texas agriculture production, which provides a critical portion of the U.S. food supply, contributed $25.3 billion to the Texas economy in 2018.
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United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, Value added to the U.S. economy by the agricultural sector, 2011-2020F. https://data.ers.usda.gov/reports.aspx?ID=17830

Rural communities also frequently demonstrate the entrepreneurial values and economic drive that have made Texas successful. Rural small businesses make up 24% of all business in the state of Texas, contributing more than 20% of the state’s economic output.
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Texas Office of the Governor, 2019 Study of the Challenges and opportunities of developing small businesses in rural Texas, https://gov.texas.gov/uploads/files/business/Texas_Rural_Study.pdf

Nonetheless, Texans in rural communities face unique challenges; overcoming them will be critical to achieving many of the goals outlined in this Strategic Framework.
Students in rural communities have less access to postsecondary education. Over half of the independent school districts in Texas are located in rural areas, enrolling nearly 840,000 students — the most rural students in the nation.
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Based on NCES definitions of rural areas provided by the Texas Education Agency district type data; Texas Education Agency, Texas Academic Performance Report, 2018-19 State Student Information. https://tea.texas.gov/student-testing-and-accountability/accountability/state.accountability/performance-reporting/texas-0

However, these students do not always have access to the advanced coursework they need to be postsecondary ready; nearly 60% of rural districts do not offer Advanced Placement courses.
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Texas Education Agency, AP Access and Student Success in Texas, November 2017. https://tea.texas.gov/sites/default/files/AP_SBOE_Long_Range_Planning.pdf

Similarly, rural students have additional challenges accessing higher education institutions; for example, in West Texas, the average distance from a high school to a higher education institution is 39 miles — but in some areas, that distance can be as much as 141 miles.
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08-08

Greater Texas Foundation, Issue Brief: Rural Students, April 2017. https://www.greatertexasfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Brief.Rural.pdf

Health outcomes are worse in rural areas in spite of higher per-capita spending. Texas spends more on Medicare costs per person in rural areas than it does statewide, but it ranks last among peer states in rural access to care.
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Internal analysis from Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services Geographic Variation County Tables.

,
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08-10

Hall Institute for Rural and Community Health (Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center), Rural Health Quarterly: U.S. Rural Health Report Card, 2018. http://ruralhealthquarterly.com/home/2019/04/10/2018-u-s-rural.health-report-card/

Sixty-three Texas counties have no hospitals, and thirty-five have no primary care physicians.
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Texas Department of Agriculture, Texas Rural Health and Economic Development Advisory Council, Rural Policy Plan December 2018. https://www.texasagriculture.gov/Portals/0/Publications/ER/2018%20Rural%20Policy%20Plan%20Report.pdf

Health behaviors leading to obesity — and obesity itself — are more common in rural regions versus urban areas.
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Texas Department of State Health Services, Prevalence of Obesity among Adults by Demographic Characteristics, Risk Factors, Other Conditions, and Place of Residence, 2016. https://www.dshs.texas.gov/Obesity/Data/

For these reasons, health outcomes are poor, with rural Texans dying of heart disease and stroke at rates far higher than Texans overall.
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Health outcomes are worse in rural areas in spite of higher per-capita spending. Texas spends more on Medicare costs per person in rural areas than it does statewide, but it ranks last among Peer States in rural access to care.
08-09

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Internal analysis from Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services Geographic Variation County Tables.

,
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08-10

Hall Institute for Rural and Community Health (Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center), Rural Health Quarterly: U.S. Rural Health Report Card, 2018. http://ruralhealthquarterly.com/home/2019/04/10/2018-u-s-rural.health-report-card/

Sixty three Texas counties have no hospitals, and 35 have no primary care physicians.
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Texas Department of Agriculture, Texas Rural Health and Economic Development Advisory Council, Rural Policy Plan December 2018. https://www.texasagriculture.gov/Portals/0/Publications/ER/2018%20Rural%20Policy%20Plan%20Report.pdf

Health behaviors leading to obesity — and obesity itself — are more common in rural regions versus urban areas.
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Texas Department of State Health Services, Prevalence of Obesity among Adults by Demographic Characteristics, Risk Factors, Other Conditions, and Place of Residence, 2016. https://www.dshs.texas.gov/Obesity/Data/

For these reasons, health outcomes are poor, with rural Texans dying of heart disease and stroke at rates far higher than Texans overall.
08-13
Lack of broadband internet access prevents rural areas from tapping into critical services and economic opportunities. Broadband access is central to improving health, education, and economic outcomes in rural areas, delivering telemedicine, online Learning, and remote work services. Nearly one-third of all rural Texans do not have internet access at adequate speeds (as defined by the Federal Communications Commission), compared to just 3% of Texans in urban areas.
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Federal Communications Commission, Broadband Deployment and Progress Reports, 2019. Based on Form 477 data. https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/FCC-19-44A1.pdf

These disconnected households cost the state an estimated $5.1 billion in lost potential economic activity.
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Rural areas often lack the infrastructure and resources they need. Rural roads see a greater proportion of traffic fatalities and are more likely to be in poor condition than in the rest of the state.
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Texas Department of Transportation, Texas Motor Vehicle Traffic Crash Facts, Calendar Year 2018. http://ftp.dot.state.tx.us/pub/txdot-info/trf/crash_statistics/2018/01.pdf

Small water systems, which often serve rural areas, are more likely to have violations and are less likely to have adequate monitoring.
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Texas Legislative Budget Board Staff, Improve Viability of Small Public Water Systems, 2019. http://www.lbb.state.tx.us/Documents/Publications/Staff_Report/2019/5464_Water_Systems.pdf

And limited investment in water management projects reduces the available water supply that can be used for agriculture.
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Texas Water Development Board, 2017 Texas State Water Plan, Needs (Potential Shortages) by Usage Type State-wide Summary. https://2017.texasstatewaterplan.org/statewide.

Summary of goals included in Cross-Cutting theme

  • Early Learning: Texas children get a strong early start to succeed in school and life.
  • K-12: Texas students graduate high school ready for postsecondary success.
  • Postsecondary: Texas students earn a postsecondary credential to access the jobs of today and tomorrow.
  • Availability of health care: Texans have access to basic health care.
  • Population health: Texans live long, healthy, and productive lives.
  • Public health: Texans and their communities are empowered to adopt healthy lifestyles.
  • Transportation safety: Texas maintains a safe transportation infrastructure.
  • Digital connectivity: Texans can digitally participate in economic opportunities and essential services.
  • Crisis readiness: Texas is ready to address the human, economic, and environmental consequences of natural disasters and hazards.
  • Sufficient water: Texans can rely on a sufficient water supply.
  • Quality of water: Texans have clean water.
  • Agricultural production: Texas leads in agricultural production with responsible natural resource stewardship.
  • Energy production: Texas leads in energy production with responsible natural resource stewardship.
  • Safety net: Texans have access to resources to meet basic needs when they are in crisis.

Children

Texas depends on the success of its children. There are currently 7.4 million children in Texas — 26% of the state population.
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United States Census Bureau, Quickfacts, Texas Population Estimates. https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/TX.

Nearly 50% of the state’s children are Hispanic, while 40% of all Texans are; this difference reflects a major ongoing demographic shift.
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Ibid.

Too few children are prepared for the jobs of the future, which will require a highly educated workforce. By 2036, 71% of jobs will require a postsecondary credential,
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Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, Custom Projection for Texas 2036, March 2020.

but Texas children are not being equipped to access these economic opportunities. Only 50% of high school students are postsecondary ready,
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Percentage of annual graduates in the Class of 2018 that met at least one of the College Ready indicators. Texas Education Agency, Texas Academic Performance Report, 2018-19 State College, Career, and Military Readiness (CCMR): College Ready Graduates. https://tea.texas.gov/student-testing-and.accountability/accountability/state-accountability/performance-reporting/texas-0

and only 32% actually go on to complete a postsecondary credential within six years of graduation.
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Percentage of Class of 2011 high school graduates who earned a certificate or degree from a Texas public higher education institution within 6 years of high school graduation; includes Level 1 and Level 2 certificates, two-year degrees, and four-year degrees. Texas Education Agency, Texas Academic Performance Report, 2017-18 State Postsecondary Outcomes Summary. https://tea.texas.gov/student-testing-and-accountability/accountability/state-accountability/performance-reporting/texas-0

Children face unique health challenges. Texas has the highest rate of uninsured children in the country.
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Alker, Joan and Lauren Roygardner. The Number of Uninsured Children Is on the Rise. Georgetown University Health Policy Institute Center for Children and Families. October 2019. https://ccf.georgetown.edu/wp.content/uploads/2019/10/Uninsured-Kids-Report.pdf

Over the last 20 years, the state has seen an increase in the number of newborns with low birthweight, which is a predictor of poor health outcomes later in life. Texas is ranked 11th among 12 Peer States for childhood obesity, although that rate has been decreasing.
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National Survey of Children's Health 2016-2017, via America's Health Rankings, Annual Report 2018. https://www.americashealthrankings.org/explore/health-of-women-and-children/measure/youth_overweight/state/TX.

Additionally, one-in-ten Texas children has asthma, which is exacerbated by issues with air quality.
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D Magazine, Asthmas Impact On North Texas, May 12, 2017. https://www.dmagazine.com/healthcare-business/2017/05/20021/

Lifetime opportunities for many Texas children are limited by poverty, trauma, and other adverse experiences that lead to major challenges in adulthood. Nearly 20% of Texas children live in poverty,
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Ura, Alexa and Elbert Wang. Poverty in Texas Drops to Lowest Levels in More Than a Decade. Texas Tribune. September 13, 2018. https://www.texastribune.org/2018/09/13/texas-poverty-census-2017-lowest-levels. decade/.

with gaps in basic needs such as food and housing. Additionally, one-in-five children have experienced traumas that are likely to lead to chronic health issues, mental illness, and job instability later in life.
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Trauma based on two or more adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). Definition of ACEs include economic hardship; divorce or separation of parents; living with someone with a substance abuse problem; a victim or witness of neighborhood violence; living with someone who is mentally ill, suicidal, or severely depressed; witnessing domestic violence; a parent who has served time in jail; being judged unfairly due to race or ethnicity; and death of a parent.

,
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Survey conducted by U.S. Census Bureau via mail and web-based survey, with parents responding on behalf of their children; Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative (CAHMI), National Survey of Childrens Health, 2016-2017. https://www.childhealthdata.org/browse/survey/results?q=5545&r=1.

Prudent state budget practices will necessitate that lawmakers pursue strategies with the highest returns on taxpayer investment. Investing in children can save the state significant costs in the long run. On average, a person with a bachelor’s degree earns roughly $1 million more ($2.3 million) in their lifetime than someone with just a high school diploma ($1.3 million).
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Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, The College Payoff: Education, Occupations, Lifetime Earnings, 2011, Figure 1. https://1gyhoq479ufd3yna29x7ubjn-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/collegepayoff-completed.pdf.

Healthy, educated children become productive, taxpaying adults.

Summary of goals included in Cross-Cutting theme

  • Early Learning: Texas children get a strong early start to succeed in school and life.
  • K-12: Texas students graduate high school ready for postsecondary success.
  • Postsecondary: Texas students earn a postsecondary credential to access the jobs of today and tomorrow.
  • Availability of health care: Texans have access to basic health care.
  • Population health: Texans live long, healthy, and productive lives.
  • Public health: Texans and their communities are empowered to adopt healthy lifestyles.
  • Quality of air: Texans have clean air.
  • Protection for the vulnerable: Texas protects the vulnerable from traumatic experiences.
  • Safety net: Texans have access to resources to meet basic needs when they are in crisis.