Small Texas oil towns make big showing on most prosperous U.S. city list
Some may think that the most prosperous cities in the U.S. would include Houston, Dallas or Austin. Not by a long shot.
The West Texas oil city of Odessa ranked No. 1 for prosperity between 2000 and 2016 according to a recent study by RentCafé Blog.
The oil town of 117,000 people in the heart of West Texas’ Permian Basin oil field rose to No. 1 as its population expanded by 25 percent, income increased 38 percent, home values spiked 91 percent and the poverty rate plunged 36 percent.
Four Texas cities with more than 100,000 people ranked in the top 10 of RentCafé’s study, including Pearland at No. 4, Brownsville at No. 9, and the West Texas oil city of Midland at No. 10, following similar trends to Odessa.
Midland was reported to have Texas’ lowest unemployment rates — 2.1 percent —for April, while Odessa’s was 2.8 percent. The Permian Basin is in the middle of a boom as oil prices flirt with $70 a barrel. The oil field, which extends into eastern New Mexico, had 478 active drilling rigs last week, about 45 percent of all rigs working in the U.S.
Fort Worth was the highest ranked among big Texas cities at No. 14. Other cities like El Paso, Laredo, and College Station outranked Austin, which was No. 34 in the country. Houston and Dallas were ranked No. 113 and 204, respectively.
Using U.S. Census data, the study compared changes in median household income, median value of owner occupied housing, share of population with bachelor's degrees or higher, the share of population below the poverty line and other measures to make its ranks.