What the Census Shows

These maps show the relative distribution of economic, social, and ethnic groups in Travis County. The darker the shade, the greater the concentration of the population measured; for median household income, darker shades show greater income levels. For example, the tracts marked in red on the Median Household Income map are those where incomes fall above the 80th percentile in Travis County; those a shade lighter measure above the 60th percentile, and so on.

Keep in mind that all five of these variables will likely look very different in 2000 than they did in 1990.

Median Household Income

It is no surprise that the wealthiest tracts in town are almost all west of MoPac, but note how the central city is almost entirely on the low end of the curve. With the wholesale gentrification of old urban-core neighborhoods, expect the median income in places such as Hyde Park, Travis Heights, and Clarksville to catch up with west side counterparts. As well, expect some of the outlying tracts -- particularly in the south -- to move down below the citywide average.

Hispanic-Origin Population (as % of total)

Non-White/Non-Hispanic Population (as % of total)

The Census Bureau classifies Hispanic origin as being different from "race," and often Hispanics -- and Anglos, too -- identify their race as "other," which may be why some heavily Hispanic south-side tracts show up with high values on the "NWNH" map. In 1990 that label, in Austin, typically meant black, but the 2000 data should show not only a larger but a more concentrated -- particularly in North Central Austin -- Asian population.

Likewise, the most heavily Hispanic tracts -- which already included the St. John's area as well as the traditional barrios -- are expected to stretch further to the east, northeast, and southwest. The African-American population is expected to stay about the same, in percentage terms, though its distribution may shift somewhat to the northeast.

Rental Units (as % of all housing units)

Demographers think that, even given Austin's status as a state capital and college town, we have an unusually high percentage of renters. The change here will likely be in the tracts on the fringe that were most heavily owner-occupied in 1990 -- because over the last decade, the city has seen far more multi- than single-family construction within its limits, and much of that building has been relatively distant from the core. (The reverse has been true in the area outside the city limits, but since most new subdivisions are built where the few existing homes are also owner-occupied, the status of such tracts wouldn't change.) Meanwhile, a few central-city tracts where rental houses are becoming owner-occupied -- particularly in the east and south -- may see their renter ratios drop.

People Living in the Same House for Five Years (as % of total population)

If you ever want to show what a boom looks like, this is your map. Remember that this map is really chronicling the bust years, 1985-1990, and even then, throughout huge parts of the city -- in all but the darkest tracts -- more than half of the residents had not lived in the same house five years earlier. Expect that in 2000, the tracts out on the fringe will look lighter than they do here, both because of our massive in-migration and our equally massive building boom.

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