DATA: Population, uninsured rates rising in the Greater Houston area

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New U.S. Census Bureau data shows the Greater Houston area is growing in more than just population. Median household income, educational attainment and the percentage of people without health insurance all increased from 2017-18 throughout most of the Greater Houston area, which includes Brazoria, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris and Montgomery counties.

The U.S. Census Bureau released one-year estimates of the 2018 American Community Survey on Sept. 26, available for geographic areas with populations of 65,000 or more. These estimates are based on data collected from Jan. 1, 2018 to Dec. 31, 2018.

Additional 2018 data will be released Oct. 17.

Population

Brazoria, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris and Montgomery counties all saw population increases from 2017-18, census data shows. Montgomery County saw the largest percentage growth of the four counties, increasing 3.5% from 2017-18 and reaching close to 600,000 people.

Harris County—the largest of the five counties with a population of 4,698,619 people in 2018—saw the smallest percentage growth from 2017-18, growing by 0.98%.

Median household income

Brazoria County is the only one of the five counties that saw a decrease in its median household income from 2017-18, dropping from $82,229 to $73,623—a 10.5% decrease.

The other four counties saw less than 5% increases in median household income year over year. Montgomery County holds the smallest percentage increase at 0.2% and Galveston County holds the largest percentage increase at 4.7%. However, Fort Bend County has the highest median household income, totaling $91,931 in 2018.

Educational attainment

Brazoria County is also the only one of the five counties that saw a decline in the percentage of residents who received a bachelor’s degree or higher in terms of educational attainment. In 2017, 32.4% of the population attained a bachelor’s degree or higher, but that percentage dropped to 27.3% in 2018, census data shows—dropping it below the state average of 30.3%.

The other four counties exceeded the state average in the percentage of people with a bachelor’s degree or higher. Fort Bend County has the highest mark of the four counties, totaling 46.9% in 2018.

Uninsured rate

Four out of the five counties—Brazoria, Galveston, Harris and Montgomery counties—saw increases in the percentage of people without health insurance coverage from 2017-18. The uninsured rates of Brazoria and Galveston counties increased by 4.4% and 3.9%, respectively, while the percentages of Harris and Montgomery counties’ populations that are uninsured both grew by less than 0.5%.

The percentage of Harris County’s population without health insurance totals 20.8%, higher than the state average of 17.7% and more than double the national average of 8.9%. The other four counties all fall below the state average, but above the national average.

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Kara McIntyre
Kara started with Community Impact Newspaper as the summer intern for the south Houston office in June 2018 after graduating with a bachelor's degree in mass communication from Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas. She became the Tomball/Magnolia reporter in September 2018. Prior to CI, Kara served as the editor-in-chief of The Wichitan—Midwestern State University's student-run campus newspaper—and interned with both the Wichita Adult Literacy Council and VeepWorks.
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