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Quality of life surveys of Texas cut state no slack

By Ernie Williamson

The Bulletin

Judging from recently released business surveys, you might think Texas was now part of the Third World.

In ranking Texas from the classroom to the workplace, national surveys and studies seem to be unfairly picking on our state. One analysis by CNBC even concluded that Texas is the worst state in which to work and live.

What these negative surveys do not explain is why, if things are so terrible in the Lone Star State, did 230,961 people move here from other states last year. Only Florida had more domestic migration.

I think I know why these folks - many of them millennials - moved to Texas. No state income tax.

Growing high technology centers. Relatively low cost of living. Big companies like Tesla moving here.

Lots of land.

None of this apparently made an impression on CNBC.

Here is a look at some of the studies. See if you think they are accurate.

One CNBC study of America’s Top States for Business placed Texas out of its top 5 for the first time since the study was started in 2005. Texas placed sixth overall after finishing No. 1 in 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2018.

The survey pointed out that due to high wages and rising rents, our state fell to No. 22 in housing costs.

CNBC also claimed Texas fell to No. 24 in infrastructure spending, noted that Texans suffer nearly 20 hours without electricity per year and predicted the state’s water utilities need $61 billion in repairs over the next 20 years.

Finally, the CNBC study found Texas ranked No. 35 in education, with per-pupil spending among the nation’s lowest and K-12 test scores lagging.

Those results are mild compared to a second CNBC study.

As part of their Top States for Business study, CNBC also examined which states are the most and least welcoming to workers and their families. Texas finished the worst among all 50 states. Vermont finished first.

This CNBC study examined quality of life factors such as crime rates, environmental quality, availability of childcare, discrimination in state laws and access to abortion care.

Factors like Texas having the highest number of uninsured residents in the nation, higher violent crime rates, and a low number of primary care physicians per capita were what made the state’s score so low, according to CNBC.

Then there was a recent study by WalletHub that looked at 150 of the largest metropolitan areas to examine the most and least educated cities in the country.

Out of 150 cities, four Texas metropolitan areas made the top 10 for the least educated.

Corpus Christi was ranked 142, Beaumont-Port Arthur 143, McAllen-Edinburg-Mission 148 and Brownsville-Harlingen at 149.

Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown was the only Texas metropolitan area to make the top 10 most educated areas, coming in 10th.

Visalia, California took the title for least educated city in the country, and Ann Arbor, Michigan was named the most educated metropolitan area.

So, what do you think? I think there are clearly some things the state can improve on, but I also think there are lots of states that would love to have our economy.

(Contact Ernie at Or, send letters in care of The Bulletin, PO Box 2426, Angleton, TX. 77516)


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