A growing East Texas population could skew population corridors

Updated: Apr. 6, 2017 at 8:07 PM CDT
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But with a growing population and increasing economic activity in Smith County and Tyler (and...
But with a growing population and increasing economic activity in Smith County and Tyler (and barring infrastructure improvements), that triangle could transition into a rectangle over the next decades. (Source: KLTV)

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - The City of Tyler, as well as Smith County, are growing. With numbers presented Thursday in the Tyler Economic Development Council's annual meeting, a growing population in East Texas could change the economic corridors in the State of Texas.

According to the TEDC, Smith County's population increased by 7.6 percent since 2010.

"There are people leaving Smith County," State of Texas Demographer Lloyd Potter said, "but there are more people that are moving into Smith County."

The City of Tyler's population has increased by 12.6 percent since 2010. Home sales are up. Property values are up. Building permit activity is up. The labor force is up. Unemployment is down and, despite lower sales tax revenue, hotel occupancy and airport traffic, the TEDC says the outlook is good.

"It's much more positive to be able to sell a growing area than to say we're flat or declining," TEDC President and CEO Tom Mullins said.

Population growth is changing too. It's going up, but half of the growth is from people moving into the region for work. And Potter says that if it continues, the population and economic corridors of Texas could shift.

"This may evolve into making us have a population rectangle in the state," he said.

For now, the population corridors are divided into a triangle that connects San Antonio to DFW, DFW to Houston, then Houston back to San Antonio. But if population growth in Smith County continues in the next decades like it has recently, that shape could change.

"That growth pattern instead of being in a triangle from Dallas and Houston and San Antonio could stretch a little further east and become a rectangle."

The corridor would extend toward Tyler's roses, changing not only the economic output of the region, but also how business flows through the state.

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