Greater Texas Foundation awarded funding to Altarum Institute to support research on how inequities in education impact Texas’s economy and to highlight programs for expanding opportunity and equity in the state. Altarum’s research focused on race, income and economic growth.
The report noted that people of color in Texas, on average, are currently behind their white counterparts in education attainment and earnings, along with numerous other life outcomes. The ability of businesses and the overall economy of Texas to grow will depend on accelerating progress in closing today’s gaps in educational achievement and earnings potential for these groups. Without any change in the current trajectory, Texas will have to import hundreds of thousands of workers to fuel business growth that otherwise could be filled by Texas natives.
“Greater Texas Foundation supports efforts to ensure all students are prepared for, have access, persist in, and complete a postsecondary education,” said Ralph Rushing, Board Chair and Interim Chief Executive of Greater Texas Foundation. “We are proud to support this work to show how ensuring equitable education outcomes for students will help maintain a healthy and successful Texas economy.”
By 2050, Texas is projected to grow from about 27 million people to more than 40 million people. Virtually all of this growth comes from people of color, mostly people of Hispanic origins. The Texas working age population (age 18-64) is projected to grow by 6.8 million people, a growth of more than 40 percent, and to shift from predominantly White to predominantly Hispanic. The average Hispanic or Black child in Texas today is more likely to be born into an environment leading to poorer health, lower educational attainment, fewer employment opportunities, and less financial security than the average White child. As today’s children of color become the majority adult population, their life outcomes will define the way the Texas workforce, customer base, neighborhoods, and communities evolve.
“The economic stakes, along with opportunities for significant gains, are high,” said Ani Turner, co-director of Altarum Institute’s Center for Sustainable Health Spending and the report author. “As our study shows, even a modest acceleration in improvements in life outcomes for these groups represents billions of dollars in additional earnings, tax revenues, and purchasing power for Texas.”
Texans have a significant opportunity to improve educational outcomes and support a vital economy long into the future. Beyond earnings, higher education is associated with better health, longer life, less likelihood of being incarcerated, and more volunteering, charitable donations, and civic involvement. Groups around the state are already implementing policies and programs that are successfully reducing educational gaps and improving life outcomes. Supporting and investing in these initiatives as individuals, employers, and communities is not only the right thing to do, it can create a stronger and more prosperous Texas for all.
View Altarum’s reports below: