The Texas Triangle: An Emerging Power in the Global Economy

An important new study examines the intricately linked phenomena of interwoven population growth, economic power, quality education, business leadership, and fiscal significance as exemplified in Dallas–Fort Worth, Houston-Galveston, and Austin–San Antonio.

The Texas Triangle consists of three metropolitan complexes: Dallas–Fort Worth at the northern tip, Houston-Galveston at the southeastern point, and Austin–San Antonio at the southwestern edge. These metros will soon include four of the ten most populous cities in the United States, and together represent the fifteenth largest economy in the world.

In a newly released book, we highlighted that the Texas Triangle is struggling to raise educational attainment levels among their fast-growing Hispanic populations – a function of language barriers and inadequate investment by the state – and are overly dependent on “importing” the high-skilled workforce that’s powering the Texas Triangle’s explosive growth from other parts of the United States. Further, the authors identified the common mistake made that urban Texas is becoming more like urban centers on the coasts as it grows larger and more ethnically diverse. In fact, The Texas Triangle is becoming more economically diverse as the coastal regions grow more concentrated. 

As the Texas Triangle competes for talent,  business, and political and cultural influence throughout the nation, we offer community leaders, elected officials, policy makers, and others a more nuanced understanding of an important moment in America’s continuing urban development. With broader perspectives for how community-building advances the public interest. The book lays important foundations for matching the path of economic prosperity to an informed sense of what is possible.

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Meet The authors

J. H. CULLUM CLARK serves as director of the George W. Bush Institute–SMU Economic Growth Initiative and is also adjunct professor of economics at Southern Methodist University.

HENRY CISNEROS, formerly mayor of San Antonio, served as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development during the Clinton administration, 1993–97. He is chairman of American Triple I, an infrastructure investment firm.

DAVID HENDRICKS recently retired after more than 40 years with the San Antonio Express-News, where he had been a business editor and columnist. 

WILLIAM FULTON serves as director of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice University. The former mayor of Ventura and director of planning and economic development for the City of San Diego, he is also the author of The Reluctant Metropolis.