Ranking it

America's economic star: Houston boasts the highest adjusted annual wage in the country

America's economic star: Houston boasts the highest adjusted annual wage in the country

Houston is the epicenter in the rise of the Third Coast, according to a report on "America's Growth Corridors" by Joel Kotkin, an adjunct fellow at the Manhattan Institute. 

The report points to four under-recognized regions that have performed well in the past and seem likely candidates for future growth, including the Third Coast (defined as "stretch of counties whose shores abut the Gulf of Mexico and which range through Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida"), the Great Plains region, the "Intermountain West" and the "Southeast Manufacturing Belt."

 The Bayou City's average adjusted annual wage for 2012 was $75,256, the highest in the country and more than $12,000 per year better than No. 2.  

But Houston seems to outshine the rest: The city has "now surpassed New York as the country's most racially and ethnically diverse area" according to a recent study by Rice University's Kinder Institute for Urban Research, and continues to draw "residents from most other parts of the country, particularly from the Northeast and California."

Both economic opportunity and cost of living influence migration patterns and the city has seen a 15 percent growth in employment between 2000 and 2011, one of the largest of any major metro area, plus has a high standard of living at a low cost. 

"When adjusted for cost of living," the study notes, "wage earners in Houston, Dallas, and Austin, as well as most corridor cities, earn much more than residents of New York or Los Angeles."

The Bayou City's average adjusted annual wage for 2012 was $75,256, the highest in the country and more than $12,000 per year over the next metropolitan statistical areas in the ranking, Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington (at No. 2) and Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos (at No. 3). 

Talk about bang for your buck.

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