This article was originally published in AQUILA’s 4Q 2017 Austin Office Market Report and will not be updated. Please contact us if you have specific questions regarding the information in this article.

Any casual observer will tell you that Austin is a quickly evolving city that has undergone major changes since the turn of the century. These changes are evident everywhere, from the ever-increasing population to higher levels of education and income.

Knowing these things to be true in general, we became curious as to exactly how Austin has changed over the past 17 years. By digging through the Census Bureau and identifying key demographic indicators, we have analyzed Austin’s changing demographics and uncovered some interesting conclusions.

In this article, we will:

  • Look into how Austin as a city has changed
  • Analyze the differences between the primary office submarkets
  • Take a deeper look at changes in East Austin
  • Compare Austin’s demographics to those of other major cities


Demographics in the City of Austin

The most obvious change Austin has undergone is population growth. Starting at a population of 656,562 in 2000, the city has grown to 947,890 residents in 2016, an increase of 44%.1 Looking at this number, it is no wonder that traffic and parking have become such important topics in Austin today.

Map of Emigration to Texas

Where do people come from?


As it turns out, a considerable portion of this change in population has come from people moving to Austin from other cities within Texas and around the country. From the map above, you can see that most of this movement takes place within Texas.2

One would think that this massive change in population, combined with Austin’s image as a haven for young creatives and tech talent, would have driven the median population age down from 30 where it was in 2000, but that has not been the case. In fact, the median age for an Austinite in 2015 rose to 32 years old.3

Following along with this increasing age, Austin has also seen a steady rise in median household income. Between 2000 and 2015, median household income grew from $42,689 to $57,689, an average year-over-year change of 2.34%, which follows relatively closely with the average inflation rate over that period of 2.23%. Interestingly, however, median household income growth has been outpacing inflation since 2012.4


Austin Median Household Income vs. Inflation


Austin continues to grow more educated too, as measured by the percentage of the population over 18 years old with a Bachelor’s degree or higher. In 2000, 40% of Austin’s population in this category had received a Bachelor’s degree, compared with 47% in 2015.5 While this 7% difference may not seem like much change over 15 years, it is still impressive when you consider the rising cost of higher education over that time period.6 Increasing tuition costs, it seems, have not deterred Austinites from seeking higher education.


Austin Population % With Bachelor's Degree vs. College Tuition Price Index | Austin Texas Demographics



Austin Demographics by Office Submarket

What has this meant for our real estate submarkets?

Starting with population change, the Far Southeast submarket takes the cake with the largest growth between 2000 and 2017 of 227%.7 Not surprisingly, populations in the Northwest and Southwest also experienced exceptional growth over this time period due to the increasing number of amenities and higher standard of living in those areas.

Austin Office Submarket Population Changes 2000 - 2017 | Austin Texas Demographics


Taking a look at median household incomes across submarkets today, it is easy to see where high-income individuals are choosing to call home. The Southwest, with its luxurious homes and Hill Country views, comes out on top with a median income level of $126,839, followed closely by Central and Northwest Austin.

Median age seems to be highly correlated with median income, as the submarkets with higher incomes also tend to be the submarkets with higher median age.

Median Household Income and Age Levels by Submarket, 2017
Submarket Median Household Income Median Age
CBD $96,000 34
Central $53,556 34
East $42,858 33.4
Far East $41,476 27.6
For Northeast $74,511 32.6
Far Southeast $62,110 33.5
Far Southwest $101,451 39.4
North $46,958 31.4
Northeast $59,612 32.5
Northwest $82,671 36.9
South $60,126 34.9
Southeast $35,575 27.2
Southwest $126,839 40.4
West Central $104.903 37.5

Diving into East Austin

The numbers we have looked at so far give a nice overview, but we felt East Austin in particular deserved a closer look as it has become a more prominent office submarket in recent years. The area east of IH-35 has undergone major changes as population pressures have encouraged development, with some parties being in favor of the new developments and others staunchly opposing the ongoing changes.

Whatever your view, we did find some interesting demographic changes in the East submarket since 2000.

In 2000, East Austin’s median household income was $23,348, and the percentage of the population over 18 with a Bachelor’s degree or higher was only 9%. Considering that those numbers for Austin as a whole at the time were $42,689 and 40% respectively, East Austin was well below the average.

However, looking at data for 2017, we see that East Austin has come a long way in 17 years. Median household income has grown to $42,858, an 84% change before inflation or 45% after inflation, and the level of Bachelor’s degrees has risen to 24%, an increase of over 180%.

These are some of the most drastic changes across any of the submarkets, and it will be interesting to see how East Austin continues to evolve.


How Austin’s Demographics Compare to Other Major Cities

Of course, it would not be fair to say that Austin has undergone major demographic changes without comparing those changes to other cities, so we have done just that. The cities to which we chose to make these comparisons are:

  • Los Angeles
  • Atlanta
  • Dallas
  • Houston

Starting with population change between 2010 and 2015, Austin far exceeded the other cities on a percentage growth basis. LA. and Houston did add more net citizens, but Austin still exceeded Dallas and Atlanta on a per-person basis.8

Population by Year and City
Year Austin Los Angeles Atlanta Dallas Houston
2015 930,152 3,900,794 448,901 1,260,688 2,217,706
2014 911,390 3,862,210 440,641 1,240,985 2,167,988
2013 885,343 3,827,261 432,589 1,222,167 2,134,707
2012 864,483 3,804,503 425,931 1,207,202 2,107,449
2011 838,599 3,782,544 419,250 1,196,258 2,089,090
2010 815,587 3,772,486 413,462 1,187,285 2,068,026
Citizens Added 114,565 128,308 35,439 73,403 149,680
Change 14% 3% 9% 6% 7%


Even more impressive is that Austin beat all four cities in the median household income category. Not only was Austin’s 2015 median income the highest, but in every year since 2010 Austin came out on top.

Median Household Income by Year and City
Year Austin Los Angeles Atlanta Dallas Houston
2015 $57,689 $50,205 $45,527 $43,781 $46,187
2014 $55,216 $49,682 $46,439 $43,359 $50,359
2013 $53,946 $49,497 $46,631 $42,846 $49,318
2012 $52,431 $49,745 $46,146 $42,436 $49,322
2011 $51,596 $50,028 $45,946 $42,259 $48,692
2010 $50,520 $49,138 $45,171 $41,682 $47,112
Average $53,566 $49,716 $45,977 $42,727 $48,498

With so many prominent universities in and around Austin, it is also no surprise that Austin comes out near the top when looking at the percentage of the population over 18 with a Bachelor’s degree or greater.

Percent of Population with Bachelor’s Degree by Year and City
Year Austin Los Angeles Atlanta Dallas Houston
2015 47% 32% 48% 30% 30%
2014 46% 32% 47% 30% 30%
2013 46% 31% 47% 29% 29%
2012 45% 31% 46% 29% 29%
2011 45% 31% 46% 29% 28%
2010 44% 30% 45% 29% 28%
Average 45% 31% 47% 29% 29%

Looking at these demographic categories, Austin is clearly growing faster and producing a higher-paid and educated population than many other cities.


What This Means for Austin

As you can see, the changing demographics of Austin paint an interesting picture of where the city has been, where it is now, and where it could go in the future. These demographics influence the lives of Austinites every day, and it is exciting to see that everything points to Austin continuing to be one of the best cities in the country.

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division
2Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Census Flow Mapper
3Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2011-2015 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates
4Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
5Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Profile of Selected Social Characteristics
6Source: U.S. Census Bureau, College Tuition and Fees in U.S. City Average
7Source: ArcGIS – Esri
8Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Fact Finder

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