Household income data reveals local challenges

By Jeremy Rhodes

With the release of the Waco Snapshot Report, I will be devoting a few newsletter columns to the findings of the report.

The City of Waco has seen rising median household incomes since 2015, with a 2019 median household income (the most recent data available) of about $40,000. Waco’s median household income falls below the state median household income ($61,874) and the median income of 10 of Waco’s peer cities (The 10 cities have an average median income of $51,648).

While an increase in median income is unequivocally good for our community, it is important to provide context for these numbers. The chart below shows the median household incomes broken down by the four most populous racial/ethnic groups in Waco. As of 2019, White residents of Waco have a median household income of almost $49,000, while Black residents have a median income of $26,464, which is about 46% less than the median income for Whites. The median household income for Asian residents of Waco is close to that of Whites ($44,653), while the median income for Latinos is $33,570, or about 31% below the median income for Whites.

Finally, the divergent median incomes in our community can also be understood by looking at the geographic distribution of income. The map below displays median household incomes from 2019 by each census tract. The highest median household incomes (greater than $70K) are present in the Waco suburbs, especially China Spring, Woodway, Hewitt, and Robinson. Much of the area within the city limits, especially East Waco and South Waco, have considerably smaller median incomes (less than $25K).

Jeremy Rhodes, Ph.D., is director of research & community impact for Prosper Waco.