Social Equity

Social equity can be seen as a rough measure of equal access to prosperity and livelihood among the different segments of a society. A socially equitable society indicates equal participation in the political and cultural life of the community. Indicators in this section compare the persistence of social equity among the different segments of Austin area residents. This is done across socio-economic, racial, and gender segments. The main indicators include: cost of living; housing; diversity of leadership; race relations; and English proficiency. A few highlights from this section include:

  • The Consumer Price Index in the Austin area has increased by 38% from 2000 to 2015, surpassing the median family income in 2007.
  • In 2014, the Austin-Round Rock per capita income was $32,000, but with stark racial and ethnic disparities. The per capita income for White non-Hispanic Central Texans was over $40,000, compared to about $35,000 among Asians, $22,000 among African Americans, and $17,000 among Hispanics.
  • One-third of Austin area single mothers and their children live in poverty. Overall, the family poverty rate in the Austin-Round Rock MSA has remained at or near 10% since 2005.
  • As one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the nation, the median home price in the Austin area reached an all-time high of $261,700 in 2015, 80% higher than the market demand in 2000. Median home price surpassed the median family income for the region in 2006.
  • in 2014 about 45% of all households in the Austin area are renter-occupied in the Austin area. Moreover, half of renter-occupied households spend 30% or more of their gross income on rent. Hays County has the highest housing cost burden, with nearly 70% of renters spending 30% or more of their income on housing costs.
  • In 2015, as in 2010 and 2008, more than 50% of Austin area survey respondents believe the community has a responsibility to make sure housing is more affordable for median income workers.
  • In 2015, 63% of elected officials were men, 85% were White, and 54% were White men. Yet, White men make up only 27% of the total population in the region.
  • In 2015, only 12% of the elected judiciary were people of color, resulting in the lowest diversity numbers in over a decade. More than one-third of the elected judiciary is female, reflecting a six-point increase from 2011.


Thinking about the social equity section, some questions to consider:

  • What is the impact of the region’s growth on social equity outcomes?
  • How long will Austin stay Austin?

Download the full Social Equity Indicators report.