Texas county near the Eagle Ford formation is now richest in the nation

Jazz Shaw:

Where is the richest county in the nation in terms of average gross income? For a long time now if you’d have guessed one of the collar counties around the nation’s capitol you’d have been correct. You’d also likely be forgiven for suggesting one of the bedroom communities around the Big Apple in Connecticut and New York. They’re traditional magnets for money. But according to Time Magazine, the latest figures show that wealth has begun to aggregate somewhere new and it’s far, far to the west. One county in Texas is now at the top of the heap and it’s all thanks to a boom in domestic energy exploration.

According to TRAC, McMullen County, Texas, which lies in the heart of the Eagle Ford shale patch south of San Antonio, now has the highest average adjusted gross income in the U.S.: $303,717. At #4 is Texas’s Glasscock County ($181,375), which sits in the equally productive Barnett shale patch in West Texas.

That’s pretty remarkable. Two other Texas counties rich in shale oil are also near the top of the list. And as the report indicates, only ten years ago not a single county in Texas was in the top 30. Oh what a difference a few years of drill baby drill can produce.

When you look at locations such as McMullen County, this dominating average gross income isn’t just the result of a few large landowners cashing in on leasing deals. That’s great for those with the resources, but not enough to drive up the overall numbers that far. What we’re seeing here is the secondary benefits of this surge in productivity. More people in the area now have very lucrative jobs working in the industry, driving up their income. And in turn, they buy more houses and luxury goods, creating additional jobs in construction and other sectors. It’s the trickle down theory on steroids.
I am a little surprised that the Midland-Odessa area is not near the top.  I  expect it probably will be soon.  It is where the biggest oil plan in the nation is right now--the Permian Basin.


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