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Susan Combs: Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

Texas In Focus:

Texas’ Upper Rio Grande region consists of six counties in the state’s westernmost area. It’s a hard but beautiful land supported by military spending, manufacturing, agriculture and the tourism dollars of visitors attracted by two national parks and several state parks. As with the rest of the nation, the region’s future economic growth will be characterized by a shift from goods production to service industries.

Upper Rio Grande

This report examines forces driving change in the Upper Rio Grande region, and factors affecting the development of its economy. We hope that state leaders, local officials and people of the region will use this report to stay on top of the important issues that will determine the future of this vibrant region.

Texas In Focus: Upper Rio Grande

  • Full Report – PDF (5.6 MB)
  • A Letter From Comptroller Combs
  • HTML | PDF (101 KB)
  • Introduction
  • HTML | PDF (221 KB)
  • Economic Development
  • HTML | PDF (668 MB)
  • The Upper Rio Grande region’s employment growth is expected to match state growth by 2013, with strongest growth in professional and business services. The military continues to be the region’s largest employer.
  • Industry Profile – Apparel and Footwear Manufacturing
  • Industry Profile – Travel and Tourism Industry
  • Demographics
  • HTML | PDF (668 KB)
  • The region’s population is relatively young and predominately Hispanic. Nearly all of its residents live in or near El Paso, whose population should rise by 12.5 percent between 2003 and 2013.
  • Infrastructure
  • HTML | PDF (1.0 MB)
  • The Upper Rio Grande region’s economy benefits greatly from visitors to its public parks, including two national parks and several state parks. The region also serves as an important international trade corridor between Mexico and the U.S.
  • Health Care
  • HTML | PDF (1.6 MB)
  • Like many other areas in Texas, the Upper Rio Grande region faces a shortage of trained health care professionals. This shortage, however, could be alleviated by Texas’ first new medical school since 1977, scheduled to open in El Paso in July 2009.
  • Education
  • HTML | PDF (640 KB)
  • About 88 percent of the region’s public school campuses are rated Academically Acceptable or better. The graduation rate at the region’s major university, the University of Texas at El Paso, doubled between 1999 and 2007.
  • Conclusion
  • HTML | PDF (1.1 MB)

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To request printed copies of this report:
Call the Comptroller’s Data Services Division at (800) 531-5441, ext. 3-4900, or direct in Austin at (512) 463-4900 or you may e-mail your request to You can also write to:

Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Data Services Division
P.O. Box 13528
Austin, Texas 78711-3528

Publication# 96-1311-4, Printed June 2009

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