Horns Down: Texas' poverty-by-county numbers too high.
An interactive feature published in the Texas Tribune on Tuesday highlights the number of children in poverty in each state county, as well as the total number of unemployed. Despite the growth in the Texas economy, child poverty rates in our state have continued to rise, according to a report by the liberal think tank Center for Public Policy Priorities. Though Travis County ranks low on the list (No. 142), the feature is worth checking out for any Texas citizen. It draws attention to some alarmingly high figures, such as the 48 percent child poverty rate in Hidalgo county, which is one of the fastest growing counties in the U.S. and home to the University of Texas-Pan American. Though we hope drawing awareness to such issues can help reduce the number of children around us who suffer from the brutal realities of poverty every day, we are disappointed that almost 10 percent of Texas counties have child poverty rates of 30 percent or higher.
Horns Up: Rainfall benefits Bastrop trees.
As the Austin American-Statesman reported Monday, it’s tree planting season in the wildfire-ravaged Bastrop County, and volunteers are pouring in from across the country to help replant trees in an area destroyed by the 2011 fires. If the volunteers, led by local Austin nonprofit TreeFolks, Bastrop State Park and the Texas A&M Forest Service, meet their goal, they will plant more than 1.5 million trees in Bastrop this winter. Last year, a similar effort had little success: Most of the seedlings planted died from lack of water. But heavy October rains this year have made volunteers enthusiastic. Knowing that, it’s easier to take the recent rain in stride.
Horns Down: Austin behind College Station in higher ed rankings.
According to data from the Houston Chronicle, 45.4 percent of Austin residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher, the second highest out of all the cities in Texas. Though the percentage of residents who have a bachelor’s degree or higher in Austin surpasses the percentage in the United States as a whole, which comes in at 29.1 percent, Austin ranks behind College Station, which comes in at 57.3 percent. While this statistic is likely a result of Austin’s larger population, and therefore our city’s greater overall diversity, it would be a lie to say that we’re not a little disappointed to fall behind College Station. It just always feels a little better when we beat the Aggies.