#Boomtown questions: What viewers are asking about Austin's growth

After KVUE's Boomtown special, Michael Perchick answers some of your questions about Austin's booming growth.

AUSTIN - Last night, KVUE aired the live documentary Boomtown -- which profiled the incredible growth we’ve experienced here -- and its associated pros and cons.

We’ve received a lot of feedback from our piece and we wanted to take the chance to try and answer a few questions that popped up: 

1. Are there that any high-paying jobs downtown to support expensive housing?

The relative strength of Austin’s home market is fueled in part by the city’s strong economy, and burgeoning tech and tourism industry. 

Despite that expansive workforce, there are some warning signs.

The National Association of Realtors reports the median home price in Austin last year was $284,000, compared to the national median average of $235,500.  

They further report that nearly 55 percent of homes sold in Austin are affordable to households that earn the city’s median income -- which is slightly below the national average.

However, Texas’s tax regulations do provide relief, and have traditionally attracted companies to the Lone Star State.

In Travis County, the median income for a four-person household is $81,400.

Increasing home prices and housing affordability concerns have spread throughout the surrounding region as well.

Another popular topic -- Austin’s booming population. 

2. How many people move to Austin every day?

This is an interesting question -- and one that’s generated a lot of estimates.

The U.S. Census Bureau reported Austin’s population on April 1, 2010, was 790,390 and on April 1, 2017, it was 949,587.

That breaks out to the city’s population growing by about 62 people a day.

But that figure is strictly for the city of Austin, not the surrounding metro-area and region.

According to city demographer Ryan Robinson, the metro area has grown by about 100 to 110 people a day over the past six years.

Robinson told KVUE that could begin to drop a little bit, unless local job growth kicks back up.

With the expanded population, there’s a focus on the city’s next population: our youth.

3. How can the city work to keep youngsters and young adults engaged, off the streets and out of trouble?

In September, the city council voted to remove juvenile curfews, a decades-old policy that applied to youth under 17 years old.

APD Assistant Chief Troy Gay said shortly after the decision that juvenile crime rates in Austin are at their lowest point in years.

To maintain that, it's important to encourage students to participate in extra-curricular activities and clubs at school, and to create environments where their voices are heard -- not silenced. 

On that point, as city council members were discussing the future of the city’s juvenile curfew, several youth addressed them during a public hearing.

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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