Reporting Texas
News and features from UT-Austin's School of Journalism

Amid Population Decline, Rural Texas Towns Look to Future

Despite Texas gaining more people than any other state in the past decade, more than half of its counties lost population, according to the 2020 U.S. Census.

During the past few decades, changes in agriculture and the boom-or-bust oil and gas industry have led to dwindling employment opportunities in rural Texas. Many young people leave rural communities after high school in search of economic and social opportunity, often never returning.

“You start seeing what I describe as kind of a net out-migration of young people who age up through high school in their community where they grew up. And if they want to go to post-secondary education or they want to work in a job that’s, you know, potentially higher paying, they’re going to have to move to a more urbanized area,” Texas State Demographer Lloyd Potter said.

That loss of young people, Potter said, has left aging populations in rural communities.

Pandemic, Criminal Conviction Resulting from Nurse’s Mistake Raises Concerns for Future Healthcare Workers

Hot on the heels of the conviction of a Tennessee nurse at another university medical center, University of Texas at Austin nursing students are wary of joining healthcare workers already stretched to the limit by the COVID-19 pandemic. RaDonda Vaught injected Charlene Murphey with an incorrect drug and failed to monitor her, resulting in Murphey’s death. […]

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