Discover the 5 Fast-Shrinking Counties in East Texas

With 268,597 miles, 30,029,572 people living there as of June 2022, and 254 counties, Texas is a large state. There are 38 counties, pine tree forests, mills, ranches, agricultural land, and other industries in the eastern part of Texas. Southeast Texas’s fastest-shrinking counties during the past two years have been identified as five counties.

Texas is mostly a developing state with a diversified population. People relocate to Texas for two main reasons: the state’s climate and the reputation for Southern hospitality held by its citizens. There are many work options and prospects for career, personal, and financial advancement in several areas of the state. Sadly, not every region in the state has equal prospects, which is why some are losing population more quickly than others.

Which counties see population declines? What is the number of individuals who left each county? What is the reason behind these counties’ declining population? The purpose of this post is to assist you in comprehending the responses to these queries.

1. Houston, County; 31.2378° N, 95.4778° W

Houston, Texas, is a city most people are aware of. Space Center Houston, the Astros’ home field, and other amazing locations. But when it comes to East Texas counties that are contracting the quickest, Houston County—not Houston City—is our top choice. Houston City’s population is younger than Houston County’s, with the majority of both being older. There are more homeowners in the county and more renters in the city.

The eastern part of the state is home to Houston County and the Piney Woods. The county bears Sam Houston’s name and was created in June of 1837. The two biggest sectors in this county are human services and health care. The primary cause of this county’s declining population is the lack of diversity in the employment market. The county’s impoverished population is 19%. There are few employment available and the towns are far apart. Without the financial stability to buy a car, people are unable to go to and from work. There are few places where someone can utilize an Uber; most cities don’t have city buses or other forms of transportation, and there aren’t any taxi companies.

Houston County had a population of 12,016 in 2020, according to Census data; by 2022, that number had dropped to 21,950. This indicates that 117 people left the county in just two years.

2. Newton, County; N 30° 50′ 56.8068″, W 93° 45′ 26.6904″

The city of Newton serves as the county seat of Newton County, Texas. The county spans 940 miles in the eastern part of East Texas’ timber belt. Named for American Revolutionary War veteran John Newton, Newton County was founded in April 1846. From that point on, the county’s borders have not altered.

People are leaving Newton County for other places because of employment prospects there. In the county, 24% of people live in poverty. The county’s primary industries include manufacturing, healthcare, and social services. The county is divided from Louisiana by the Sabine River, which flows along its eastern boundary. In this county, time passes more slowly.

There are jobs in the lumber business in this area because of the pine trees. In many areas of the county, cell coverage is nonexistent, and in others, it is inadequate. Newton County is experiencing a housing scarcity. The majority of people own their homes rather than renting them.

Newton County had a population of 22,067 in 2020, according to Census statistics; by 2022, that number had dropped to 12,052. This indicates that 164 people left the county in just two years.

3. Jasper, County; 30.9264° N, 93.9878° W

The city of Jasper serves as the county seat of Jasper County, Texas. Jasper County is 970 miles long and mostly covered in pine woods. Following James Byrd Jr.’s hate crime murder in June 1998, Jasper became well-known. 14% of county residents are impoverished, while 34.2% of people have low incomes.

Manufacturing and the health and human services sector are Jasper County’s two primary sectors. Jasper City, sometimes known as the Jewel of the Forest, is located eighteen minutes south of Lake Sam Rayburn. The majority of individuals left Jasper because there were little job opportunities. The county offers very little job options. The majority of the county’s population is made up of middle-aged and older people.

Despite lacking the economic opportunities that larger cities provide, Jasper is the prototypical small rural town, with a high proportion of families that enjoy a slower pace of life and lower than normal rates of violent crimes. In this county, housing is scarce and frequently beyond the means of the typical worker. Even among those who have jobs, this reality has led to an increase in the number of homeless people.

According to 2020 Census data, Jasper County had 32,983 residents; by 2022, that number had dropped to 32,484. This indicates that 499 people left the county in just two years.

4. Bowie, County; 33.4473° N, 94.4800° W

Bowie County’s past is extensive. The county bears James Bowie’s name and was created in 1840. Bowie County is located in East Texas’s far northeast. This county has a flatter landscape than either Jasper or Newton Counties, and it has less pine trees overall. The flatter terrain makes farming easier.

The county is 923 miles long. Bowie County’s top employment sectors are in retail sales, education, and the health and human services sectors. There is a migration out of the county due to the lack of employment possibilities. One reason for the decline in Bowie County’s population was the absence of reasonably priced housing. 15.8% of the county’s population lives in temporary housing. The percentage of people living in poverty is 16.4%. Compared to the 12.6% national average, this is higher. Women between the ages of 35 and 55 make up the bulk of the county’s impoverished and homeless population.

Bowie County had 92,903 residents in 2020, according to Census data; by 2022, that number had dropped to 92,035. This indicates that 868 people left the county in just two years.

5. Jefferson, County; 29.8165° N, 94.1514° W

Greater cities can be found in Jefferson County compared to Newton, Jasper, or Bowie counties. Additionally, 18.2% of the people living there are impoverished. The total area of this county is 913 square miles. The county is located nearer the Gulf of Mexico than the other counties, and its topography is low and level.

Retail commerce, construction, and health and social services are the primary industries in East Texas that provide jobs. The primary causes of the population decrease include inadequate housing, a lack of employment possibilities, and inadequate educational facilities. A county’s citizens have no prospect of developing and become better off without sufficient housing and work possibilities.

The bigger towns in Jefferson County draw people who work in management and white-collar jobs, therefore there are more cultural events there than in the other four counties on the list. Instead of renting, most locals own their homes, and most of them have two cars. Because there aren’t enough possibilities for people in the poor and middle classes, Jefferson County is one of the counties in East Texas that is declining the fastest.

According to Census data, there were 256,526 people living in Jefferson County in 2020; by 2022, that number had dropped to 250,830. In other words, 5,696 people left the county in just two years.

Overview of the Five Fast-Shrinking Counties in East Texas

County 2020 Population 2022 Population Population Loss
Jefferson 256,526 250,830 5,696
Bowie 92,903 92,035 868
Jasper 32,983 32,484 499
Newton 12,016 12,052 164
Houston 22,067 21,950 117