the loss in jobs and kept repeating it every year after that for the past 30 years. The survey, a representative random sample of Harris County residents who are asked identical questions, has resulted in a valuable dataset on the demographics and reflections of residents in the region.
Dr. Klineberg noted that historically, economic prosperity in the region has not been based on education or human capital, but rather from land and commodities, cotton, timber, cattle, and oil. He noted that this is likely to change in the future, when the source of wealth will have less to do with natural resources and more to do with human capital. Many of the blue collar jobs from the 1970s have left Houston, and future employment will require higher levels of education.
FIGURE 3-1 Increase in incomes from 1949-1979 compared to 1979-2003.
SOURCE: Stephen Klineberg presentation, January 18, 2012.
Not only has the economic structure of Houston changed, but the national economy has also changed with increasing income disparity. Dr. Klineberg presented data comparing the increase in income in the United States from 1949 to 1979 to the increase in income from 1979 to 2003 (Figure 3-1). From 1949 to 1979, the poorest 20 percent of Americans more than doubled their income. The era also saw the emergence of the baby boom generation, as the average American woman gave birth to 3.6 children. In contrast, increases in income from 1979 to 2003 were