The word Texas stands for ‘friends’ in the Caddo language. Texans can be distinguished from the crowd because of their ‘oh-so-southern’ accent in the United States of America. The second most populous state in the US, Texas is extremely culturally rich. It is situated in the South Central part of the country. Being the second largest of 50 states in the US, Texas has an area of 268,820 square miles (696,200 km2) and a growing population of 26.1 million residents. The fourth-largest city of the United States, Houston, and the seventh largest, San Antonia, are here.
Texas has a variable climate. Since it is such a large state, no two places in the state have similar weather. The Panhandle of the state has colder winters than North Texas, while the Gulf Coast has mild winters. Texas has wide variations in precipitation patterns. The rainfall also varies from place to place. While El Paso, on the western end of the state, averages 8.7 inches (220 mm) of annual rainfall, parts of southeast Texas average as much as 64 inches (1,600 mm) per year. Also, Texas gets snowfall many times every winter in the Panhandle and mountainous areas of West Texas; North Texas however gets it once or twice a year while Central and East Texas get it only once in a few years.
Summer gets really hot in Texas. Maximum temperatures in the summer months average from the 80s ° F (26 °C) in the mountains of West Texas and on Galveston Island to around 100 °F (38 °C) in the Rio Grande Valley, but most areas of Texas see consistent summer high temperatures in the 90 °F (32 °C) range.
However, what make Texas climate different are the thunderstorms. Texas is a state that experiences the most tornadoes, an average of 139 every year. North Texas and the Panhandle again are the recipients mostly. Tornadoes happen in April, May and June. Hurricanes too are a common feature of Texan climate.
Economy and GDP
Texas has led the nation in export revenue since 2002 and has the second-highest gross state product. The latest that we have is a 2010 report that stated that Texas had a Gross State Product (GSP) of $1.207 trillion, which is the second highest in the U.S. In fact, its GSP is easily comparable to the GDP of India or Canada, which are the world's 12th- and 11th-largest economies, respectively. Texas' economy is the fourth-largest of any country subdivision globally, behind England (as part of the UK), California, and Tokyo Prefecture. Now take a look at its per capita income. The Per Capita personal income of the state in 2009 was $36,484, ranking 29th in the country.
Major industries and jobs
Interestingly enough, the cowboy-image of Texas has something to do with its most thriving industry- the cattle industry. But over the years, the state has grown in many other major industries. Since early 20th century economic boom when oil discoveries were initiated, the state has developed a diversified economy due it strong investments in universities. Major industries in Texas include petroleum and natural gas, farming (cotton, livestock), steel, banking, insurance, agriculture, aeronautics, defense, computer Technology, energy, healthcare, Entertainment, tourism. What is notable is that of the eleven major industries of the Texas economy, all except Information and Government experienced net job growth during fiscal 2011. Gaining industries included Mining and Logging, Construction, Manufacturing, Trade/Transportation/Utilities, Financial Activities, Professional and Business Services, Education and Health Services, Leisure and Hospitality, and Other Services.
The goods-producing industries experienced job growth of 5.2 percent over the last year, markedly exceeding a 1.9 percent growth rate among the service-providing industries, owing largely to the strength of oil and natural gas drilling and energy-related machinery and drilling rig manufacturing. The industry with the most negative rate of job loss was Information, including broadcast media, telecommunications and Internet-based services.
However, the industry that added the most jobs was trade, transportation, and utilities, at 49,600, followed closely by professional and business services, at 49,100. Professional and business services advanced mostly because of hiring in administrative and support services, including employment services, a sector that often adds temporary and part-time jobs when the economy emerges from a recession. Good news is that the employers who are still not confident enough to hire full-time employees often hire additional help through employment service agencies. As a result, more permanent jobs are being offered lately.
Education in Texas
The second President of the Republic of Texas, Mirabeau B Lamar, is the Father of Texas Education. Lamar's actions set the foundation for a Texas-wide public school system. Texas is ranked 29th in the American Legislative Exchange Council’s Report Card on American Education. The state provides at least88.0% of the funding for education, the federal government 12.0%.
There are 1000 school districts in Texas and 36 separate and distinct public universities, of which 32 belong to one of the six state university systems. Discovery of minerals on Permanent University Fund land, particularly oil, has helped fund the rapid growth of the state's two largest university systems: The University of Texas System and Texas A&M System. There are other four university systems, namely the University of Houston System, the University of North Texas System, the Texas State System and Texas Tech System.
Top 10 Texan Universities
|University||US News and World Report Rank||Endowment||Tuition Fee 2013-14|
|Rice University, Houston||National Universities 18th||$4.5 Billion||$38,941|
|University of Texas, Austin||National Universities 52nd||$7.2 billion||$33,824|
|Southern Methodist University, Dallas||National Universities 60th||$1.4 Billion||$43,800|
|Texas A&M University-College Station||National Universities 69th||$5.1 billion||$25,126|
|Baylor University, Waco||National Universities 75th||$1.2 Billion||$35,972|
|University of Texas, Dallas||National Universities 142nd||Not Known||$30,378|
|Texas Tech University||National Universities 161st||$434 million||$19,562|
|University of Houston||National Universities 190th||$ 589.8 million||$20,892|
|Trinity University, San Antonia||Regional Universities 1st||$ 1 billion||$35,262|
|Abilene Christian University||Regional Universities 19th||$ 300 million||$28,350|
Research Grans in Texas
Every University in Texas has its own internal research grants for faculty and students. In addition, most of them are able to acquire external grants easily. This particularly benefits students as they are able to win Research Assistantships and get paid while studying. For example, University of Texas, Austin recently received a grant of $129 million for research through American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Even for summer research programs, these universities are pretty generous. Every year Rice University selects research assistants from students and pays them $5000 as grants as part of their Dissertation Research Improvement Grants. Even the smallest grant of Baylor University amounts $4500-7,500 that are awarded to students for short-term research.
Employment scene in Texas
Texas is creating a lot of jobs across the income spectrum. Universities are playing a huge role in getting young people placed in industries across the USA. The average salary range of Rice University Graduates in 2012 was between $78,000 - $185,000. Baylor University’s MBAs start at $65000 while with a median starting salary of $49,100, UT-Austin was ranked sixth in the nation. Moreover, a lot of Asians pass out every year from Texan universities. The national high school graduation rate for Asians is approximately 96%.