Economic and population growth in one part of Central Texas continues to march ahead thanks to one of the world’s largest military installations.
Fort Hood, an Army complex that encompasses 340 square miles (bigger than the city of Dallas, TX) and employs about 37,000 military personnel, pumps billions of dollars a year into the economy of the Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood, TX, metro area.
“The military is the largest economic driver for our community and will provide much growth for the foreseeable future,” says Jennifer Hetzel, director of strategic communications for the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce.
That growth will include a sizeable surge in population, if predictions from the Texas Water Development Board come true. A LawnStarter analysis of the water board’s population projections indicates the population of the Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood area will grow nearly 23 percent from 2015 to 2030. By 2030, the region is expected to have more than 550,000 residents, up from about 450,000 in 2015.
McLane Co. is one of the biggest employers in the Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood area.
Photo: McLane Co.
Paul Stock, an economics professor at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton, TX, says the Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood area has seen significant growth over the past 15 years or so, even dodging the worst of the Great Recession.
Although the area depends heavily on Fort Hood, it enjoys a diversified economy, with the construction, healthcare and education sectors contributing to the diversity, according to Stock. “A diversified economy is very important for economic growth,” he says.
Outside the military, the region’s biggest employers include the Baylor Scott & White medical center in Temple, the Killeen Independent School District and Temple-based McLane Co., a major grocery distributor.
A tank fires at a target on the Sugar Loaf Multi-Use Range at Fort Hood.
Photo: U.S. Army/Sgt. Christopher Dennis
Here’s how population growth in the three-county metro area is expected to look from 2015 to 2030.
Estimated 2015 population: 334,941
Projected 2030 population: 430,647
2015-30 growth rate: 28.6%
Estimated 2015 population: 75,503
Projected 2030 population: 97,771
2015-30 growth rate: 29.5%
Estimated 2015 population: 20,588
Projected 2030 population: 24,100
2015-30 growth rate: 17.1%
In the infographic below, we take a deeper dive into the growth of the Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood metro area.
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Top photo: Gil Eckrich/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service