Jun 02, 2019

Brazos Valley EDC Turns 30

Steve Fullhart

June 2019 marks 30 years of the Brazos Valley Economic Development Corporation helping companies Launch, Grow and Locate in Brazos County.

As you can learn more about here, our organization is where our community’s government, education and business leaders come together. The BVEDC’s name has changed a handful of times since 1989, but our community has changed far more.

Brazos County’s population first crossed 100,000 in the U.S. Census listings in 1981. By 1990, it sat at 121,969. That is slightly more than the latest Census-estimated population of College Station alone.

College Station has more than doubled in size during this time, with Bryan seeing sizable growth as well. In 1990, the Census listed Bryan’s population at 55,268 and College Station’s as 53,025. As of 2018’s Census estimates, College Station has 116,218 residents, a 119 percent increase from 1990. Bryan has grown 55 percent in that time to a population of 85,445. 

Brazos County as a whole is listed as having 226,758 residents, up 86 percent from 1990. The county’s property appraisal gross market value has also skyrocketed from $3.5 billion in 1990 to $22.6 billion in 2017.

Total employment in Brazos County was 58,306 in 1990, according to the Texas A&M Real Estate Center. By 2018, that number increased 95 percent to 113,563.

The Brazos Valley is rated among the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the nation. Regional economic ties are so close in the region that the U.S. government added neighboring Burleson and Robertson Counties to the College Station-Bryan Metropolitan Statistical Area in the 2000 Census process.

Likely the biggest driver of the Brazos County and Brazos Valley growth is one of the world’s leading institutions, Texas A&M University. It had an enrollment in 1989’s fall semester of 40,492. That same year, A&M earned space-grant status to go along with its land- and sea-grant designations. Today, it is one of just 17 institutions in the nation to hold all three.

A&M would cross the 50,000-enrollment mark in 2012, and this decade has seen a major expansion. The university enrolled 69,228 for the Fall 2018 semester, up 71 percent since 1989. While some of those students are located on branch campuses like Galveston and Qatar, the vast majority call the Brazos Valley home.

The Blinn College District, among the nation’s leading two-year colleges in transferring students to four-year universities, also saw major enrollment increases. For the Fall 1989 semester, Blinn enrolled a total of 6,471 on its Brazos County and Brenham campuses. For Fall 2018 in Brazos County alone, 10,170 students attended classes through the main Bryan campus. Another 1,515 were educated in Blinn’s portion of the recently-created Texas A&M System RELLIS Campus, another major advancement for a community built upon research, education and workforce training.

One of our region’s most significant attractions didn’t exist in 1989 because George H.W. Bush was a resident of the White House at the time. Eight years later, the campus of Texas A&M would become home to the 41st president’s library and museum, along with the Bush School of Government and Public Service. President and Mrs. Bush’s decision to present their lives to the world from the Brazos Valley added a unique prestige to the region and has brought a wide range of world and national leaders, experts, celebrities and athletes to visit.

Positioned in the Hub of the Texas Triangle in a state where people and companies are flocking, the BVEDC and its partners remain committed to helping the Brazos Valley grow in smart and responsible ways that will benefit those who choose to call this place home.