Texas still tends to think of itself as a rural state. But more than three quarters of Texans live in urban areas.
Since World War II, Texas has urbanized rapidly. And in recent years, cities like Austin have experienced explosive growth. That’s led to problems with traffic, housing supplies and affordability in general.
But what do urbanization and fast-growing cities mean for the small towns in Texas?
“That has a significant set of struggles for small towns,” says Bennett Sandlin, executive director of the Texas Municipal League. “They have to deal with that, they have to appear attractive to the young, urban professional. How do they adjust to that new reality and not just fade away?”
To find out, KUT News went to five small towns (mostly) in Central Texas to find out how small towns are changing, what people there see as their biggest challenges – and why small towns are still a vibrant part of living in Texas.
Reporters for this series are Kate McGee, Joy Diaz, Ben Philpott, Veronica Zaragovia and Mose Buchele. Jennifer Stayton provided assistance with Q&As. Photovideographers are Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, Ilana Panich-Linsman, and Miguel Gutierrez Jr. Web editing and production by Andrew Weber and Emilie Mutert. Matt Largey is the series editor.