AUSTIN, Texas -- State leaders like to brag about Texas' fast growing economy and low unemployment. But rarely do they mention the high poverty rate.
The unemployment rate and the creation of new jobs are the statistics most often cited by Gov. Rick Perry to brag on Texas, and unemployment is among the lowest in the country at 6.2%. That's well below the national average of 7.7%.
Employment, though, is not the only measure of economic prosperity. There is the question of quality of life.
The number of Texans living in poverty rose for a third consecutive year in 2011, adding more than 214,000 people to total 4.6 million. According to the U.S. Census Bureau that's 18.5% of the population, 3% higher than the nation as a whole.
Chris Tomlinson is the AP's supervisory correspondent in Austin, responsible for state government and political reporting.