The Denominator: Incomes, Poverty Rates, Co-Working Space and Charters Grow

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A convenience store along East Commerce Street will be shuttered and razed.

Scott Ball / Rivard Report

National data shows San Antonio's poverty rates second among the most populous cities in the United States.

The Denominator is a weekly brief of significant numbers underlying our latest news stories.

San Antonio Second in Nation for Poverty, After Detroit

14.5 is the percent of people living in poverty in 2017 in San Antonio, according to the latest U.S. Census data. The data shows San Antonio's poverty rate ranks second among the top 25 most populous cities in the U.S., after Detroit.

The Bureau defines the poverty rate as the percentage of people with annual incomes below certain thresholds that vary by family size. In 2017, the poverty threshold for a family of four was $25,283.

On Thursday, City Council voted to approve a $2.8 billion budget for fiscal year 2019 that included wage increases for City employees to $15 per hour. Bexar County commissioners also approved the same wage for County employees earlier this month. A person working a 40-hour workweek at $15 an hour would make an annual income of $31,200 according to the City, putting them more than $5,000 above the poverty threshold.

Slow But Steady Wins the Race?

$50,044 is the median household income in 2017 in San Antonio, the latest U.S. census data shows. The median income is the first time San Antonio crosses the $50,000 mark, and represents an increase of 1.6 percent from a median income of $49,268 in 2016.

San Antonio’s median income fell behind other major Texas cities such as Houston ($50,896), Dallas ($50,627), and Austin ($67,755). State and county incomes also were higher. Bexar County’s median income hit $54,175 from $53,210 in 2016, and median incomes for the state were $59,206, which was up 4.5 percent from $56,565. 

The development comes while the city watches a string of similar choices by industry leaders to choose Austin over San Antonio for industry headquarters. Meanwhile, Mayor Nirenberg announced at the State of the City address in April that he expected to create 70,000 jobs in San Antonio over the next two years.

WeWork Coming to Town

$4.9 million is the value of the historic Kress Building at 315 E. Houston St., which will be the new satellite of WeWork, a national co-working company.

WeWork operates co-working spaces in 24 U.S. cities, and has 250,000 members across 300 international locations. The space in San Antonio will be able to accommodate more than 1,100 members, according to a spokesperson for the company.

The new space will be located two blocks away local co-working space Geekdom, at the Rand Building. Geekdom was one of the earliest flags planted in the city's growing Tech District, which took root five years ago when many historic, vacant, and underutilized buildings were redeveloped.

Charter Districts Grow with Fresh Funds

16,000 is the number of students on the waitlist in San Antonio for the growing IDEA Public Schools and KIPP Texas charter school networks. Major philanthropic contributions from local donors will fund the networks' growth, including a recent $1.5 million donation from Michael and Louise Burke, and a $1 million donation from Harvey Najim.

Local officials expect a rapid expansion of the charter networks. But as they continue to grow, charter schools will likely will face continued scrutiny over public school students opting to leave traditional school districts.

Food Trucks Finally Have a Place to Park

200 is the estimated number of food trucks in San Antonio according to Dakota Day, the owner of a new food truck park StreetFareSA, which opened last week. According to Day, there are hundreds of trucks, but only a handful of parks. The gap inspired Day to open a new food truck park location.

The park, which opened Friday at 1916 Austin Highway, will feature a rotating selection of food trucks from around the city, a semi-enclosed pavilion, picnic area, beer pong table, and a playground.

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