Texas Public Radio news director Shelley Kofler has spent the past week on the impacts of population growth. TPR staff visited Fredericksburg and Bexar County, as well as middle-income and historic neighborhoods in San Antonio. She shared with the Standard some of the newsroom conversations she and her staff had that led to the “Growing Pains” series.
“A lot of this started just with us sharing our personal experiences in the newsroom,” Kofler says. “And then we checked it out, and we looked at the data, and we said ‘We have some real serious challenges here.'”
After looking at the numbers, Kofler and her team discovered disparities in median income growth and the rising cost of housing in San Antonio.
“The median price of a home in San Antonio has gone up 40 percent over 10 years,” she says. “Median income is almost flat. So, what someone could afford 10 years ago, they can’t afford now.”
She notes that while these numbers are for San Antonio specifically, they reflect trends in other Texas cities. Kofler says as the population grows, housing will become even more complicated, and crowded.
“But I think over time, with the income projections for our state, this is going to be a growing challenge,” Kofler says. “And it’s one we’re going to have to address in many ways. How will we, as cities and communities, create the housing stock that’s needed for all of our inhabitants?”
Listen to the full interview in the audio player above.