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El Paso, TX
El Paso
MSA: El Paso, TX
Best places ranking: #17 among midsize metro areas
Population: 742,062
The sixth-largest city in Texas, El Paso is far from the dusty border town portrayed in Wild Western folklore. Located where Texas, New Mexico and Mexico meet, this city is the center of about $20 billion in trade activity each year between Mexico and the United States.

El Paso is a crowded and busy metropolis that, to the eye, seems to mesh right into its Mexican neighbor, Juarez. The reasonable cost of living, affordable real estate and predominantly blue-collar workforce make the city a cheap place to start a business, despite high property taxes, locals say.

Only the border wall and the Rio Grande separate El Paso from Juarez, and the cities benefit mutually from each other's residents. Local retailers and the entertainment and arts scene flourish on weekends, when shoppers from Mexico flood El Paso on day trips. Being bilingual in both English and Spanish is an asset for local business owners. Locals enjoy a warm, sunny climate and thriving Latino culinary and arts scene.

Although El Paso is not typically known for harboring a highly educated workforce, the University of Texas at El Paso is a dominant feature in the community and actively serves as an incubator of many small businesses - especially in technology field. The university's 20,000 students infuse the city with a youthful vibe. -Annalyn Censky

Launch Toolbox:
Resources for getting started in El Paso, TX


Local smallbiz lenders

  • United Bk - El Paso Del Norte
  • Bank Of The West
  • Innovative Bank
  • Gecu
  • Superior Financial Group
See all local lenders

El Paso Business Statistics
Employer establishments with 1-49 employees
12,488 11,214
Small business growth rate
5.4% 5.0%
State business tax climate ranking
(out of 50 states)
7 N/A
Percentage of population with bachelor's degree
(ages 25-34)
18% 26.9%
Violent crime
(rate per 100,000 inhabitants, 2007)
400.3 478.8
Property crime
(rate per 100,000 inhabitants, 2007)
3,079.5 3,562.2
Population growth
6.7% 5.73%
Per-capita income
$26,585 $35,547
Per-capita income growth
29% 24.0%
GDP (in millions)
$23,563 $18,559
GDP growth
34% 32%
Average hourly wage
$15.74 $18.69
Housing foreclosure rate
(first half of 2009, 1 per every X housing units)
244 286
Median rent
(2009, for a 2-bedroom housing unit)
$635 $848
Housing price-to-income (HPI) ratio
(first quarter of 2009)
1.5% 1.9%
Long-term HPI ratio
(20-year average, 1984-2004)
1.6% 1.8%
HPI deviation from long-term average
-7.6% 0.0%

All statistics are for the full Metropolitan Statistical Area. For a complete list of data sources, see "How we picked the Best Places."

From the November 2009 issue
"El Paso was the perfect location for my startup. Living in a Texas border town brings unique advantages. " -Cindy Tollen
Best Places Winners
What do you think of El Paso?
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Do you prefer a place that is: Small Medium Large
The factors that matter most to me are:
 Affordable wages  Few foreclosures
 Educated workers  Low housing costs
 Low crime  High local incomes
 A growing economy  Population growth
 Growing small business population

ireportTell us why: Low taxes? Talented workers? An active small business community? Send us your photos and videos, and you could be featured in our upcoming coverage of reader-picked Best Places to Launch. More
This year we partnered with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation to find the 50 most business-friendly communities in America.

With help from Robert Fairlie, an economist and leading scholar of entrepreneurship at the University of California, Santa Cruz, we developed a methodology and sifted through such data on factors such as per capita income, hourly wages, workforce quality, crime rates, taxes and foreclosures. More

Comments? E-mail the editors
Data partners

This package was produced in partnership with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

Foreclosure data provided by RealtyTrac.

Housing price-to-income data provided by Moody's