The city of Abilene lives and breathes community and Christ. With more churches per capita than any other city, there’s no wonder that the town we call home is full of faith-centered families and businesses, but that’s not all. Abilene has the only zoo in Texas west of Dallas and east of El Paso. Country music thrives in our Christian community, and the dramatic arts are not far behind. Forbes even ranked Abilene as one of the top 25 places to retire in the nation. Even though Abilene has a low cost of living and plenty of room to expand, we have not grown into the “city” that we should be.
If we look to the town of Midland, which was ranked the number one city in America for startups by Forbes, we see a thriving economy and population. The oil boom has completely transformed this west Texas town, and it seems it’s only continuing to grow. The population of Midland is only slightly more than Abilene’s, but the economy, stemming from immense energy industrialization, has left Midland the go-to destination for small businesses hoping to expand. Anybody who has lived in Abilene and driven through Midland would agree that Abilene feels like the community that more people would like to be a part of.
We are home to more than three college campuses and a military base, which may be what is keeping Abilene from becoming an economic hotspot. Many of the students who graduate from Abilene colleges will move away for work and then maybe return when they are ready to start families or retire. While Abilene has an abundance of good food and great community activities, we do not have the economy to draw in aspiring young entrepreneurs like Midland does. Our economy is geared towards family-friendly attractions like museums, historic theatres and the dramatic arts, while the entire economy of Midland lives off of oil and natural gas.
Abilene has all the potential to become a city in which businesses and people flourish, but we simply do not have the economy that towns like Midland have. Abilene is a town where families can feel safe and express their love in a Christian community. Midland might be a wonderful place to live, but nowhere can compare to the little piece of paradise that we call home.