AUSTIN, Texas (KXAN) — The United States Census Bureau estimates there will be more Hispanic people living in Texas than non-Hispanic White people in the next three years, if birth and immigration rates continue.
In the newest update from the Census — tracking people from July 2017 to July 2018 — the Hispanic population grew nearly nine times faster than the White population of the state.
The population growth is split fairly evenly between new births and both domestic and international immigration. According to the data, out of the 379,128 people who moved to Texas, 190,951 came from a natural increase, which means more people being born than dying; 104,976 came to Texas from another country; and 82,569 came from another state within the United States.
“Texas offers a relative more affordable cost of living. This attracts many young people and young families in historically more established, and more expensive, metros in states like CA, NY, and IL as well as neighboring states. Corporations are looking for a young, diverse workforce. Texas offers this too,” said senior demographer at the University of San Antonio’s Texas Demographic Center, Dr. Lila Valencia.
According to a breakdown of the numbers from KXAN’s media partners at the Texas Tribune, the Hispanic population grew to 11.4 million, only around 0.5 million less than the White population. Less than 25,000 new White people call Texas home while nearly 215,000 new Hispanics call Texas home.
While Hispanics led in pure numbers, the fastest growing population of the state is Asian, which grew a whopping 49% since 2010, according to the Texas Tribune breakdown. Since 2010 respectively, Hispanics grew 20%, African-Americans grew 19% and Whites grew only 4%.
“Migration to Texas helps to keep the state young. Migrants are typical of younger working age,” said Dr. Valencia, “They tend to be younger people or younger families who will grow their families or start families as they settle in Texas. This fertility helps to keep the state relatively young.”
Why do demographics matter?
Demographic changes often lead to political battles. The state’s rapid growth will be a focal point of the next official count during the 2020 Census and the political fight over drawing legislative boundaries, known as redistricting, in the 2021 session. President Trump’s administration currently is trying to add a citizenship question to the next census. Hispanic legal advocates are challenging that effort in court, arguing it would lead to an under-count as people in the country illegally would shy away from Census workers.
The redistricting fight will also be filled with racial tension. Liberal and voting rights groups launched a near-decade-long effort to redraw legislative maps Republicans drew in 2011 after the last U.S. Census, arguing White Republicans diluted power from Hispanic and African-American Democrats when they decided who votes for who. The relative narrow partisan margin of the Texas House, with only nine seats separating Democrats from Republicans, will add fuel to any political fire set by the new Census.