Justyna Furmanczyk, Texas Tribune

Texas Hispanics behind half of state’s growth since 2010

Hispanics are behind a large portion of the state’s growth since 2010, according to population estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

by Alexa Ura, The Texas Tribune

The state’s population is still booming, and Hispanic Texans are driving a large portion of that growth.

New population estimates released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau show that just over half of Texas’ population increase since 2010 can be attributed to a rapidly growing Hispanic community and its expanding presence in nearly every corner of the state.

As of July 2016, the Texas population nearly reached 27.9 million — up from 25.1 million in 2010. More than 1.4 million of that 2.7 million increase was among Hispanic Texans. Meanwhile, the white population only increased by about 444,000 people.

Put another way: Since 2010, Texas has gained more than three times as many Hispanic residents than whites.

White Texans remain the largest demographic group in the state, making up almost 43 percent of the population. But their growth rate since 2010 is easily trumped by growth among Texans of color.

Asians make up a small share of the state’s population — almost 5 percent — but the Asian community in Texas is growing rapidly. In recent years, demographers identified new immigration patterns to the state that are driven by an increase in the rate of immigrants moving here from Asia.

The black community continues to grow in Texas, but their share of the population has remained mostly unchanged, hovering just below 12 percent. Meanwhile, white Texans’ share of the state’s population has continued to drop since 2010 as Hispanics’ share has increased, reaching 39 percent in 2016.

This growth is also reflected at the county level where Hispanics’ share of the population has increased in all but 11 counties since 2010. Meanwhile, whites’ share of the population has dropped in all but a handful of Texas counties.

The estimated population growth among Texans of color, particularly Hispanics, sets up the state to face significant political and economic repercussions in the coming years.

The rapid growth among Hispanics and Asians comes as the state is inching toward its next redistricting cycle when, after the 2020 census, state lawmakers will be required to rejigger boundaries for congressional and legislative districts in response to population growth.

The growing diversity in the state, particularly among younger Texans, will also play into the development of the future workforce. A large majority of the youngest Texans are people of color who also make up most of the student population in the state’s public schools.

But the educational achievement gap between students of color and white students persists. Demographers have warned that the state’s failure to close those gaps could hurt the competitiveness of the state’s workforce as those students become of age.

Nationally, Texas is also leading in terms of Hispanic growth even among states with the biggest Hispanic communities.

While California still easily bests Texas for the largest Hispanic population in the country, Texas had the largest numeric increase among Hispanics since the last census. That trend also held from 2015 to 2016, when Texas gained the most Hispanics — 233,100 residents — compared to 176,198 in California.

Home to Houston, Harris County gained more Hispanic residents — 39,600 — than any other county in the country.

Unsurprisingly, Texas was also home to counties with some of the highest shares of Hispanic residents. Starr County in the Rio Grande Valley had the highest Hispanic share of the population — 96.3 percent — in the country.

The Texas Tribune is a nonpartisan, nonprofit media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.