The population of Texas more than doubled in size over the past 50 years from a population of just over 11 million in 1970, to over 25 million by 2010. By 2013 its population was estimated to be 26.4 million – seven times larger than a century ago. Texas is the second largest state (behind California at over 37 million in 2010) and had the largest population increase of any state from both 2000-2010, an increase of nearly 4.3 million, compared to California’s growth of 3.4 million. During the period from April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2013, it increased by 1.3 million, compared to 1.1 million in California. Texas is a large, rapidly growing sta
The Growing Diverse Population
Texas population growth also reflects increasing racial/ethnic diversity. From 2000 to 2010, Texas population increased by over 4.2 million with 10.8 percent being due to an increase in the non-Hispanic White population, 65.0 percent to Hispanic, 12.2 percent to non-Hispanic Black and 12.0 percent was due to growth in Asian and Other non-Hispanic populations. Thus, 89 percent of all population growth in the state was due to minority populations and, by 2010 Texas was a majority minority state.
Indicative of likely future trends is the fact that from 2000 to 2010, the number of non-Hispanic White children decreased by more than 184,000, while the number of Hispanic children increased by 931,000. Although not as diverse as Texas, the United States is showing similar patterns with only 8.3 percent of the total growth of 27.3 million from 2000 to 2010 being due to non-Hispanic White, while 55.5 percent was due to Hispanic, 13.7 percent to non-Hispanic Black and 22.5 percent was due to non-Hispanic Asian and Other populations. Although nearly 64 percent of all persons in the United States were non-Hispanic White in 2010, the future is again evident in that the number of non-Hispanic White children decreased by 4.3 million from 2000 to 2010 while the number of minority children increased by nearly 6.2 million.
Projections suggest that such patterns will continue. The most recent projections for Texas indicate that it will have a population of 55 million in 2050 with 21.8 percent of the population being non-Hispanic White, 9.4 percent non-Hispanic Black, 55.6 percent Hispanic and 13.2 percent non-Hispanic Asian and Other. Although the patterns of increasing diversity are less pronounced nationally, by 2060, 42.6 percent of its projected total population of 420 million (compared to 63.8 percent in 2010), will be non-Hispanic White while 30.6 percent will also be Hispanic, 13.2 percent non-Hispanic Black, and 13.6 percent will be non-Hispanic Asians and Other.
Given these patterns of change, racial and ethnic differences in socioeconomic characteristics are particularly important. Due to a variety of historical, discriminatory and other factors, there are substantial income and poverty differentials between Texas racial/ethnic groups. At the state level median household income for non-Hispanic White households in 2010 was $59,517 but it was $37,087 for Hispanics and $35,674 for non-Hispanic Blacks; and, while 9.5 percent of non-Hispanic White households lived in poverty 26.8 percent of Hispanic and 24.7 percent of non-Hispanic Blacks lived in poverty. These patterns are increasingly pervasive across regions and metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas in Texas and across the nation.
Education & Socioeconomic Impact
Equally problematic is the fact that education differentials, which are among the best predictors of long-term socioeconomic success, are substantial between non-Hispanic White and other racial/ethnic groups. National data from the U.S. Department of Labor for 2013 show that the median weekly earnings for a person with a grade school level of education was $457, but $1,189 per week for workers with a bachelor’s degree or higher level of education. In 2010, only 11.6 percent of Hispanics and 19.7 percent of non-Hispanic Blacks 25 years of age or older in Texas had a bachelor’s or higher level of education compared to 34.1 percent of non-Hispanic Whites, while 40.4 percent of Hispanics and 14 percent of non-Hispanic Blacks had less than a high school education compared to eight percent of non-Hispanic Whites. This indicates that if we do not change the socioeconomic characteristics that currently characterize Texas (and the nation’s) fast growing minority populations, we are likely to change not only our demographic but our socioeconomic future as well.
In fact, recent analyses completed by us (and our coauthors) and reported in Changing Texas: Implications of Addressing or Ignoring the Texas Challenge (Texas A&M University Press, 2014), suggest just how important closing the educational and socioeconomic gaps between minority and majority populations are for the socioeconomic future of the State. For example, such analyses suggests that without closure, the median household income of Texas would decline from $66,333 per household in 2010 to $58,574 in 2050 (in 2010 constant dollars) but if there was closure among socioeconomic differentials for minorities to projected non-Hispanic White levels, the state level median household income for 2050 would be $131,916. Similarly, mean consumer expenditure levels that were $49,165 in 2010 could decrease to $45,081 by 2050 without closure but increase to $89,332 with complete closure to non-Hispanic White levels. The percent of persons in poverty was 17.8 percent in 2010 but could be 20.9 percent in 2050 without closure but 11.9 percent with complete closure. Improved socioeconomic resources for minority population are important both for these populations and for the state as a whole.
In sum, it is clear that Texas population is growing, and that such growth is primarily among minority population groups with lower levels of educational attainment and socioeconomic resources. Texas future will be increasingly tied to its minority populations, and if Texas cannot change the current relationships between minority status and socioeconomic resources in its population through increased education and other factors, Texas will be poorer and less competitive in the future than it is today. If this challenge is met and such differentials are decreased, Texas population will be wealthier and Texas will be more competitive in the future than it is today.
Steve H. Murdock is Director and Michael E. Cline is Associate Director of the Hobby Center for the Study of Texas at Rice University.
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