By the end of this section, you will be able to:
- Discuss how the demographic changes Texas is undergoing influences its government, public policy, and the challenges it faces today
Texas is the second most populous U.S. state, second only to California. In recent decades, it has experienced strong population growth. Texas has many major cities and metropolitan areas, along with many towns and rural areas. Much of the population is in the major cities of Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, and El Paso. Three Texas cities (Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio) are among the nation's top 10 in population, and Austin is just outside the top 10 at number 11.
The United States Census Bureau estimates the population of Texas was 28,995,881 on July 1, 2019, a 15.31 percent increase since the 2010 United States Census. The 2010 US Census recorded Texas as having a population of
25.1 million—an increase of 4.3 million since the year 2000, involving an increase in population in all three subcategories of population growth: natural increase (births minus deaths), net immigration, and net migration. The state passed New York in the 1990s to become the second-largest U.S. state in population, after California.
Texas’ population growth between 2000 and 2010 represents the highest population increase, by number of people, for any U.S. state during this time period. The state has a bigger population than that of Australia.
As of 2015, Texas had 4.7 million foreign-born residents, about 17% of the population and 21.6% of the state workforce. The major countries of origin for Texan immigrants were Mexico (55.1% of immigrants), India (5%), El Salvador (4.3%), Vietnam (3.7%), and China (2.3%). Of immigrant residents, some 35.8 percent were naturalized U.S. citizens. In 2014, there were an estimated 1.7 million undocumented immigrants in Texas, making up 35% of the total Texas immigrant population and 6.1% of the total state population. In addition to the state's foreign-born population, an additional 4.1 million Texans (15% of the stats's population) were born in the United States and had at least one immigrant parent.
U.S. Census data from 2010 indicate that 7.7% of Texas’ population is under 5 years old, 27.3% is under 18, and 10.3% is aged 65 and older. Females make up 50.4% of the population.
Texas expects to record another decade of population growth in the 2020 Census.
You Might Be Wondering...
Texas is growing at a rate of 1,000 people per day, and for the second year in a row, most of the people who moved to the state came from other countries in 2018. And the biggest growth in international migration isn't from Latin America.
Find out more from Texplainer at the Texas Tribune.
As of the 2010 US Census, the racial distribution in Texas was as follows: 70.4% of the population of Texas was White American; 11.8% African American; 3.8%, Asian American; 0.7%, American Indian; 0.1%, native Hawaiian or Pacific islander only; 10.5% of the population were of some other race only; and 2.7% were of two or more races. Hispanics (of any race) were 37.6% of the population of the state, while Non-Hispanic Whites composed 45.3%. English Americans predominate in eastern, central, and northern Texas; German Americans, in central and western Texas. African Americans, who historically made up one-third of the state population, are concentrated in parts of northern, eastern and east central Texas as well as in the Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio and Houston metropolitan areas.
As in other Southern states settled largely in the 19th century, the vast majority have European ancestry: Irish, English and German. Texas includes a diverse set of European ancestries, due both to historical patterns of settlement as well as contemporary dynamics. Frontier Texas saw settlements of Germans, particularly in Fredericksburg and New Braunfels. Many Romanians, Dutch, Germans from Switzerland and Austria, Poles, Russians, Swedes, Norwegians, Czechs, Slovaks, Italians, and French immigrated at least in part because of the European revolutions of 1848. This immigration continued until World War I and the 1920s. The influence of these diverse European immigrants survives in the town names, architectural styles, music, and cuisine in Texas.
As of 2010, 37% of Texas residents had Hispanic ancestry; these include recent immigrants from Mexico, Central America, and South America, as well as Tejanos, whose ancestors have lived in Texas as early as the 1700s. Tejanos are the largest ancestry group in southern Duval County and amongst the largest in and around Bexar County, including San Antonio, where over one million Hispanics live. The state has the second largest Hispanic population in the United States, behind California.
Hispanics dominate southern, south-central, and western Texas and form a significant portion of the residents in the cities of Dallas, Houston, and Austin. The Hispanic population contributes to Texas having a younger population than the American average, because Hispanic births have outnumbered non-Hispanic white births since the early 1990s. In 2007, for the first time since the early nineteenth century, Hispanics accounted for more than half of all births (50.2%), while non-Hispanic whites accounted for just 34%.
In 2016 the state had 59,115 persons of Cuban origin. 6,157 of them lived in Travis County.
Texas has one of the largest African-American populations in the country. African Americans are concentrated in northern, eastern and east-central Texas as well as the Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio metropolitan areas. African Americans form 24% of both the cities of Dallas and Houston, 19% of Fort Worth, 8.1% of Austin, and 6.9% of San Antonio. They form a majority in sections of eastern San Antonio, southern Dallas, eastern Fort Worth, and southern Houston. A strong labor market between 1995 and 2000 contributed to Texas being one of three states in the South receiving the highest numbers of black college graduates in a New Great Migration.
In recent years, the Asian American population in Texas has grown, especially in west Houston, Fort Bend County southwest of Houston, the western and northern suburbs of Dallas, and Arlington near Fort Worth. Vietnamese Americans, South Asian Americans, Chinese Americans, Filipino Americans, Korean Americans, and Japanese Americans make up the largest Asian American groups in Texas. The Gulf Coast also has large numbers of Asian Americans, because the shrimp fishing industry attracted tens of thousands of Vietnamese, Filipinos, and Chinese from the coast of the South China Sea in the late 1970s and 1980s
References and Resources
Texas Population 2017 Archived 2017-01-21 at the Wayback Machine. World Population Review
"United State Census Bureau". 2008-2012 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates. Archived from the original on 2014-08-15. Retrieved Feb 28, 2014.
"Pew Research Center". Archived from the original on 2014- 02-21. Retrieved Feb 28, 2014.
Bagden, Samantha. "Cubans in Texas see some hope in new relations" (Archive) Austin American-Statesman. Monday, January 18, 2016. Retrieved on January 19, 2016.
William H. Frey, "The New Great Migration: Black Americans' Return to the South, 1965-2000", May 2004, The Brookings Institution, p.1 Archived April 28, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.