Almost 400,000 more people this year are calling Texas home, bringing the state’s total population to more than 28 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Texas, which continues to be the second most-populous state behind California, was first in terms of the increase in sheer number of people. In terms of percentage growth, Texas grew by 1.4 percent, making it the seventh fastest-growing state in the country. Idaho is the fastest-growing state at 2.2 percent.
Texas has come a long way, having been home to just more than 25 million people in 2010.
State demographer Lloyd Potter explained to the American-Statesman via email what’s happening in Texas.
American-Statesman: 400,000. That’s a lot of new people. What’s spurring the population growth?
Potter: About half (52 percent) is natural (more births than deaths) increase, the other half is from net migration. For net migration, international migration accounted for almost 28 percent of the 400,000 and domestic migration (from other states) accounted for almost 20 percent.
Why are so many people moving to Texas?
Much of the domestic migration to Texas is largely because of employment opportunities. Domestic migration is down from previous years (approximately 42,000 this past year and over approximately 174,000 in 2015). That is possibly due to fewer jobs being created but may be also the result of more of the jobs being created in Texas being filled by Texas (versus importing labor).
What does a natural increase in population mean? What does it look like?
Births minus deaths over a period of time (usually one year). For the time between the 2016 estimate and the 2017 (estimate), there were almost 195,000 deaths, which was more than offset by over 404,000 births.
Where in Texas are we seeing population booms? What groups of people spur this growth?
The data released is for all of Texas, so no local data. However, we do know that points of the population triangle (San Antonio/Austin, Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston) and areas in between are all growing faster than other parts of the state. Growth from natural increase is most significant among Latinos, growth from immigration (international) is largely from Latin American and Asian countries (Asian immigration has been growing quickly in recent years while Latin American has slowed) and in recent years the larger-sending states for domestic migrants are California, New York, Louisiana and Illinois.
On that note, what do the people of Texas look like now? Where are they from and what are their backgrounds? How has that changed, and what do you expect to see in the years to come?
Texas will continue to diversify with more Latinos and persons of Asian descent. The African-American population will grow slightly and the non-Hispanic white population will be pretty stable until the baby boom-aged population moves into high mortality years, at which point we will likely see declines.
Can the state handle a growing population? What needs and services does the state need to be cognizant of as the population grows?
Transportation, housing, water, power and schools tend to be a challenge for fast-growing areas because these infrastructure investments take time to plan, finance and build.
What might Texas’ population look like around the 2020 census?
We likely will continue to grow as we have been, though the past few years suggest this may be at a slightly slower pace than last decade.
What could that mean for congressional representation?
It seems Texas is on track to receive additional congressional seats as some states are losing population and Texas is gaining more than all others.