The growth of U.S. Latino population is no secret, but one need only peek at Texas to get a kaleidoscopic glimpse of America’s future.
Texas is one of the country’s fastest growing states and is home to the country’s most ethnically diverse city, Houston. When compared to other states with large Latino populations, the Lone Star state is the fastest growing [4.2 million new residents from 2000 to 2010].
Here are four things you need to know about Texas’ growth and what it means for the rest of the country:
Latinos are largest contributors to growth
Sixty-five percent of Texas’ population boom is due to Latino growth. Job opportunities and low cost of living placed Houston as Forbes best city for career growth.
Illegal Immigration NOT contributing factor to Latino growth
Texas state demographer Lloyd Potter recently told NPR that illegal immigration is only a small percentage of growth, adding that growth comes from Latinos moving into Texas from other states. “It really is largely being driven by natural increase. That’s births minus deaths. From a population perspective, we would describe it as a young population. There are more people who are younger in that population.
Getting Younger and Influencing Politics
The young Latino population already is a significant influence on the conversation in Texas, and that’s become more so nationwide.
With baby the boomer gap, each age group is becoming younger, and there are more and more kids. As those kids age into the labor force and voting age, they could have a very significant influence on election outcomes. Red states could soon turn blue.
More Growth Less Segregation
Prepare for no more “majority groups.” Michael Emerson, a Rice University Sociologist, formed part of the research team that put together the 2012 analysis that gave Houston the title of most diverse metropolitan area in America. In a recent report, Emerson told NPR “If you look at the four major ethnic groups — Anglo, black, Asian and Latino — all have substantial numbers in Houston, with no one group dominating. It comes closer to having an equal balance of each group than you would find in New York or Los Angeles.”
“Houston runs about 10, 15 years ahead of Texas, 30 years ahead of the U.S., in terms of ethnic diversity and immigration flows,” Emerson says. “So it is fundamentally transformed in a way that all of America shall transform.”
By Being Latino Contributor, Ariana Montelongo de Valdivia. Ariana is a graduate of the University of Houston and has worked in Public Relations with the American Heart Association, LifeGift Organ Donation Center, Edelman Public Relations and currently hosts two TV shows on HMS TV (Houston MediaSource).Ariana can be followed on Twitter @AriMontelongo.