Population growth in Texas eclipses national rate

By David Mildenberg
Friday, February 18, 2011

The influx of Hispanics in Texas helped make Austin a minority-majority city for the first time and boosted San Antonio past Dallas as the state's second-biggest metropolis, Census Bureau figures released Thursday show.

The percentage of non-Hispanic whites in Texas declined to 45.3 percent, from 52.4 percent in 2000, while Hispanics rose to 37.6 percent from 32 percent, the data show. Texas's population grew by 20.6 percent, to 25,145,561 last year, from 2000 - more than twice the 9.7 percent national rate of increase.

"There is a lot of Hispanic growth throughout Texas, although a lot of the suburbs in Dallas continue to be very white," said William Frey, a demographer and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

The growth will give Texas 36 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, up from 32 - the largest gain of any state - starting with the 2012 congressional election cycle.

Austin's population surged 20.4 percent since 2000, with minority population climbing to 405,119 and non-Hispanic whites totaling 385,271. The number of Hispanics in Austin jumped 38.5 percent to 277,707, the data show.

Houston remained the state's biggest city, with a 7.5 percent increase to 2,099,451. San Antonio's population grew 16 percent to 1,327,407, while Dallas gained 0.8 percent to 1,197,816, according to the census.

Austin is the fourth-largest city, while Fort Worth, with 741,206 people, and El Paso, with 649,121, ranked next in population.

The number of state residents 18 and younger grew by about 1 million over the decade, Frey noted, adding, "Lots of babies and kids translates into lots of services that states need to provide."

Hispanics account for about half of the state residents 18 and younger, Frey said.

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