Home New mexico economy Hispanics have become the majority group in Texas. Now what?

Hispanics have become the majority group in Texas. Now what?


Hispanics are the largest immigrant group in the United States.

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For the first time, Hispanics are the largest demographic group in Texas, and a Texas A&M University professor says now more than ever it’s time for state leaders to develop programs and set aside funds to address socio-economic disparities.

According to new racial/ethnic data released by the US Census Bureau last month, Hispanics are estimated to make up 40.2% of Texas’ population, compared to 39.4% for whites. Whites are defined in the data as people who identify as white and not as Hispanic. Hispanics are people who identify as Hispanic and can be of any race.

State leaders “must realize that Hispanics are the future — indeed the destiny — of Texas, said Dudley L. Poston, professor emeritus of sociology at Texas A&M and an internationally renowned demographics expert. “If we want Texas and the Texas economy and society to continue to grow and prosper in the years to come, our Republican leaders must provide the programs and funding necessary to improve the human capital of Hispanic Texans.”

Poston said Hispanics will likely comprise more than half of Texas’ population several decades from now; Hispanic children in Texas already make up half of all children in the state today.

But Hispanics in Texas lag far behind whites educationally and economically, he said, citing a Texas Tribune analysis of American Community Service (ACS) data from 2021 that shows Hispanic Texans are disproportionately poorer than white Texans. Hispanics are twice as likely as whites to live at or below the poverty line. Additionally, new data from the ACS shows a significant difference in median household incomes for whites compared to Hispanics. White households in Texas have a median income of $81,384, compared to a median Hispanic household income of $54,857.

There are also significant differences between the two groups when it comes to education, with ACS data showing that 95% of white Texans have completed at least four years of high school, compared to just 70% of Hispanic Texans. And 42% of white Texans have a college degree compared to just 18% of Hispanics.

In March of this year, Texas A&M announced its designation as an eligible institution by the United States Department of Education to be a Hispanic-serving institution. For HSI designation, at least 25% of an institution’s undergraduate enrollment must be of Hispanic identification.

How does Texas compare to the nation as a whole?

The United States is overwhelmingly white – at 58.1%, white people are the largest racial/ethnic group in the country and constitute the majority. But Texas is a “majority-minority” state, which means that no group constitutes the majority.

Hispanic Race/Origin Texas % United States % Non-Hispanic White 39.4 58.1 Black 11.6 11.8 AI/AN* 0.2 0.5 Asian 5.1 5.7 Two or more races 3.1 4.3 Other race 0.4 0.8 Hispanic 40.2 18.8 TOTAL 100.0 100.0 * Native American and Alaska Native SOURCE: American Community Survey, 2021

Texas is currently one of seven US states where whites do not constitute the majority. Besides Texas, Hispanics outnumber whites in California (40.2% vs. 34.3%) and New Mexico (50.1% vs. 34.9%). In Hawaii, Asians outnumber whites, and in the District of Columbia, blacks outnumber whites. In Maryland and Nevada, whites make up a larger share of the population than any other group, but they don’t hold a majority. There are seven other states (Georgia, Florida, Arizona, New York, New Jersey, Mississippi, and Louisiana) where whites make up more than 50% but less than 60% of the population. The states that lose their white majority over the next few decades will come from this group, Poston said.

Why has the size of the Hispanic population increased while the white population has decreased?

Poston said white women had fewer babies than Hispanic women. White women today have an average of 1.5 babies each in their lifetime, while Hispanics have an average of 1.9. But as recently as 1990, the Hispanic-white fertility difference was larger, white women at 1.9 babies each, compared to Hispanic women at 3.0.

There are also big differences in the age structure, Poston said. As recently as 2019, the median age for whites in the United States was 43.7, compared to 29.8 for Hispanics. Far more Hispanics are of childbearing age than white women. Hispanics also have lower death rates than whites.

Immigration is also a factor as far more Hispanics immigrate to the United States than whites. Of the more than 44.9 million people living in the United States in 2018 who were born in a foreign country, 50% were from Latin America, 28% from South and East Asia and only 13% from Europe and Canada. “Hispanics have increased their representation in Texas and the United States via immigration at a significantly higher rate than the white population,” Poston said. “Globally, an aging white population, alongside a younger Hispanic population, is primarily responsible for the growing number of Hispanics in Texas and the United States, and the decreasing number of whites.”

How is this data collected?

The ACS is a survey sent annually to approximately 3.5 million housing units in all 50 states of the United States, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. It provides up-to-date information each year to states, local areas and communities needed for programs, economic development, emergency management and other local issues and conditions. Because the ACS is a survey, it is not a complete count of the population, so the ACS data shown above are estimates of actual population counts. The decennial census, carried out every 10 years (last in 2020), is a complete count of the population. The census counts all people living in the United States, the District of Columbia, and the five US territories. It is an official population count and contains far fewer questions than the ACS.