Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Hispanics closer to tipping point, becoming majority in "Tejas".
By Luisita Lopez Torregrosa
Hispanics were at the leading edge of the state's population surge in the last decade, accounting for more than two-thirds of the growth, making up 38 percent of the state's 25.1 million people. Most remarkable, Texas' non-Hispanic whites – widely referred to as Anglos – are no longer the majority ethnic group in that fiercely tradition-bound Anglo culture. Whites now make up only 45 percent of the state's population, down from 52 percent in 2000. Blacks stayed the same at 11 percent.
"It's not just a sea change, it's a tipping point," state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte of San Antonio, where two-thirds of the residents are Hispanic, told The New York Times. "San Antonio looks like what Texas is going to look like in 15 years."
Texas' rapidly changing demographics are so crucial and complex that The Texas Tribune, a nonpartisan, nonprofit media organization, has summoned a daylong symposium on Feb. 28 at the LBJ School of Public Affairs in Austin to discuss the impact that the coming Hispanic majority will have on the state – from public education, higher education, energy, health care, workforce development and criminal justice.
The fastest-growing counties are in the suburbs of Houston and the Dallas-Fort Worth area, where rural towns have been turned into middle-and-upper-income exurbs that together make up sprawling metropolises. The San Antonio-Austin corridor and the counties along the Rio Grande enjoyed large growth while the rural areas of West Texas shriveled.
The Texas of endless plains, cowboys and cattle ranches has become a bit emptier while the populous cities sprawl farther out, and the state becomes more urban, more dense, more Hispanic.