Texas, the second most populous state in the United States, has witnessed significant shifts in its population and demographics over the last decade. According to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Texas added nearly 4 million people between 2010 and 2020, marking a growth rate of 15.9%, more than double the national average of 7.4%.
However, this growth was not uniform across the state, with some areas experiencing rapid population increases, while others faced declines or remained stagnant. Additionally, Texas has become more racially and ethnically diverse, with shifts in age structure and housing characteristics.
Population Growth and Decline
A notable trend is the difference between urban and rural areas. While urbanized counties like Tarrant, Bexar, and Travis continued to grow, some of the largest counties like Dallas and Harris saw population declines, possibly due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, prompting people to seek less crowded or more affordable areas.
On the other hand, suburban counties near major cities, such as Collin, Denton, Fort Bend, and Williamson, experienced significant population growth, driven by factors like job opportunities, lower living costs, improved quality of life, and more space.
Texas also saw variations in population growth across regions, with Central and North Texas experiencing robust growth, while South and West Texas saw modest or negative growth. These disparities could be attributed to differences in economic opportunities, natural resources, climate, and culture.
Racial and Ethnic Diversity
Another striking trend is the increase in racial and ethnic diversity. The 2020 Census revealed that Texas now has nearly equal numbers of Latino and white residents, followed by Black, Asian, American Indian, and other ethnic groups. These shifts demonstrate a more diverse Texas compared to 2010, with the exception of a decrease in the white population.
Counties within Texas also display varying levels of diversity, with some, like Harris County, being significantly more diverse than others, such as King County.
Changes in age structure are significant. Texas’ median age increased from 33.6 years in 2010 to 35.1 years in 2020, making it relatively younger than the national median age of 38.4 years. However, Texas also saw a 46% increase in the population aged 65 and over, reflecting the aging of the baby boomer generation. In contrast, the population under 18 decreased by 1%, influenced by lower birth rates and higher mortality rates among children and adolescents.
The housing landscape also shifted, with the number of housing units in Texas increasing by 11.1% between 2010 and 2020, surpassing the national average. However, occupancy rates decreased slightly, and the vacancy rate increased. Changes were observed in housing types and sizes, with single-family detached units being the most common.
In conclusion, Texas has experienced substantial population changes over the past decade, impacting various aspects of life in the state, including politics, the economy, education, healthcare, the environment, and culture. As Texas looks ahead to the next decade, it must address the challenges and opportunities presented by these demographic shifts.