Texas' Hispanic population has been growing steadily for years, but new figures show just how rapidly it is happening. The latest numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau show that the Hispanic population in Texas is growing at more than four times the rate of the white population. "Over the last seven years, the Hispanic population increased by about 18 percent, while at the same time the non-Hispanic/white population grew only four percent," says Lloyd Potter, Texas state demographer. In raw numbers, the Hispanic population in Texas has grown by 1.4 million since 2010, while the white population has grown by about 458,000 in that time.
At the current pace, Potter estimates that Hispanics will surpass whites as the largest population group in Texas as early as 2022. That matches the national trend that has seen minorities outpace whites in population growth. "The Hispanic population is young, and also Hispanics tend to have relatively high fertility rates compared with the older white population," says Potter.
Even if Hispanics surpass whites as a plurality of Texans in a few years, Potter doesn't expect to see any immediate effects. "Many of these are going to be children," he says. "We're not even going to see the impact in the electorate, because it will take a while for children to age into being over 18 years of age."
However, in the long term there will be definite impacts not only on the Texas electorate, but on the state's workforce and economy. Potter says that's because, based on current statistics, Hispanic adults tend to have lower education and skill levels than white adults. "Ensuring the Latino population has the skill level and level of educational attainment that our labor force is demanding, is a key thing for our state moving forward," says Potter.