Texas, The New Frontier!

William Fitzpatrick

Census, Population Change, Analytics

September 28, 2021

Texas, The New Frontier

In our “Covid-19: The Great Trend Accelerator” blog post from April, we looked at how the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated many of the trends present in our society. One of those trends was the increased movement of Americans out of states like New York and California, into Texas and Florida. With the recent release of data from the 2020 U.S. Census, we are able to take a deeper dive into the population changes Texas has experienced over the past decade. Where are people coming from? Where are they moving to within the state of Texas? And how much of this population growth has occurred in just the last year and a half, due to the knock-on effects of the COVID-19 pandemic?

Over the past decade, Texas has experienced the most population growth of any state in the union, in terms of raw numbers. According to 2020 census data, the state’s population now sits at around 29.1 million people, a 16% increase from 2010. Most of this population boom has been concentrated in the large urban centers and their surrounding suburban counties. Since 2010, 44% of the state’s growth has taken place in the five largest Texas counties – Dallas, Harris, Travis, Bexar, and Tarrant. The county with the largest individual growth rate (54%), Hays County, sits directly between San Antonio and Austin. Americans are clearly flocking to these areas in Texas, but where are they coming from? And why are they coming here?

According to the 2021 Texas Relocation Report, more than 500,000 people relocated to Texas from other states in the year 2019, with around another 200,000 new residents coming from outside the country. California was the state with the highest outflow of people to Texas. Florida, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Georgia are some of the other top states with high resident outflows to Texas. What is it about Texas that is attracting people there in droves?

Low taxes are the most prominent attraction. Texas has no personal income tax, along with a more permissive business environment. This is an attractive lure for people or companies looking to move out of states with higher tax burdens. Elon Musk recently built a Tesla manufacturing facility outside of Austin. Hewlett-Packard relocated their corporate headquarters from California to Houston. Along with the tech sector, the energy industry is booming, as well as manufacturing and business services. Texas also has cheaper land and housing costs than many of the states' people are migrating from. When you combine the vast employment opportunities present in Texas with the lower cost of living, it's no surprise the state is attracting new residents at such an explosive rate.

With such large inflows and outflows of people over the past decade, how have the demographics of the state changed? In 2020, white Texans accounted for only 40% of the state population, a decrease from 45% in 2010. On the other hand, the Hispanic, Black, and Asian populations exploded over the past 10 years. Hispanics are well on their way to becoming the largest demographic group in the state, with an increase of almost 2 million residents who identify as non-White Hispanic. They now account for 39% of the state population. The Black and Asian populations also increased substantially, see the chart below for the numbers.

Due to the large increase in the Texas population over the past decade, the state has gained two seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. With the redistricting process taking place this year in Texas, it will be interesting to see how new Congressional District lines are drawn, and how this new diverse, suburban electorate will change the politics of the state.

Stay tuned to our social media for the next installment in this series!

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