News / USA

Rising Hispanic Population Transforming Texas

Census figures show the population of non-Hispanic whites is increasing at a much slower pace than that of Hispanics in Texas
Census figures show the population of non-Hispanic whites is increasing at a much slower pace than that of Hispanics in Texas

Multimedia

Greg Flakus

Recently released data from the 2010 U.S. census shows significant growth in the nation's Hispanic population.  And nowhere has that growth been more dramatic than in the southwestern state of Texas, the state with the biggest overall population increase during the past decade.  Experts say the demographic shifts pose a challenge for the state and that its future prosperity will depend on how Texas meets that challenge.

Not long ago, the annual Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Luncheon was the city's biggest Hispanic business event of the year.  Now it is the biggest business event of any kind in the city, drawing many non-Hispanic figures from industry and government as well as Latino business owners.

During the past four years, under the leadership of President and Chief Executive Officer Laura Murillo, the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has experienced a 600 percent growth in membership.  She says Houston's young population, its location and the business-friendly environment in Texas all help.

"Our chamber, for example, has attracted many sponsors that had traditionally gone to Miami or Los Angeles," noted Murillo.  "They are coming to Houston now because they have found that the economy of Houston is so much stronger than it is in other parts of the country."

Many businesses here see an advantage in hiring local Hispanics who can help them build links with Latin America.

Francisco Grados works for an accounting firm whose workforce is now 30 percent Hispanic.

"We have several clients from Latin America, Spain," said Grados.  "And even though they speak English, they feel more confident, secure speaking Spanish.  And it is an advantage to be bilingual."

Rice University sociologist Steve Murdock says the future of Texas depends on Hispanics, because they are the fastest growing segment of the state's population.

"Sixty-five percent of the [population] growth in Texas was due to the Hispanic population," said Murdock.

Census figures show the population of non-Hispanic whites, often called Anglos in the Latino community, is increasing at a much slower pace than that of Hispanics.  Very few Texas counties are experiencing Anglo population growth, while most others show a decline.  The opposite is true for Hispanics.

Although immigrants account for most Hispanic population growth in other U.S. states, sociologist Steve Murdock says the growth in Texas comes mostly from a natural increase within an already established population.

"Most Hispanics in Texas are not immigrants; they have been here for multiple generations," said Murdock.  "And remember, there are parts of Texas that have been Hispanic longer than they have been Anglo."

But Murdock says census figures show a looming problem for Texas in that minorities, especially Hispanics, tend to be less educated and earn much less on average than non-Hispanic whites.

"The modal minority is a Hispanic male, 25 to 29 years of age, with less than a high school level of education and making about $35,000, down about $3,000, in real dollar terms, from 1999 to 2009," he added.

Murdock says the state's economic future depends on how well Texas educates this dynamic young population.

"If we could meet that challenge, what some of us call the Texas challenge, we could have a younger population than most other parts of the country in a time period when aging of the population is going to be a major problem," Murdock noted.

The Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce's Laura Murillo says education of young Hispanics is the key to this state's future.

"We will be the economic engine, not only of the city of Houston, but of Texas.  And that will require a more educated Hispanic community," said Murdock.

But politicians in the Texas capital, Austin, are struggling with a deficit of more than $20 billion, and they are cutting rather than expanding some educational programs.

Being raised by Mexican-American parents who emphasized the value of education helped bank executive Michelle Hitchings find success.  She says she sees it as the best investment the state can make.

"It is a huge mistake cutting education funds, especially early childhood education, which, now we know, is more important than ever," said Hitchings.

Hitchings says she knows that many young Latinos could be inspired by her example and she spends time working with the Girl Scouts and other community groups to encourage children to aspire to great things.

Partly because of these role models and their influence, Laura Murillo says she is optimistic about the role Hispanics will play in the future of Texas.

"I see a Texas that is truly going to be a model for what the rest of the United States will look for in terms of a state with a predominant Hispanic community that Texas will be the model for the rest of the states to follow," Murillo added.

Laura Murillo calls the city's Hispanic business people the "leaders of Houston's new majority."

You May Like

Video Video Claims to Show Shi'ite Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

While not yet independently confirmed, brutal killing already has gotten attention of Islamic State followers on social media More

After Six Years, Little Change for Niger Delta's Former Militants

Nigerians who laid down arms in exchange for government amnesty subsidies fear program may end with upcoming presidential elections More

Vietnam Pushes for More Educated Drivers to Curb Road Deaths

Transportation officials hope that making a greater effort to get drivers to learn the rules of the road will reduce fatal crashes More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planeti
X
George Putic
March 04, 2015 8:51 PM
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More