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

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book 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.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs