Want to see what San Antonio will look like in 2020 and 2030? An interactive tool developed by the Urban Institute lets you look at the future size of U.S. cities and their demographics, and even alter assumptions for birth, death and immigration rates to see how low, average or high metrics will affect long-term growth and population makeup.
The Urban Institute’s interactive map of the United States assumes average growth in the major cities, assumptions that make Austin the state’s fastest-growing city in Texas over the next 15 years, ahead of Dallas, Houston and San Antonio in that order. Austin is projected to grow by 55.4% between 2010 and 2030, adding 985,299 people. Dallas is expected to grow by 35.51% and add 1,497,610 people. Houston is expected to grow by 34.08% and add 1,950,629 people. San Antonio is expected to grow by 27.82% and add 606,325 people.
I’m an admitted homer when it comes to San Antonio, but I think the Urban Institute’s numbers for our city are too conservative. Based on recent growth trends and higher birth rates among Hispanics, I fiddled with the numbers and increased our city’s birth and immigration rates and moved both into the “higher” category. That dramatically changes the projections to a 37.02% growth rate, which would add 806,792 people.
Using the Institute’s numbers, the San Antonio Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) grows from a city of 2,179,089 in 2010 to a city of 2,785,414 in 2030. Using my projections, we grow to 2,985,881. Either way, sometime in the next 20 years San Antonio will become a city of more than three million people.
Demographers could crunch numbers for the last 20 years or so and make more accurate predictions for San Antonio and for all of Texas and its major metro areas, but some assumptions are certain: the country’s population is aging, becoming more diverse, and Latinos are the fastest growing sector of that population, thanks to immigration and birth rates. Take those assumptions and apply them to San Antonio and you have a city with growing percentage of aging people and a growing percentage of younger people.
One way to grasp the difference is this: in the 2000 U.S. Census, San Antonio had 886,226 Hispanics, 711,597 whites, 108,165 African-Americans, and 35,250 people of other ethnic or racial mix. By 2030, using the average growth assumptions, San Antonio will be home to 1,585,323 Hispanics, 869,826 whites, 188,145 African-Americans, and 142,119 other. That’s 44% growth in San Antonio’s Hispanic population versus 18% growth in the white population, 42.5% in the African-American population, and 77% growth in people of other ethnic and racial groups. That will make the city 57% Latino, 31% white, 6.76% African-American, and .5% other.
*Featured/top image: A new mapping tool from Urban Institute shows who will be living in your city 15 years from now. Courtesy image.