Justyna Furmanczyk for the Texas Tribune
For many years, the prospect that Hispanics would become the state’s largest population group has been a question of “when” and not “if.”
With growth among the Hispanic population in Texas continuing to easily outpace growth among white Texans, it’s likely the state will reach that demographic milestone as soon as 2022. That’s according to the state demographer and new population estimates released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau.
The new figures, which account for the state’s population growth through July 2017, reflect the extent to which the white population growth rate pales in comparison to growth among Texans of color since 2010 – a disparity that has set the Hispanic community on its way to becoming a plurality of the state’s population.
Hispanics alone have been behind more than half of the state’s growth since 2010. The Hispanic population increased from 9.7 million in 2010 to 11.1 million last year. Meanwhile, the white population has only increased by about 458,000 people.
Strikingly, Texas has gained almost four times as many Hispanic residents as white residents since 2010. And the increase in the number of Asian Texans, who make up a tiny share of the total population, has almost caught up with the increase in white Texans in that same time period.
The explosive growth among the Hispanic community has been widespread, with population gains occurring in all but a few of the state’s 254 counties.
Among the state’s largest counties, Tarrant County was home to the most rapid growth of Hispanic residents. Since 2010, Hispanics have expanded their presence in Tarrant by almost 23 percent, easily outpacing their overall growth rate in the state of about 18 percent.
Meanwhile, the white population in neighboring Dallas County is shrinking. Among the state’s five biggest counties, Dallas is the only county where the white population has fallen below 2010 levels. In 2017, Dallas County’s white population dropped to about 764,200 from about 787,150 in 2010.
Nationally, Texas held onto its years-long lead as the state that has experienced the largest annual numeric increase of Hispanic residents since 2010.
The state also continued to be home to counties with some of the highest shares of Hispanic residents. Starr County in the Rio Grande Valley for years has held onto the top spot in the nation with a population that’s 96.3 percent Hispanic.