Population gains are higher in Texas, as you might expect.
Texas added about 4 million people in the last decade, well over a million more than its nearest competitors, Florida and California, according to new census data.
The data revealed another strong point for Lone Star State: the population under the age of 18 grew at a faster rate than in much of the nation, especially in large rival states.
This bodes well for the future of Texas, offering a counterpoint to the declining global birth rate and rising retirements among baby boomers. The pandemic also pushed many people to leave the workforce, which exacerbated labor shortages.
“Texas is lucky to win in this younger population; many states don’t have it,” said William Frey, chief demographer and senior member of the Brookings Institution.
Over the past decade, 27 states have seen a decline in children and adolescents, Frey wrote in a recent report. They include more than half of the ten most populous states.
The parts of the country that can strengthen their younger cohorts, mainly thanks to the increase in migration, will have a good boost: “they will be much better to survive the economic ups and downs that we will have in the next couple of years” , said Frey.
In the last decade, Texas ’under-18 population has grown 6%, according to recent U.S. Census Bureau data. This translates into almost 413,000 more children and adolescents than in 2010.
In contrast, the US recorded a slight decline in the under-18 age group, 1.4% less. Across the country, there were one million fewer children and teens than a decade ago.
In Georgia, another fast-growing southern state, under-18s were flat. In California, where the total population grew by about 2.3 million, the under-18 cohort fell by 6.3%. In Illinois, the sixth most populous state, the number of children and adolescents fell by 10.1%.
Do you think the current labor shortage is hard now? It takes young people years to get into working life, but at least Texas has a growing number in preparation.
Much of this comes from large increases in migration, especially from other states. From 2010 to 2019, Texas made a net profit of about 303,000 residents in California, nearly 97,000 in Illinois and 91,000 in New York, according to data presented by the Texas Demographic Center.
“If Texas hadn’t received so many mostly domestic immigrants, I suspect we would have been close to very low growth” in the under-18 age group, said Lloyd Potter, state demographer and center director.
From 2000 to 2010, 55% of Texas ’population gains were due to births that exceeded deaths, or what is called a natural increase. But this contributed to only 48% of population growth in the next decade, while internal migration became the most important factor.
Fertility rates, which calculate the total number of children a woman will have, have dropped dramatically since the Great Recession. In Texas, the rate was 2.36 in 2008 and fell to 1.87 in 2018. A value of 2.1 is needed for the population to be replaced without immigration.
Texas ’fertility rate remains higher than the U.S., but Texas recorded a sharper rate drop over the ten-year period.
“Right now, we’re in a good position, but we also import labor,” Potter said. “When you look at the flows from California, New York and Illinois, they’re all people who come here to work.”
It filled the gaps in the current labor supply, he said, and sowed the workforce of the future.
“Families move here with kids and you also have young people moving here in their breeding years,” Potter said.
Many of the fastest growing communities in the last decade are located outside major urban centers, and often also had strong growth in the young population.
Among children and adolescents, Collin County and Denton County increased by more than 23% and 25%, respectively, while Dallas County recorded a 2% decline in the group.
Dallas has been losing residents in surrounding counties for most of the past decade, in part because many business owners located their businesses in suburban areas. It is closer to where many families want to live and send their children to school.
Typically, people under the age of 18 do not move alone, Frey said, so increases in the young population are often parents moving to live with children.
“People move as families move where the jobs are,” Frey said. “This is the main magnet.”
“People vote with their feet, right?” said Luis Torres, a research economist at the Texas Real Estate Research Center at Texas A&M University. “They want to live where they have the best opportunities for their family. And the attraction here is that the economy is doing well. ”
He said it is not only population growth, but also the mix of races and ethnicities is important. The main goal of the latest census is that people of color are driving growth in both the United States and Texas.
Across the country, the number of whites has dropped by 5.1 million over the past decade, according to Frey’s report. But the United States added 11.6 million Hispanics during the same period and nearly 7.6 million people of two or more races. The country totaled 5.1 million Asian Asians and nearly 2.3 million black residents.
Since 2010, Texas has made a net profit of 187,000 whites, but added more than 3 million people of color. Whites accounted for less than 5% of Texas ’population growth over the decade.
“Texas is one of the most ethnically diverse states in the country and we are where all of America will be in about 25 years,” said Steve Klineberg, professor emeritus of sociology at Rice University. “Here the American future will be worked out.”
People of color often stay in academic training and Texas has been ranked low in per capita spending on K-12 education. To a broader extent of child welfare, the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Texas Count 2021 data book ranked 46th among states. Their lowest scores were related to health care.
In the past, Texas ’economic success depended on natural resources, such as cotton, wood, and oil, and many were able to make a living from manual labor. But today’s workers need a good education to thrive, Klineberg said, so Texas has to invest heavily in public education and its diverse people.
“That’s the big challenge and the jury is still out,” Klineberg said. “This ethnic diversity could be the main asset Texas could have, or it could break us down and become a major liability.”