04/28/11: Sand castles on the shore
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The next time that the Texas House of Representatives draws a redistricting map, in 2021, Texas is going to be a very different state. As the House debated redistricting and fought over whether Republican cartographers had awarded Hispanics enough new seats, the clock was already ticking on the new Republican majority. The demographic tsunami that swept over the state in the first decade of the new century is a not an event. It’s a process–and it’s not reversible. I looked up the projected growth of the major urban counties in the next decade on the Web site of the Texas State Data Center. Here are some numbers. They are not based on census data but rather on the complex formulas demographers use. In projecting population growth, it is important to adopt a realistic growth scenario. I have chosen 0.5 — that is, I assume that migration will be half as much as during the nineties, a decade during which immigration was at a higher level than it is now. I view this as a conservative scenario. The number generated by the formulas is within the ballpark of the census numbers; that is, the census showed Texas with a population of around 25 million in 2010, while the demographic data produced a projection of 24,330,646. Using the 0.5 immigration scenario, here is what Texas will look like in 2020: 2010 (projected): Anglo population 11,533,975 Hispanic population 9,080,458 2020 (projected): Anglo population: 11,796,448 Hispanic population: 11,882,960 If the projections are right, the state’s Hispanic population will overtake the Anglo population by 2020 — within the lifetime of the map that was adopted by the House. Here’s what happens in the state’s two most populous counties (although Dallas may be overtaken by Bexar and Tarrant by 2020): Harris County 2010 (projected): Anglo population: 1,378,978 Hipanic population 1,610,819 2020 (projected): Anglo population: 1,262,352 Hispanic population: 2,187,082 Dallas County 2010 (projected) Anglo population: 1,378,978 Hispanic population: 2,187,082 This one is interesting: Midland County 2010 (projected) Anglo population: 66,362 Hispanic population: 44,559 2020 (projected) Anglo population: 63,825 Hispanic population: 60,642 The point is this: Hispanic population growth is not going to stop. Hispanic birth rates are not going to decline. Anglo population growth and birth rates are not going to improve. Republicans can draw their maps but they will be no more enduring than sand castles on the shore.