In March the Census Bureau released population estimates as of July 1, 2008. In the immediately preceding years, Texas had been growing by roughly half a million people per year. I have assumed that this trend will continue for the next two years and will be reflected in the 2010 census, in which case, by adding one million people to the July 1, 2008 estimate of 24,326,974, I would estimate that Texas’s population in 2010 will top 25 million. I’m going to adopt 25,326,974 as Texas’s population in the 2010 census. (This calculation could be too high, because as Texas becomes more affected by the economic crisis, there are signs that immigration from the south is decreasing and even reversing.) Texas population in 2000: 20,851,820 Texas population in 2010 (estimated): 25,326,974 Estimated growth: 4,475,144 Percentage growth: 21.46 The reason that this matters, of course, is because the 2010 census is the basis for redistricting in 2011. If a county, or a region, did not grow by 21.6% over the past decade, it is in danger of losing representation. Click here for the link to the census data. Dallas County Dallas County 2008 population: 2,412,727 (estimated) Dallas County 2000 population: 2,267,698 Dallas County 2010 population: 2,750,000 (estimated, see below) Dallas County grew slowly in the first four years of the decade, more rapidly in the last three years. If the recent trend continues of Dallas adding 30,000 people per year or more, the county should reach 2.75 million by 2010. Calculation: Population growth: 2,750,000 (estimated) less 2000 pop. 2,267,698 = 482,302 Growth rate = 482,302/2,267,698 = 21.2% Dallas County’s growth rate is just a fraction below the statewide growth rate of 21.2%. The numbers for other large counties follow. I have estimated the growth rate for the next two years. Harris’s big growth year was 05-06, when it grew by 123,000 people. It took two years to add roughly the same number of new residents. Given the economic conditions, I’m going to estimate the same rate of growth over the next two years. Harris County population 2000: 3,400,578 Harris County population 2008 (Census estimate): 3,984,349 Add 123,000 by 2010: 4,107,349 Population growth, 2000-2010: 706,771 Growth rate: 20.8%, also slightly under the statewide rate. Here are selected other counties’ growth rates, calculations omitted: Tarrant: 26.5% Travis County: 30.3% Collin County 68.99% Bexar County 22.1% Hidalgo County 34.26% Webb County 27.87% El Paso County 12.1% Montgomery County 58.5% Denton County 58.1% Fort Bend County 64.2% Williamson County 44.6% Counties in rural Texas with cities over 100,000, on the other hand, hardly grew at all: Wichita County has lost 3,000 people since 2000. Taylor County (Abiline) had a net gain by 2008 of fewer than 1,000 people Tom Green County (San Angelo) grew by 4,000 people, around 4% Randall County (Canyon/Amarillo) gained 5,000 people, around 5% Potter County (Amarill0) gained 6,000 people, around 5% McClennan County (Waco) gained 11,000 people, around 5% Midland County (Midland) gained 4,000 people, around 4% Nueces County (Corpus Christi) gained 11,000 people, around 3% Ector County (Odessa) gained 3,000 people, around 2% Grayson County (Sherman) gained 5,000 people, around 4% Gregg County (Longview) gained 4,000 people, around 3% Smith County (Tyler) is the only populous rural county that kept up with the state as a whole, gaining 22.9% Lubbock County grew by 11% Brazos County grew by 20.1% I did not include Bell County as a rural county, or Brazoria County. Bell’s population includes Fort Hood. Brazoria is as much a suburban county as a rural one. This is an early snapshot of redistricting. There is going to be carnage in rural Texas, especially from Wichita Falls to Lubbock to Amarillo, an area currently represented by six House Republicans: Hardcastle, Jones, Isett, Chisum, Swinford, and Smithee, and only two Democratic districts (Farabee and Heflin). In East Texas, the Eltife and Nichols Senate seats are in rural areas that have not kept up with the growth rate. On the other hand, Republicans won’t even have to gerrymander to gain seats in suburban Texas. Huge growth rates in Collin, Denton, and Montgomery counties will result in more Republican seats. The other two big suburban counties, Fort Bend and Williamson, also have high growth rates, but the growth in these counties includes Democrats as well as Republicans. Growth in urban Texas was right around the statewide average, so the Democrats will have to win seats by defeating Republicans.
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