Changing Demographics Essay Sample
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Impact of Changing Texan Populations
When the state of Texas joined the United States following the Mexican-American War, control of a wide range of land once held by Mexico transferred ownership (SonoftheSouth.net). Most of the resident Mexicans chose to stay and become American citizens. During the California gold rush, they were overwhelmed by prospectors that chose to settle in neighboring states. Today, growth in the Sunbelt is caused by migrants looking for lower taxes and home prices in the Northeast and California. In addition, legal and illegal Hispanic people are creating the opposite of the Dust Bowl migration in the 1930’s. The impact on Texas is shaping the future of the state and the country.
There has been an explosive growth of Hispanics in Texas in the past decade. The Hispanic population in the state is almost 10 million; this is more people than the entire population of 43 states in the country (Manzano). Within the next ten years, it is projected that Hispanics will outnumber Caucasians in the state (Stiles). The result is a complex domino effect on the state in terms of economics, public policy, the educational system, and politics. The impact of the racial shift is also based on the age of the populations; Hispanic adults are younger than white residents. For instance, the age of the average white woman is 42 years old while the average Hispanic woman is 22 years old (Murdock). The statistic is indicative of the next generation of children as most Hispanic women will continue to reproduce while most white women will not. In the last U.S. Census, Hispanics were the largest group in the age of 37 and younger; as the white population continues to age without childbearing, the trend will intensify (Stiles).
Lloyd Potter is a professor at the University of Texas in San Antonio and is serving as the official demographer for Texas (Stiles). He states the estimate that 2023 is the year when the Hispanic population eclipses the non-Hispanic one is conservative. It didn’t take into account migration into Texas from outside its borders. Some feel the flip in dominant race may occur as early as 2017.
Graph 1. Projection of Texas Hispanic Population (Manzano)
In the ten years since 2000, the population of Texas has increased twice as quickly as the rest of the United States. An important aspect of this growth is in the arena of politics. There has not been a Democratic voted in during a statewide election in almost twenty years. If a candidate could get the Hispanic voters behind him, the race would be more competitive. A major issue for the Hispanic population at this time is immigration, particularly the legalization of an estimated hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants currently living in the state at this time (Manzano). In an effort to win the Caucasian vote in Arizona, Colorado, and California, politicians have taken a strong stand against immigration; these policy positions have alienated the Hispanic voters.
However, voter turnout for Hispanic citizens is poor. Less than 49 percent of the eligible voters participated in 2012. If one or both of the parties would get behind permitting citizenship for illegal aliens, this would probably change; 58 percent of the Texas Latinos voters have friends or faily members who are living in the state without papers. The stand of the Republican Party on this issue has potential impact on the politics of the nation; this has already been demonstrated in Florida and California. However, at this point there has been no clear stand by the Republican Party on the immigration issue.
With the rise in the Texas Hispanic population, political leaders primarily concerned with Latino interests have stepped into political office. While Ted Cruz has received some bad press lately following his announcement of his candidacy for the presidency, he is still the first Hispanic elected to the Senate in Texas (Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs). Xavier Becerra is the first Latino to serve on the prestigious House Ways and Means Committee in the United States Congress (Latinamericanstudies.org). Hector Barreto served in 2001 as the Small Business Administration Administrator. Cruz Bustamante was the first Latino elected to a statewide office in the state of California in over 120 years when he entered the office of Lieutenant Governor in 1998; he was also the highest-ranking elected Latino officeholder in the country until Bill Richardson was elected Governor of New Mexico in 2003. The most high-profile candidate is George P. Bush who is the Texas General Land Office Commissioner; he is also the grandson of former President H.W. Bush, the nephew of former President George W. Bush, and the son of possible presidential candidate Jeb Bush (Fox News Latino). The way is paved for more influential Hispanic politicians in the country and particularly in Texas.
Latino Texans tended toward traditional values in the past (Lopez et al.). For instance, in the debate over same-sex marriages, Hispanic voters stated they favored same-sex marriages for the first time in the 2012 election (52 percent supported versus 34 percent opposed). Just six years prior, 31 percent favored same-sex marriage while 56 percent opposed it. The change in opinions follows the trend of the general public. The shift in mainstream values is an indication that the future of Texas may begin to be less traditionally conservative and more liberal as Democratic influence becomes stronger.
As an upcoming generation of Hispanic children outnumber white children in Texas, the socio-economic and political face of Texas will change. As immigrating Hispanic families have children born as American citizens, they will be eligible for documented completion of public school and have access to social services. Education will be promoted with early childhood programs. According to Steve Murdock in his presentation in 2013 (Murdock), Hispanic families are rising out of poverty. He states that although education is the best predictor of socio-economic changes, the actual change in Texas tax dollars spent on education is -28 percent. While this is in keeping with the national average, it reflects the huge influx of residents into the state.
The prediction is there will be substantial increases in applications to community colleges, but not four-year colleges (Peterson and Assanie). Financial assistance for students has never been higher than now. Unfortunately for the state of Texas, forecasts state that by 2040, around 30 percent of its labor force will not have graduated from high school. This is an increase over the 19 percent not receiving a high school diploma in 2000 and shows that more of the workers of Texas will be unskilled with less education. The result is a less competitive state economy.
The shift in the racial aspects of the Texas population strongly impacts the educational, housing, and state services accessed. In 2010, state residents over the age of 35 were mostly Caucasian; 59.85 percent ages 55 to 59 were white with 24.97 percent Latino Texan. In the age group of five and younger, 49.95 percent were Hispanic compared to 35.60 percent Caucasian. These children will be in high school and considering college in the next decade.
The population of Texas is traditionally young, rural, and predominantly Caucasian. But now the growing population in less rural and more diverse and these changes dictate an infrastructure directed toward supplying health care and education for a state doing business on a global scale. As the growth of the Hispanic population has all the indications of becoming the majority race in Texas, it is crucial for state leaders to recognize the requirements for bring up the education structure of that population group.
The future of Texas is tied to how well the currently minority populations achieve success. Philip Williams, director of the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Florida, states:
“One of the things that is common among all immigrant groups is that when they come to the U.S., they see it as an opportunity and they try to make the best of it, and so they have a very strong work ethic. They also put a strong emphasis on education as a way for their children to do even better. (Nawaguna, 2012, pg. 4)
Texas has the ability to stand out as one of the most prominent states in the next decade with thousands of new residents flooding into the state annually. However, it is crucial health care and educational opportunities be made available to allow the young men and women of any race growing up in Texas to acquire the skills to promote business and technology.
Fox News Latino. “George P. Bush Among Other Latinos Vying For Top Political Posts In TX”. N.p.,
2013. Web. 1 Apr. 2015.
Lopez, Mark et al. “Latinos’ Changing Views Of Same-Sex Marriage”. Pew Research Center. N.p., 2013.
Web. 31 Mar. 2015.
Manzano, Sylvia. “Changing Demographics In Texas And The Politics Of Immigration | Latino
Decisions”. Latinodecisions.com. N.p., 2014. Web. 31 Mar. 2015.
Murdock, Steve. Texas in 2050: It’s All Over for Anglos. 2013. Web. 31 Mar. 2015.
Nawaguna, Elvina. 'U.S. Hispanics Expected To Have Increasing Economic Impact'. TheLedger.com.
N.p., 2012. Web. 31 Mar. 2015.
Petersen, D’Ann, and Laila Assanie. “The Changing Face Of Texas: Population Projections And
Implications,”. Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. N.p., 2005. Web. 31 Mar. 2015.
Sonofthesouth.net,. 'History Of Texas'. N.p., 2015. Web. 31 Mar. 2015.
Stiles, Matt. 'Texas' Looming Hispanic Shift Explained In 2 Charts'. NPR.org. N.p., 2013. Web. 31 Mar.
Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. “Ted Cruz '92 Sworn-In As U.S. Senator
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