Posted on June 22, 2023

Hispanics Officially Make Up the Biggest Share of Texas’ Population, New Census Numbers Show

Alexa Ura, Texas Tribune, June 21, 2023

The point at which Latinos would outnumber white residents to make up the biggest share of the Texas population has been on the state’s demographic horizon for years.

It seemed that long-awaited milestone was reached in 2021 when a closely watched data release last year was the first to reflect the culmination of decades of transformative growth.

But confirmation did not come until this week, when the U.S. Census Bureau updated its official population estimates. In new figures released Thursday, the bureau confirmed Latinos have made up the largest share of the state’s population since at least July 2022. The new population figures show Hispanic Texans made up 40.2% of the state’s population last summer, barely edging out non-Hispanic white Texans, who made up 39.8%.

The updated estimates retroactively captured a landmark moment in Texas’ demographic evolution, but it’s not much of a turning point. The new figures showing Latinos outnumbering white Texans by about 129,000 cap off a population boom that has been culturally recasting the state for several decades.

The state had a white majority from at least 1850 until 2004, when white people’s share of the state population dropped below 50%. People of color, Latinos in particular, have been powering the state’s population gains for at least the last 20 years.

The state’s growth — usually close to evenly split between natural increase and net migration, including both domestic and international — has brought diversity to pockets of the state that were once nearly all white, transforming classrooms and workforces. Hispanic Texans are expected to make up a flat-out majority of the state’s population in the decades to come, and most Texas children will soon be Hispanic. Recent census estimates showed that 49.3% of Texans under the age of 18 are Hispanic. It’s been more than a decade since Hispanic students first came to make up a majority of Texas public school students.


It should be noted that Texas is increasingly becoming a multicultural society in ways that make it harder to track its population through precise racial and ethnic categories. For example, the Census Bureau estimates the number of Texans who report more than one race is steadily increasing.

But in a state where opportunity and life outcomes so closely track with identity for Texans of color, policymakers say the new census estimates demand an emphasis on the state’s Latino growth.

“I remember as I was growing up hearing it’s going to be decades before we were the majority or before we were the largest group,” said state Rep. Victoria Neave Criado, a Dallas Democrat who chairs the Mexican American Legislative Caucus. “I think for me as a Latina legislator in a city and region that is thriving with Latino-owned businesses, it makes me proud. I think it also highlights the needs for changes in our policy.”