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Census Data Shows Houston Continues Diversity Trend

Newly released 2013 American Community Survey also finds stagnating income levels.

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It probably comes to no-one’s surprise, but Houston keeps getting more diverse.

The newly released 2013 American Community Survey by the U.S. Census Bureau finds that the proportion of the region’s white population is shrinking, while the percentage of Hispanics and Asians is getting bigger.

“It’s basically a continuation of trends we’ve seen over the last 20, 30, 40 years of continued diversification,” said Michael Cline, associate director of Rice University’s Hobby Center for the Study of Texas.

The Hispanic population in the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land metro area stands at nearly 2.3 million, or 36.1 percent of all people. Non-Hispanic whites make up 38.3 percent.

Cline said the region and the state are on pace to become majority-Hispanic.

“By about 2003, non-Hispanic whites were no longer the majority. We were actually a minority-majority state by 2003,” he said. “And by probably 2035, we’ll be a majority-Hispanic state.”

In the Houston area, the Asian population is also growing. Seven percent of the 6.3 million people in this metro area are of Asian descent.

And, the Houston area population is getting older. The median age here is 33.6 years – up half a year from 2010.

The survey also found that income and poverty levels haven’t changed since 2010.

“Median household income was just over $57,000 in 2013,” Ed Welniak, chief of the Census Bureau’s income statistics branch, said. “The poverty rate was about 16.4 percent, and almost 24 percent of the children in the Houston metro area were in poverty.”

That’s despite economic growth since 2011.

Cline said it might have to do with the demographic changes.

“If you have an aging population that’s no longer working and therefore earning retirement income, then their incomes are going to go down,” he said. “That may have some minor impact on the overall numbers, but I think that we’re starting to see that. The racial and ethnic diversity also- Unfortunately, for a lot of different reasons, Hispanics and African Americans are more likely to be in lower wage jobs.”

The survey is a one-year estimate and was conducted once a month for each month in 2013. Data is available for geographic areas with at least 65,000 residents.

The Census Bureau will release numbers down to the block level in December.

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