10 Ways Texas Is Changing And Why Lawmakers Should Pay Attention

As lawmakers gather for the 86th session of the Texas legislature, some are considering demographic and socioeconomic shifts statewide.

The Texas House of Representatives Committee on County Affairs invited experts to share insights on shifting demographics, voting habits and voter opinions in Texas. Below are ten takeaways from presentations by Rice University Sociologist Dr. Steve Murdock and University of Texas professor Dr. James Henson, who directs the Texas Politics Project.

Texas has always been a rapidly growing state, and that’s as true now as ever:


Most of that growth is from Hispanics. As you can see, that population has increased in almost every county across Texas:


Meanwhile, whites are making up less and less of the state’s population. This shift is especially pronounced in major cities like Houston:



Even modest demographic predictions show the Hispanic population will be the majority of the statewide population by at least 2050:


Meanwhile, there are large gaps in income along racial and ethnic lines in Texas:


Those gaps in income are also reflected in educational achievement:


When you consider these socioeconomic gaps and changing demographics, Texas could see a decrease in mean consumer expenditures over the next several decades:


As these demographics shift, Texas lawmakers say they want to make important changes to school finance. So, what do their constituents think?


A plurality from a University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll disapprove of how education has been handled:


Texans tend to believe more money should be spent on primary and secondary education, including 54% of Hispanics and 52% of African Americans:


However, a plurality of Texans say they care more about immigration and border security than any other issue: