A World of Country to Settle

New numbers suggest Texas' stupefying growth could be slowing down

New numbers suggest Texas' stupefying growth could be slowing down

Texas flag
Texas is still a red-hot place to live. Photo by by ctj71081

Texas added nearly 400,000 residents from 2016 to 2017 — a little more than the current population of Arlington — but the state’s pace of growth has tapered off just a bit.

From July 1, 2016, to July 1, 2017, Texas gained 399,734 residents, an increase of 1.4 percent, according to newly released estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. The state’s population now exceeds 28.3 million.

During the one-year period covered by the latest Census Bureau estimates, Texas picked up more residents than any other state. Next in line was Florida, adding 327,811 residents, followed by California (240,177 residents).

The new population estimates don’t take into account the effects of Hurricane Harvey, which slammed the Texas Gulf Coast in late August.

While the addition of nearly 400,000 residents from 2016 to 1017 is impressive, it’s a slowdown compared with the previous one-year spans. From 2015 to 2016, Texas gained 432,957 residents, a rise of 1.6 percent. From 2014 to 2015, Texas picked up 490,036 residents, a jump of 1.8 percent.

Another twist in the latest population figures for Texas: From 2016 to 2017, the state’s population climbed more thanks to births than to new arrivals, a departure from the previous one-year period.

For 2016-17, the gain of 209,690 residents in Texas was tied to natural growth (births minus deaths). Meanwhile, the addition of 189,580 residents was related to net migration (the number of people moving into Texas versus the number of people moving out of Texas). In 2015-16, the balance was weighted more toward net migration than it was natural growth.

In July, Lawrence Wright, an Austin-based writer for The New Yorker, noted that “Texas has been growing at a stupefying rate for decades. The only state with more residents is California, and the number of Texans is projected to double by 2050, to 54.4 million, almost as many people as in California and New York combined.”

Hispanics are key to Texas’ stupefying population growth. In June, the Texas Tribune reported that Texas gained more than three times as many Hispanic residents than whites from 2010 to 2016.