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Understanding the 2020 Census

Impacts on Texas Public and Higher Education

December 8, 2021
Philanthropy Advocates hosted our members and fellow partners with the Texas Student Success Council (TSSC) to hear from Dr. Lloyd Potter, the Texas State Demographer, about the impact of the 2020 Census on Texas public and higher education. Dr. Potter discussed population and demographic changes, as well as findings related to educational attainment and workforce demand.

View slides from this presentation here.

Population Growth & Decline
Census findings reveal that Texas has had the most population growth compared to other states, growing by 3.99 million people over the past decade. The majority of the state’s growth centers around the Texas triangle of Houston, Dallas and Austin; however, Lubbock, Amarillo and El Paso were also areas of significant growth. A natural decrease in population continues to occur in largely rural counties. Much of this is caused by younger people leaving for urban and suburban counties to live, work and raise children.

Population Demographics
While population growth has occurred across the cultural spectrum of the state, the Hispanic population of the state experienced a 49.5 percent increase. Non-Hispanic white populations grew by 4.7 percent and non-Hispanic Black populations grew by 13.9 percent. Asian populations have also increased in the state.

Fertility Rate and Migration Compared to Population Growth
Texas has seen a drop in the total fertility rate to 1.87 children per household, below the 2.1 rate necessary for natural replacement. Fertility rates have decreased across the United States initially following the 2008 recession but with an increased decline since 2015.

Despite this decline in fertility rate, Texas is projected to show a 47 percent population increase by 2050. Much of this growth is attributed to migration, as people from across the country including California, Illinois, Florida, Puerto Rico and New York find their way to Texas.

Educational Attainment
Educational attainment by race/ethnicity shows drastic differences among race and ethnicity with Asian and non-Hispanic white citizens attaining more postsecondary degrees by a wide margin. African American and Hispanic postsecondary attainment has grown respectively to seven percent and six percent.

Two-year college enrollment has seen a deep decline in the years of COVID-19. However, Texas has increased college enrollment for four-year institutions, growing more than most states in the country.

Children participating in school programs have also increased with 44 percent of children aged three to four enrolled in school. Of these children, 64 percent are enrolled in public pre-kindergarten programs. These numbers help the state project that by 2050, 2 million plus Hispanic students will be of college-going age, with all other races growing apart from white students.

Workforce Patterns
The total workforce reveals fewer people working in low-skill jobs and reflects a clear demand for high-skill, high-wage jobs in various sectors including infrastructure, tech, and business. Dr. Potter reflected that as the population continues to grow and work requires more high-skill labor, people are leaving rural communities to obtain work that will allow them to utilize their skills.

Dr. Potter’s findings reflect a trend in continued population growth and our belief that Texas needs a well-educated population equipped to fill the jobs and skills in highest demand across the state.

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