Hispanic population grows - and grows more separate - in Texas

Contact: Vincent Reda, 518-437-4985

Hispanics supplanted African Americans as the largest minority in all five of Texas's million-plus metropolitan centers in the last decade, but in most of the state's metropolitan regions these trends were accompanied by a sharp increase in segregation between Hispanics and non-Hispanic whites.

These are the results of Census data analysis by the Lewis Mumford Center for Comparative Urban and Regional Research at the University at Albany (N.Y.), which is interpreting segregation patterns from the 2000 Census.

"A disturbing trend is that in most Texan metropolitan regions growth trends among Hispanics were accompanied by a sharp increase in segregation between Hispanics and non-Hispanic whites," said John Logan, UAlbany distinguished professor of sociology and director of the Mumford Center.

"Demographers use an Index of Segregation (ranging from 0 to 100) to summarize to what extent two groups are concentrated in different parts of an urban area," said Logan. "Values in the range of 40-50 have typically been found for Hispanics and whites in the U.S.; these are considered moderate in comparison to typical scores for black-white segregation.

"But index values rose by 6-8 points in both Houston (now 58) and Dallas (now 57), higher than black-white segregation in several Texas cities."

Recently released figures from the 2000 Census reveal that the Hispanic population grew by nearly 80% in Houston (an increase of over half a million) since 1990, while more than doubling in Dallas, Fort Worth, and Austin. In San Antonio, where Hispanics were already the single largest ethnic group in 1990, they now are a population majority.

In the principal metropolitan centers along the border with Mexico (El Paso, Mcallen-Edinburg-Mission, and Brownsville-Harlingen), Hispanics' growth has been more modest, but they maintain super-majorities of 80-90% in these areas.

"Because Hispanics are not only growing but also becoming more segregated, they are reaching unprecedented levels of concentration in Hispanic neighborhoods," said Logan, who termed this pattern "no longer only a border-town phenomenon."

"In places like Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, and Austin, where they are still only 20- 30% of the total population, the average Hispanic lives in a census tract that is 40-50% Hispanic (ten percentage points above the 1990 values). These shifts have been especially abrupt in the central city portions of these metropolitan areas, where the typical Hispanic is now in a Hispanic-majority neighborhood."

Logan observes that the upsurge in Hispanic population has occurred not only in Texas but throughout the U.S. "The Texas case stands out from other major metropolitan areas in the very large proportion of Hispanic residents," he said. "And it is the only part of the country, among states for which data have been released by the Census Bureau, where Hispanic growth has been accompanied by large increases in segregation from non-Hispanic whites."

Established in 1988 to carry out urban research both comparative and historical in scope, the Lewis Mumford Center for Comparative Urban and Regional Research honors the tradition of Lewis Mumford (1895-1990), one of the most distinguished urbanists of the 20th Century. By promoting broad-based collaboration among urban scholars from a variety of fields and geographic settings, the Center's mission is to further Mumford's ideal of local involvement with global vision. Center projects and activities range from international urban conferences, to local planning initiatives, to national endeavors examining urban change over time.

For more University at Albany information, visit our World Wide Web site at https://www.albany.edu.

March 13, 2001


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