Immigration to Texas
The views expressed on this page are those of individual authors and may not reflect the views of the U.S. government. The information contained herein should be used for information purposes only.
Texas is the second largest state both in terms of size and population. The geography in Texas ranges from piney woods to prairie lands to deserts. Texas has a long history as the center of the US cattle industry and thus is associated with the image of the cowboy. Oil was discovered in Texas near the turn of the 19th century and continues to be a major economic source for the state. Texas also has a growing base in high tech software and hardware (electronic component) development. Texas’s economy is primarily based in agriculture and industry. The main agricultural commodities produced include: cattle, dairy products, nursery stock, poultry, sorghum, corn and wheat. The main industrial sectors include: chemical products, petroleum and natural gas, food processing, electric equipment, machinery, mining and tourism.
Immigration to Texas
As of 2006, it is estimated (FAIR) that the immigrant population of Texas is 3,569,825 which equates to approximately 15.2% of the state’s population. The overwhelming majority of immigrants are from Mexico (64.8%, Vietnam, El Salvador, India, China (including Hong Kong and Taiwan), Philippines, Canada, U.K., Korea and Honduras account for another 18.8% of the immigrants to Texas.
There has been an increase in the foreign-born population both through new immigrant residents in the state as well as through the children born to immigrants. It is estimated the immigrant population and immigrant births are adding nearly 3,569,825 persons to Texas every year equating to 52.1% of the state’s overall population increase.
The 2000 Census reports 2,899,642 immigrant residents in Texas. This is an increase of 90.2% over the1990 foreign-born population recorded at 1,524,436 immigrants. This increase is significantly higher than the 16.1% increase in the native-born population for the state of Texas. An indication of the change in the immigrant population in Texas may be seen from the 2000 Census where the share of non-English speakers at home increased to 31.2% up from 25.4% recorded in 1990. Additionally, 44.4% of those who said they spoke a language other than English at home also said they spoke English less than very well.
Texas’s naturalization rate of 31.5% is lower than the national average of 40.1% based upon data recorded during the 2000 Census. This is one of the lowest rates in the country and is lower than the 1990 naturalization rate of 33.8%, indicating an influx of new immigrants including illegal immigrants. The educational level of Texas residents is just below the US average according to data collected in the 2000 Census.
Educational Summary for Texas
- High school graduate: 75.7% (US Average 80.4%)
- Some college or more: 50.8% (US Average 51.8%)
- Bachelor’s degree or more: 23.2% (US Average 24.4%)
- Advanced degree: 7.6% (US Average 8.9%)
Illegal Immigration to Texas
As of 2007, FAIR estimates the state’s illegal alien population at about 1,740,000 persons which equates to less to approximately 7.4 percent of the overall population. The annual fiscal cost to Texas taxpayers for emergency medical care, education and incarceration projected by FAIR is currently $4.67 billion and is estimated to rise to $8.01 billion per year in 2010 and $14.04 billion per year in 2020.
Due to rising protests over immigration issues, Texas lawmakers have proposed a series of bills that will deny public assistance and other benefits to the children of illegal immigrants. National laws for stricter border patrol enforcement are also being proposed which would greatly affect illegal immigrants and the illegal immigrant migration to Texas.
Texas Immigration Statistics
- Texas’s immigrant population increased by nearly 23% between 2000 and 2006.
- In 2005, housing authorities reported over 401,000 of Texas households were defined as crowded or severely crowded. Studies by the Urban Institute in 2001 indicate a rise in crowded housing often correlates with in increase in the number of immigrant residents.
- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2007 Texas’s unemployment rate is 4.5% just below the national average of 5.0%.