What will the census say about the Houston area?

December 31, 2009 9:19:30 PM PST
We're rolling into a new decade, and that means every resident of the United States will be counted. In March, you will be asked to participate in the census. And your answers can have an effect on everything from jobs to hospitals to public transportation.

Just how many people call the Houston area home? In the 2000 census, there were more than 4.5 million people in the Houston metro area. The city has grown, but by how much and where?

Professor Stephen Klineberg of Rice University's sociology department has been studying Houston's changing population for years.

"Houston is at the center of the demographic revolution that is transforming America," he said.

Professor Klineberg says expect a major increase in the Hispanic, Asian and African-American populations while the Anglo population will remain flat.

"Had Houston not been one of the great magnets for immigration, Houston would have lost population, had the same fade as major American cities that are losing their status as major cities, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Detroit," said Dr. Klineberg.

While demographers have an idea of what this census will show, getting the best official number possible is what really counts. Census numbers are key in not only telling us where we are as a city, state and country, but also in allocating billions of federal dollars for local programs from infrastructure to hospitals and schools.