U.S. Census shows Houston grew faster than other areas, which could benefit region

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- New U.S. Census Bureau data shows, unlike the majority of the country, southeast Texas grew in last decade - which could bring more money and representation to our area.

U.S. POPULATION SLOWS LAST DECADE

The U.S. Census Bureau delivered the report months later than normal because of the pandemic, but that wasn't the only thing that was delayed.

The overall U.S. population grew at its second-lowest amount since the recession of the 1930s.

The majority of counties across the country saw a decrease, but that wasn't the case in southeast Texas. Houston's population grew by nearly 10% from the 2010 census.

That's the second-largest amount, trailing Phoenix, Arizona. Since 2000, Houston has experienced a 17% population increase.

The Lone Star State is becoming more diverse. The non-Hispanic, white population is 39.7%, just slightly larger than the Hispanic population at 39.3%.

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The study finds the rural disadvantage in life expectancy continues to grow with cardiovascular disease as the main culprit, even more so than recent increases in drug overdose deaths.



HOUSTON'S GROWTH COULD MEAN MORE FEDERAL FUNDING AND REPRESENTATION

Each decade, the U.S. Census helps the federal government determine where billions should be spent. With more people moving to southeast Texas, Rice University Political Science professor Mark Jones said it could greatly benefit the region.

"Many federal formulas with things ranging from formulas to health, to education, to social welfare are based on the census data," Jones explained.

In addition to money, Houston could get more representation. The Lone Star State is set to gain two congressional seats.

More people living in southeast Texas also means more state lawmakers will be located in the area, according to Jones.

"Since the population has grown in the triangle, Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin, and comparatively decreased in west Texas, we're going to see a higher concentration in state House and state Senate districts in the areas where the population has grown," Jones explained.

IT'S UNCLEAR WHO WILL DECIDE THE NEW VOTING DISTRICTS

The Texas Legislature is tasked with drawing up redistricting for federal and state races, but it may not happen this year.

Gov. Greg Abbott is supposed to call a special session this fall for lawmakers to work on redistricting. The problem is, lawmakers are currently in a special session that remains stalled.

The majority of House Democrats remain out of Austin, preventing a quorum. If they don't return to redistrict, a committee and courts will decide district lines.

"At the end of the day, I would think the public would prefer those legislators, who can be held accountable by the voters, be the ones who end up making those maps, but we need quorum for the legislature to work," State Rep. Jacey Jetton (R-Sugar Land) said.
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