PSTX Seal

Comments (III)

Thank you. It’s a pleasure to be here and an honor to be considered among these very distinguished scholars here today.

My job is to bring the discussion down to a more local level, to a Texas level, but before I do that, I want to put out a warning that when you have this many demographers together you need to be very careful about believing us too much.

That is, I remember that my very first book on population projections had a very important footnote at the bottom of the first page that said that a wise demographer once said that no demographer should ever make a projection for a period that he or she did not expect to exceed his or her own lifetime, meaning he or she did not have to be around to answer for the accuracy of the projections that had been made.

The second thing I think you should be aware of is that when you look at projections, they are generally less accurate for smaller areas, which means literally that you should probably believe Dr. Lutz and Professor Rostow a great deal, John somewhat, and me hardly at all, because I want to talk about a single state, Texas.

I believe that the world population patterns have both direct and exemplary, if you will, implications for Texas. Whatever the projections are, and they vary somewhat from one source to another, but if you look at somewhere between a 2.5 to 4.0 billion increase in the world’s population between now and the middle of this century, I think there is no doubt that this has implications for areas such as Texas because of several key characteristics of the Texas population.

Texas is growing about 2 percent per year. In Texas and the Unites States as a whole immigration plays a major role in population growth, and as you probably know, the United States is the largest recipient of immigrants in the world. Texas is one of the major players when it comes to immigrants to the United States. We received the third largest number of immigrants in the 1990s, and if you look at undocumented immigration, the most recent estimates from the INS are that we are the second largest recipient. This suggests to me that Texas is likely to continue to have significant growth as a result of world population growth.

So I think it is important to realize that this suggests to some of us that the population of Texas may essentially double in the next 35 to 40 years.

Well, there are other implications beyond enhancing the state’s level of growth, and that is if you look at the characteristics of immigrants to the United States, they accentuate yet another major demographic pattern for Texas, and they maintain yet a third pattern for Texas. They accentuate the very rapid diversification of our population, which I will talk about this afternoon, because a majority of immigrants are from Latin America or Asia.

And if you look at Texas, Texas has the second largest Hispanic population and the fourth largest Asian population, which are the major immigrant groups immigrating to the United States. I think all the major patterns that we see in terms of the world will have implications for continued population growth and diversity in Texas.

The other factor that they bear on is that we are a relatively young state with a relatively young population, and immigrants tend to be young adults. They tend to be young adults with children, and this will likely maintain a somewhat younger profile for Texas population.

Another example of the effect of world demographic change is that if you look at the world in terms of developing and developed countries—a term that I don’t like very much but that we continue to use in the demographic literature—what you see is one set of countries, developed countries that are primarily of European heritage in one form or another whose problems are increasingly going to be those of the aged.

You see another set of countries, the developing countries, whose racial and ethnic profiles are different from the first set. It includes Asian countries, Latin American countries, African countries, and for these countries the challenge is one of education, of creating educational and employment opportunities as they go forward in trying to develop their societies.

What do the world’s demographic developments suggest for Texas? I will argue in my presentation this afternoon that those two components are similar to the two segments of the Texas population—one of which is an aging Anglo population, another of which is a young minority population—and the needs and the resources of the two are very, very different.

So in a kind of final sense, what these national or international patterns suggest to me for Texas is that the challenges for Texas are likely to continue to be very intense as we go forward in time. And I have a friend who—thinking about e-economies and this sort of thing— talks about the e-needs of Texas, the four e-needs of Texas. He says those are education, the need to ensure accessibility and attainment in the education of our youth. He talks about economic competitiveness and ensuring through that education and training that all Texans are competitive in this the twenty-first century.

Third, he talks about the e of equity and the issue of increasing the equity among Texans as we go forward in time. And fourth, he talks about something that our next session is going to talk a great deal about, and that is environmental quality and the need to ensure environmental quality in Texas.

Well, we could talk a lot more than this. I will just sum up with one other factor. It’s interesting as we look at world patterns that are taking place to note that in many ways, as we look at the demographic patterns that we will spend more time looking at this afternoon, that what is happening to Texas’s population is that we are internationalizing our population in the same way that our economy is being internationalized.

I think it’s important to recognize that you can take that analogy a little bit farther. I’m often asked, “Aren’t we going to have an unusual population in 2030 or 2050?” It is not the population of Texas in 2030 or 2050—that will be much more diverse and have many different characteristics than the population of today—that is really going to be the unusual or different population. It is the population that we have had that has been out of sync with the characteristics of the world’s population and the characteristics even of the national population. The population of Texas in the future will be much more like the world’s population, reflecting our economic and demographic involvement in the world’s economy.

Thank you.