The United States is undergoing a remarkable and profound demographic shift, with Texas on the frontlines. The population of Texas—a longtime red state—has increased more than 20 percent over the past decade, with the vast majority of this growth coming from communities of color. Between 2000 and 2010 people of color accounted for 89 percent of the state’s total population increase of 4.3 million people. What’s more, according to the Census Bureau, Texas is one of five states where people of color make up the majority of the population. County after county, the racial population of these communities demonstrates the shifting demographics of the Lone Star State.
Texas’s increasingly diverse electorate has significant implications on the state’s political impact going forward. It’s clear with Texas’s growing diverse constituency that communities of color will have significant influence in future elections. Preliminary analysis of the 2012 election illustrates that the county-level margins of the Democratic stronghold are expanding beyond the major cities to neighboring suburb counties. With such a diverse state population, the equally diverse electorate is a force to be reckoned with, as Texas’s 38 electoral votes are on the table in the coming decades.
A Democratic-leaning Texas may seem far-fetched, judging from its long history as a red state, but as the 2012 presidential election showed the political clout and voices of communities of color, such a shift appears almost inevitable. As these constituencies continue to grow, Texas may become a battleground state and become “blue” sooner than previously thought.
The interactive map below highlights the changing racial demographics by county in the state of Texas alongside the voting patterns in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections.
Angeline Vuong is a Project Manager for the Immigration and Progress 2050 Action teams at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.