HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The 2020 census data released Thursday showed the population of Texas grew by four million people from the 2010 census.
That increase made Texas one of the fastest-growing states in the country, and will lead to greater representation on the federal level.
“The Texas congressional delegation went up from 36 to 38, making our electoral college total of 40,” explained Dr. Terence Garrett, a political science professor at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.
The Hispanic population was a big part of that increase, growing by around two million over the past ten years.
“The Hispanic population is now at just about the same percentage as the non-Hispanic white population of the state,” said Alex Dominguez, a state representative from Texas’ 37th district in Brownsville.
Hispanics account for 11.4 million of the states roughly 29 million people. Non-Hispanic whites number 11.6 million.
Texas had four cities, Frisco, McKinney, New Braunfels, and Conroe, in the top ten fastest-growing cities in the country.
Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas are all in the top ten largest cities in the country.
Hidalgo County grew by around 100,000 people between 2010 and 2020, the majority of them Hispanic. Local lawmakers hope to see the increase in Hispanics in the state have in an increase in representation.
“We’d like to see that the distribution of congressional and state house seats should reflect the demographic shifts,” said Dominguez.
Dr. Garrett said that it was uncertain if that would be the case because states with larger population clusters often don’t get the representation they deserve.
“For example: Alaska, which has fewer people than Hidalgo County is entitled to one representative even though they don’t have the requisite number to have one, but they’re entitled to one as a state,” said Dr. Garrett.
Dominguez, who has remained in Washington D.C. since a group of 50 Democratic state representatives left the state to stop a voting bill in July, said part of the reason some of the Democrats have remained is to combat issues like gerrymandering which contribute to voter suppression.
The group of Democrats have been working to garner support for the For the People Act, which “includes provisions to provide for more fair distribution during redistricting so that there are not as many gerrymandered districts out there.”
While the census data was released already, the redistricting process that takes place after it is released will have to wait a little longer.
Governor Abbott called a second special session on August 7, which will last an additional 30 days from that point. After this special session ends, the Governor will have to call another one in order to have the Senate and House redistricting committees work on drawing the district lines.
Dominguez said that a special session would take place either in September or October.