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Where Do Texans Come From? Oklahoma To Mexico To Vietnam

Jimmy Emerson/Flickr

It’s one thing to be a Texan – it’s another to be a native Texan. It’s a badge of pride in these parts. So how many Texans are natives?

The New York Times has produced an interactive look at where people in Texas and other states were born. The Times looked at U.S. Census data from 1900 to 2012.

In 2012, 61 percent of Texans were born in the Lone Star State. But 17 percent were born outside the U.S. – that’s the highest it’s been since 1900.

Meanwhile, in 2012, 6 percent of Texans were born in the Midwest, while 5 percent were born in the West and another 5 percent were born in the South; just 3 percent were born in the Northeast. Don’t forget the 1 percent who were born in Oklahoma.

Credit The New York Times
The New York Times has produced an interactive look at where Texans (and other state residents) were born.

Where are foreign-born Texans coming from?

The Migration Policy Institute has looked at Census data from 2012:

  • More than 4.2 million Texans were foreign-born.
  • 72 percent were born in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean. About 2.5 million were born in Mexico and 175,000 were born in El Salvador.
  • 19 percent were born in Asia. About 180,000 were born in India and 154,000 were born in Vietnam.
  • 4 percent were born in Europe. About 46,000 were born in the United Kingdom.
  • Nearly 4 percent were born in Africa. About 61,000 were born in Western Africa.

The Texas Tribune has reported on the growing foreign-born population in Texas.

How about earlier years?

  • In 1990, 65 percent of Texans were born in Texas, while 10 percent were born outside the country.
  • In 1970, 74 percent of Texans were born in Texas, while 4 percent were born outside the country.
  • In 1940, 79 percent of Texans were born in Texas, while 4 percent were born outside the country.

Texas’ population keeps growing

Regardless of where people are coming from, the Lone Star State keeps booming. The state’s population increased by more than 4 million between 2000 and 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau says. More than 25 million people lived in Texas in 2010. The population has only grown since. In 2013, more than 26 million people lived in the Lone Star State.

In 2013, seven of the 15 fastest-growing cities in the country were in Texas, the U.S. Census Bureau reports. Two North Texas cities made the top 15 -- Frisco was No. 2 and McKinney was No. 13. Elsewhere, San Marcos was No. 1; Cedar Park was No. 4; Georgetown was No. 7; Odessa was No. 11 and Pearland was No. 15.

Five of 15 cities with the largest numeric increase were also in Texas – Dallas was ranked No. 10 with nearly 16,000 new residents from July 2012 to July 2013. Fort Worth was ranked No. 13 with an increase of more than 14,000 residents. Other Texas cities on the top 15 list: Houston, San Antonio and Austin.

Credit Texas Comptroller's Office/
A look at the growth in Texas population from 2000 to 2010.

Why are people coming here?

There are jobs. “Texas experienced stronger job growth than the rest of the nation from 2000 to 2013, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas,” The Washington Post reports. Many jobs in Texas are low-paying. “In 2013, Texas’ proportion of hourly-paid workers earning at or below the federal minimum wage ranked fifth among the 50 states and the District of Columbia,” a Bureau of Labor Statistics report says. But a report by the Dallas Fed states that Texas leads the country in creating jobs at all pay levels and “creates more high-wage than low-wage jobs.”

The BBC explored 10 reasons why folks are moving to Texas. The BBC cited job growth, a low cost of living, and low taxes, among others.

People don’t want to leave

Nearly 70 percent of Texas residents who were polled say their state is the best place to live in the country -- that's one of the highest rates in the United States. Meanwhile, only 24 percent of Texas residents -- or about one in four -- say they would like to move out of the state if they could. That’s among one of the lowest rates of any state in the country. That’s according to several recent Gallup Polls.

Eric Aasen is KERA’s managing editor. He helps lead the station's news department, including radio and digital reporters, producers and newscasters. He also oversees, the station’s news website, and manages the station's digital news projects. He reports and writes stories for the website and contributes pieces to KERA radio. He's discussed breaking news live on various public radio programs, including The Takeaway, Here & Now and Texas Standard, as well as radio and TV programs in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.