February 20, 2012
By Juan Castillo
More than 1 in 3 Latino residents in the Austin metro area were under 18 in 2010, an increase from 2000 and the highest percentage in that age category among racial and ethnic groups.
Meanwhile, about 1 in 10 white residents were 65 or older, also an increase from 2000 and the highest percentage in the metro area by race and ethnicity, according to new census race and ethnic demographic data released last week.
The data bolster previously noted demographic trends for the nation, state and Austin area, such as the fast growth of the relatively youthful Hispanic population — they were 43 percent of Central Texans under 18, slightly more than non-Hispanic whites of that age — and the relative graying of the non-Hispanic white population.
Demographers have said those and other indicators portend a scenario in which racial and ethnic minorities will become the U.S. majority by midcentury.
Austin and the metro area experienced profound racial diversification during the past 10 years, but just as significant are the age differentials that came with it, such as the growing young Latino population, City of Austin demographer Ryan Robinson said.
For example, Latinos made up 35 percent of the city's population but well more than half of students in the Austin school district.
"It's not just change that's happening right now; it's change being woven into the future," Robinson said. He said age differences will present challenges and opportunities for educators, social service providers and others to consider.
An American-Statesman analysis of the data released last week shows the highest concentrations of people under 18 in census tracts in far eastern and far western Travis County and in bedroom communities, such as Bee Cave, Lakeway, Kyle, Hutto, Pflugerville, Manor and Round Rock.
However, a few such tracts are in or near Austin's urban core, in the predominantly Hispanic Dove Springs neighborhood in Southeast Austin.
In the Austin metro area, census tract 22.02, an area west of Lake Walter E. Long in Travis County and bounded by Loyola and Decker lanes and U.S. 290, had the highest percentage of children under 18. According to the data, 39.5 percent of the tract's 8,039 people were under 18 in 2010. Hispanics made up 58 percent of the total population there, and African Americans accounted for 35.5 percent.
In census tract 24.13 in the Dove Springs area, nearly 39 percent of the roughly 4,500 people were under 18. The population of the tract, bounded by South Pleasant Valley Road, Nuckols Crossing Road and East St. Elmo Road, was 81 percent Hispanic. The under-18 population was 86.3 percent Hispanic.
The data showed that whites had the highest median age — 34.7 — and Hispanics the lowest — 26.1 — in the five-county metro area. The median age for blacks in 2010 was 31.2; among Asians it was 31.1.
In 2010, 34.5 percent of the total of 538,313 Hispanic residents in the Austin metro area were under 18, and 3.7 percent were 65 or older, the smallest percentage in that category among racial and ethnic groups.
Among non-Hispanic whites, 23 percent of the total of 1,250,332 were under 18, and 9.5 percent were 65 or older.
After Hispanics, African Americans had the next-highest percentages of people under 18, 28.2 percent of the total of 127,397. They also had the next-highest percentage of people 65 or older, at 6.6 percent.
About 23 percent of Asians were under 18; 4.7 percent were 65 or older.
According to the census, the Austin metro area's total population in 2010 was 1.7 million.
Racial and ethnic subtotals don't add up to that because people can identify themselves as being of more than one race. Hispanics can be of any race.
Looked at another way, the data released last week show that non-Hispanic whites made up nearly 76 percent of the metro area's total number of people 65 or older in 2010.
Among the metro area's total population of children under 18, Hispanics accounted for about 43 percent, and non-Hispanic whites made up about 42 percent.
Texas is among 12 states with non-Hispanic white populations below 50 percent among children under age 5, and in the Austin metro area, white children under 18, a majority of that age group in 2000, became the minority in 2010, according to previously released census data.
The nation's senior population — people 65 or older — is larger than ever, and seniors as a group grew faster than the U.S. population as a whole.
In the Austin metro area, Williamson and Hays were among six Texas counties that saw the senior population grow 70 percent or more.
Analysts say such changes are part of a continuing story now nearly 30 years old — an aging, mainly non-Hispanic white population with low fertility rates and a growing minority population, primarily Hispanic, concentrated in higher-fertility ages.
Much of Texas' growth during the past decade was because of the expanding Hispanic population, particularly in urban centers, including Austin.
A majority of that growth came from births to families already living here, according to analysts.
In Austin, Hispanics and Asians accounted for 71 percent of the population increase since 2000.
Source: Austin American-Statesman