05.29.2024 0

Is Texas Turning Blue? Hispanics Bring Higher Birth Rates And Lower Death Rates Than Whites, More Of Whom Are Dying Than Being Born

By Robert Romano

Republicans have carried the state of Texas in every presidential election since 1980, painting the state red as Ronald Reagan won consecutive landslides in 1980 and in 1984.

Democrats last carried the state in 1976 with Jimmy Carter’s 51.1 percent of the vote to Gerald Ford’s 47.97 percent. Before that, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and Hubert Humphrey carried the state in 1960, 1964 and 1968 with 50.5 percent, 63.3 percent and 41.1 percent of the vote (1968 was a three-way race), respectively.

After Carter, it’s been a sea of GOP victories: 55.3 percent to 41.4 percent in 1980. 63.6 percent to 36.1 percent in 1984. 55.6 percent to 43.35 percent in 1988. 40.6 percent to 37.08 percent in 1992. 48.8 percent to 43.8 percent in 1996. 59.3 percent to 37.98 percent in 2000. 61.09 percent to 38.2 percent in 2004. 55.45 percent to 43.7 percent in 2008. 57.2 percent to 41.4 percent in 2012.

But starting in 2016, the size of Republican wins with Donald Trump on ticket began to shrink: 52.2 percent to 43.2 percent in 2016. And 52.06 percent to 46.5 percent in 2020.

Joe Biden’s 46.5 percent showing in 2020 was the best by Democrats since 1976, and Trumps 52 percent showings in 2016 and 2020 were the worst since Ford lost the state in 1976. Is Texas turning blue?

Texas’ diminishing Republican majorities have three principal causes: lower birth rates and higher death rates among whites (aging population), higher birth rates and lower death rates among Hispanics (younger population), and immigration (foreign and domestic).

In 2000, Texas’ white, non-Hispanic population was 10.9 million and the Hispanic population was 6.6 million, according to U.S. Census data.

In 2010, whites were 11.4 million and Hispanics were 9.5 million.

And in 2022, whites were 11.7 million and Hispanics were 12.1 million.

In short, in over twenty years, the white population in Texas, which tends to vote Republican, has grown a mere 800,000 while the Hispanic population, which tends to vote Democratic, has grown by 5.5 million. And so Republican margins of victory are shrinking.

In fact, more whites are dying in Texas every year than are being born, according to Centers for Disease Control data. In 2018, 125,549 whites were born and 128,238 died. In 2019, 124,678 were born and 127,773 died. In 2020, 120,329 were born and 146,573 died. In 2021, 123,452 were born and 158,270 died. And in 2022, 121,868 were born and 147,573 died.

Whereas, with Hispanics, far many more are being born than dying. In 2018, 179,142 were born and just 43,736 died. In 2019, 179,689 were born and 44,937 died. In 2020, 175,940 were born and 65,587 died. In 2021, 177,386 were born and 68,833 died. And in 2022, 190,889 were born and 57,212 died.

So, while the overall Hispanic population is increasing via births and deaths alone by about 120,000 a year in Texas, the white population via births and deaths is not growing at all and in the past three years has been decreasing.

If white Texans had more than two children per woman for most of those years, say 3 or more babies per woman instead of the current 1.5 seen, the population would have increased by an additional 5 million, almost offsetting the 5.5 million additional Hispanics and keeping the state safely Republican.

Instead, white Texans have barely offset their own population, again, at this point more are dying than being born. For those who were hoping restricting abortions in the wake of overturning Roe v. Wade in 2022 might turn the tide, if the 2023 provisional birth rate data is any indication as national and state birth rates are reaching modern history lows, the situation will only accelerate moving forward.  

In fact, any recent increase in the white Texan population at this point has been purely from imports from other states like California. For Republicans, they had better hope those coming from California lean Republican the way the ones from New York were for Florida. Maybe start building more retirement communities.

In the meantime, children statistically tend to adopt the politics of their parents on balance, and generational electoral majorities are principally built by family size.

Anyone who favors the two-party system in the U.S. and rightly fears a one-party system that Republicans losing Texas would entail — it is difficult to build Electoral College offsets for this event. With today’s Census numbers, without Texas, Republicans would have to win Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin to get above 270 Electoral College votes. Losing any one of those would give Democrats a lock on the presidency.

Meaning, Republicans should be paying far more attention to the fertility issue, if for no other reason than self-preservation. Immigration is obviously important too but it’s worth noting once naturalized the question again comes down to live births, and the current laws still favor familial chain migration.

The only available temporary offset is current economics and demographics favor a Republican leaning, aged exodus from blue states (Republicans tend to live in suburbs and many sell their homes and move south when they retire), which might be the only reason Texas isn’t blue already. But that’s only a stopgap.

Once the Baby Boomers die (sadly in about 16-20 years most of them will have passed away), birth rates will have been the factor most determinative of the future electoral landscape. To prevent the U.S. from becoming a one-party banana republic, it looks like it’s time for Republicans to get busy.

Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government Foundation.

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