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By W. Gardner Selby January 23, 2013

George P. Bush says Texas will be majority Hispanic in six years

Investor George P. Bush, a nephew and grandson to U.S. presidents, elaborated on his intended 2014 run for land commissioner or another statewide office partly by saying it’s important for Republicans to have candidates who understand the Hispanic community.

Bush, whose mother, Columba, is from Mexico, also waved at the state’s demographic changes, saying in an Associated Press interview reported Jan. 12, 2013: "We’ll be majority Hispanic in six years."

That struck us as too soon, though in July 2010, we rated as True a claim that within five to eight to ten years, there would be more Latinos in Texas than there are Anglos. At the time, the San Antonio-based Texas State Data Center said it "is anticipated that the number of Hispanics will exceed the number of Anglos in the state at some point in the coming decade. This benchmark might be achieved a little sooner or a little later if migration is respectively more rapid or more slow than that utilized for this projection."

Our story did not speak to when the majority of residents would be Hispanic.

Latinos have absolutely gained in prominence.

In the 2000 Census, 52 percent of Texans were Anglo, and 32 percent identified themselves as Hispanic or Latino (of any race). In the 2010 U.S. census, Latinos comprised nearly 38 percent of Texas residents with non-Hispanic whites making up about 45 percent of residents and blacks accounting for nearly 12 percent of the population, according to Robert Bernstein, spokesman for the U.S. Census Bureau. As of July 2011 estimates, the Census Bureau says, non-Hispanic whites made up 44.8 percent of the population with individuals of Hispanic origin accounting for 38.1 percent; blacks comprised 12.2 percent, Bernstein said by email.

Separately, we asked the state demographer, Lloyd Potter, about Bush’s statement. By email, he said the data center’s projections suggest Latinos will outnumber any other ethnic group in Texas by 2017 or 2019, depending on growth patterns. Hispanic residents will make up a majority of the population as of 2036 or 2040, he said.

Potter also reminded us that the projections are driven by different possible growth patterns, meaning surprises are always possible. We sought his comment on a Dec. 31, 2012, New York Times news article stating that Hispanic Americans were bearing fewer children than before. Potter saidl: "Our projections factor in trends in changing fertility among all racial and ethnic groups through 2010. In particular, we noted the declining fertility among Hispanic women in the last few years. Of course the caution comes in here, where if fertility among Hispanics declines at a more rapid pace than the trend we used and more rapidly than other racial/ethnic groups, the time it takes for Hispanics become a majority race/ethnic group, or to exceed 50 percent of the population will take longer."

After we gathered these figures, Bush adviser Trey Newton of Austin said by email that George P. Bush had consulted Steve Murdock, a Rice University professor who previously served stints as director of the U.S. Census Bureau and as the Texas state demographer. According to Bush’s notes, Newton said, Hispanics will make up a plurality of the state’s population by 2020 and a majority by 2025.

By telephone, Murdock agreed his latest projections indicate Hispanics will make up a plurality by 2020. But Murdock said the projections suggest Hispanics will not make up a majority until sometime between 2030 and 2040. Of Bush’s comment to the AP, Murdock said: "There may have been some misunderstanding. I am not always as clear as sky."

Our ruling

Bush said Texas will be majority Hispanic in six years.

We suspect Bush was referring to the time that Hispanics become the biggest subgroup of the population, which is projected to occur by 2017 or 2019, according to the state demographer. However, he said "majority," and Hispanics are not projected to make up the majority of residents until 2036 at the earliest.

We rate his quoted claim as Mostly False.

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Our Sources

News article, "AP Interview: George P. Bush weighing run in Texas," The Associated Press, Jan. 12, 2013

Web page, "State and County QuickFacts, Texas," U.S. Census Bureau, last revised Jan. 10, 2013 (accessed Jan. 17, 2013)

Email, response to PolitiFact Texas, Robert Bernstein, public affairs specialist, U.S. Census Bureau, Suitland, Md., Jan. 18, 2013

News article, "Hispanic Pregnancies Fall in U.S. as Women Choose Smaller Families," The New York Times, Dec. 31, 2012

Emails (excerpted), responses to PolitiFact Texas, Lloyd Potter, state demographer, Jan. 16, 2013

Telephone interview, Steve Murdock, director, Hobby Center for the Study of Texas, Jan. 18, 2013

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George P. Bush says Texas will be majority Hispanic in six years

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