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By W. Gardner Selby July 17, 2014

Latinos not (yet) majority of Texans

A Dallas legislator hailed a court ruling about the University of Texas by declaring that most Texans are Latino.

In his July 16, 2014, press release, Democratic state Rep. Roberto Alonzo applauded the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for upholding how UT-Austin employs race as an element in choosing students to admit. Alonzo then called it imperative for UT to do all it can to keep pace with the state’s changing demographics. His statement listed among factors "the fact that Latinos now make up the majority population in Texas."

That didn’t sound right.

Shortly, a spokesman for the U.S. Census Bureau, Robert Bernstein, emailed us that as of July 1, 2013, Hispanics "comprised 38.4% of the total population of Texas." We spotted that Latino percentage estimate on a bureau web page specifying that of the state’s nearly 26.5 million residents at that time, 40 percent were white, 12.4 percent were black or African American and 4.3 percent were Asian.

Separately, the state demographer, Lloyd Potter, advised by email the majority of Texas residents will be Hispanic as soon as 2036 (if migration into Texas from 2000 to 2010 continues at the same pace going forward) or as late as 2049 (if population changes are due solely to in-state births and deaths).

Hispanic residents already comprise the majority of students in Texas public schools. According to a March 2014 report from the Texas Education Agency, some 2.6 million Hispanic students accounted for 51 percent of the state’s more than 5 million students in 2012-13--and Hispanic students have been the majority in Texas schools since 2010-11, a chart shows. In 2012-13, white students made up 30 percent of public school enrollment, the report said, with African American students making up nearly 13 percent and Asians nearly 4 percent.

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By telephone, Alonzo conceded his error. Minutes later, a revised release arrived by email, quoting Alonzo as saying: "Considering the fact that Latinos now make up  a significant portion (38%) of the population in Texas, coupled with the continuing growth of Latinos in our Texas public schools compared to the low Latino enrollment at UT Austin and the lack of Latinos in professional employment and leadership positions, it is imperative that this flagship institution of higher learning do all it can to improve and keep pace with the changing, diverse demographics."

Our ruling

Alonzo said Latinos comprise the majority of Texas residents.

That’s incorrect. Individuals who identify as Latino are close to surpassing the share of Texans solely identified as white, but no single ethnic group makes up the majority of Texas residents.

We rate this since-corrected claim as False.

FALSE – The statement is not accurate.

Click here for more on the six PolitiFact ratings and how we select facts to check.

Our Sources

Press release and revised press release, "Rep. Alonzo Applauds 5th U.S. Court Ruling on UT Admissions," state Rep. Roberto Alonzo, July 16, 2014 (received by email, respectively, at 11:41 a.m. and 3:33 p.m.)

Email, Robert Bernstein, public affairs specialist, U.S. Census Bureau, July 16, 2014

Web page, "State and County Quick Facts, Texas," U.S. Census Bureau, last revised July 8, 2014 (accessed July 16, 2014)

Email, Lloyd Potter, Texas state demographer, July 17, 2014

Chart showing projected changes in Hispanic population in Texas, Texas State Data Center (received by email from Lloyd Potter, July 17, 2014)

Report, "Enrollment in Texas Public Schools 2012-13 Statewide," Texas Education Agency, March 2014 (downloaded July 17, 2014)

Telephone interview, Roberto Alonzo, Dallas, July 16, 2014

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Latinos not (yet) majority of Texans

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