Growth spurt

Texas explodes with 16 percent surge in population, new census data shows

Nearly 4 million people became Texans in the past decade. Courtesy photo

Texas' population swelled so much from 2010 to 2020 that it essentially swallowed a state the size of Oklahoma.

Figures released April 26 by the U.S. Census Bureau show Texas gained 3,999,944 residents from April 2010 to April 2020. By comparison, the entire population of Oklahoma totaled 3,959,353 in April 2020. Those nearly 4 million new residents brought Texas' population to 29,145,505 as of April 2020.

Buoyed by a spike in the Hispanic population and an influx of out-of-state and international arrivals, Texas led the nation for the sheer number of residents added from the every-10-years headcount in 2010 to the headcount in 2020. Florida ranked second in that category (2,736,877), and California ranked third (2,284,267).

"The growth for Texas was a little bit slower than expected, which may be a function of lower fertility rates post-Great Recession and slower international migration," Lloyd Potter, the Texas state demographer, tells CultureMap.

California still remains the biggest state as measured by population (39,538,223). However, the Quartz news website reported in 2019 that Texas' population could surpass California's by 2045.

Meanwhile, Texas holds the No. 3 position for percentage population growth from 2010 to 2020, according to Census Bureau data. The state's population shot up by 15.9 percent during that period, behind only Utah (18.4 percent) and Idaho (17.3 percent). By contrast, California saw its population climb by just 6.1 percent from 2010 to 2020.

As a result of population shifts across the country, Texas will pick up two seats in the U.S. House, bringing its total to 38, the Census Bureau says. Five states will add one seat each: Colorado, Florida, Montana, North Carolina, and Oregon. Seven states will lose one seat each: California, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

Based on earlier population estimates, experts had expected Texas to tack on three congressional seats following the 2020 Census. But Potter says Texas' growth relative to population changes in other states pared the Lone Star State's final tally to two more seats.

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This article originally ran on CultureMap.

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Building Houston

 
 

Kelly Avant, investment associate at Houston-based Mercury Fund, shares how and why she made her way into the venture capital arena. Photo courtesy of Mercury

Kelly Avant didn't exactly pave a linear career path for herself. After majoring in gender studies, volunteering in the Peace Corps, and even attending law school — she identified a way to make a bigger impact: venture capital.

"VC is an awesome way to shape the future in a more positive way because you literally get to wire money to the most innovative thinkers, who are building solutions to the world’s problems," Avant tells InnovationMap.

Avant joined the Mercury Fund team last year as an MBA associate before joining full time as investment associate. Now, after completing her MBA from Rice University this month, Avant tells InnovationMap why she's excited about this new career in investment in a Q&A.

InnovationMap: From law school and the peace corps, what drew you to start a career in the VC world?

Kelly Avant: I graduated from Rice University with an MBA, starting scouting for an investment firm in my first year, and by the summer after my first year I was essentially working full-time interning with Mercury. But, I like to tell people about my undergraduate degree in gender studies and rhetoric from a little ski college in Colorado. If you meet someone else in venture capital with a degree in gender studies, please connect us, but I think I might be the only one. I’ll spare you what I used to think — and say — about business students, but I have really come full circle.

I always thought I would work in a nonprofit space, but after serving in Cambodia with the Peace Corps, working for the National Domestic Violence Hotline, and briefly attending Emory Law School with the intention of becoming a civil rights lawyer.I found that time and time again the root of the problem was a lack of resources. The world’s problems were not going to be solved with my idealism alone.

The problem with operating as a nonprofit in a capitalism is you basically always pandering to the interests of the donors. The NFL was a key sponsor of The National Domestic Violence Hotline. The United States has a complicated, to put it lightly, relationship with Cambodia and Vietnam. It became pretty clear that the donor/nonprofit relationship was oftentimes putting the wrong party in the driver’s seat. I was, and still am, very interested in alternative financing for nonprofits. I became convinced that the most exciting businesses were building solutions to the world’s problems while also turning a profit, which allows them to survive to have a sustainable positive impact.

VC is an awesome way to shape the future in a more positive way because you literally get to wire money to the most innovative thinkers, who are building solutions to the world’s problems.

IM: What are some companies you’re excited about?

KA: There are a couple super interesting founders I’ve met directly engaging with . To name a few: CiviTech, DonateStock, and Polco.

I’m very proud to work on mercury investments like Houston’s own, Topl, which has built an extremely lightweight and energy efficient Blockchain that enables tracking of ethical supply chains from the initial interaction.
I’m also excited about mercury’s investment in Zirtue, which enables relationship based peer to peer lending to solve the massive problem of predatory payday loans.

We have so many awesome founders in our portfolio. The best part about working in VC is meeting passionate innovators every day. I get excited to go to work everyday and help them to build better solutions.

IM: Why are you so passionate about bringing diversity and inclusion into Mercury?

KA: I love working with exciting, highly capable, super smart people. That category includes so many people who have been historically excluded. As an investment team member at Mercury, I do have a voice, and I have an obligation to use that voice to speak highly of the best people in rooms of influence.

IM: With your new role, what are you most focused on?

KA: In my new role, I am identifying and researching high potential investments. We’re building out a Mercury educational series to lift the veil of VC. We want to facilitate a series that gives all founders the basic skills to pass VC due diligence and have the opportunity to build the next innovative companies. My goal is ultimately to produce the best returns possible for our investors, and we can’t accomplish that goal unless we’re building out resources to meet the best founders and help them grow.

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This conversation has been edited for brevity and clarity.

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