Based on recent population growth figures, you should probably get ready for more traffic. Photo courtesy of TxDOT

Texas is edging closer to a milestone — a population of 30 million.

Estimates released December 21 by the U.S. Census Bureau show the population of Texas grew 1.1 percent between July 1, 2020, and July 1, 2021. During that period, the state added 310,288 residents, going from 29,217,653 to 29,527,941. The tally takes into account births, deaths, people moving to Texas, and people moving out of Texas.

Texas ranked first among the states for the number of residents added from 2020 to 2021, which worked out to 850 new residents per day, and seventh for percentage growth. At 2.9 percent, Idaho ranked first for percentage growth.

If Texas maintains a year-to-year growth rate of at least 1.1 percent, the state might break the 30 million mark sometime in 2022. Driving the state’s continued population explosion are people of color, who’ve made up 91 percent of new Texas residents in the 21st century, according to The Texas Tribune.

Lloyd Potter, the state demographer, says it’s conceivable that Texas could be home to 30 million residents in 2022.

“However, our rate of growth has slowed noticeably between 2020 and 2021, with lower fertility, higher mortality, and less international migration. If we add the same number of people estimated to have been added between 2020 and 2021, then it looks like we’ll come up a bit short of 30 million in 2022,” Potter says.

Throughout the country, the COVID-19 pandemic helped drag down population growth from July 2020 to July 2021. The U.S. population rose just 0.1 percent during that period — the smallest one-year increase since the nation was founded.

“Population growth has been slowing for years because of lower birth rates and decreasing net international migration, all while mortality rates are rising due to the aging of the nation’s population,” Kristie Wilder, a demographer at the Census Bureau, says in a news release. “Now, with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, this combination has resulted in a historically slow pace of growth.”

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This article originally ran on CultureMap.

The Bayou City is one of the three U.S. metro areas to gain at least 1.2 million residents over the decade. Photo via Getty Images

Houston boasts massive population growth among major U.S. metros from 2010 to 2020

there here

If the massive influx of Newstonians is any clue, the population of Greater Houston keeps exploding.

New figures from the U.S. Census Bureau put that growth into clearer perspective. Data from the 2020 Census released August 12 shows Houston at No. 5 (20.3 percent) among the country's 50 largest metro areas in the biggest jump in population from 2010 to 2020.

Houston maintains its position at No. 5 (7,122,240 residents), the Census data notes. For some perspective, Houston was No. 8 (4,944,332) in the 2010 Census.

The Bayou City is also one of the three U.S. metro areas to gain at least 1.2 million residents over the decade. (Dallas-Fort Worth and New York are the others.)

Harris County picked up at least 300,000 residents (638,686) between 2010 and 2020. Tarrant County in North Texas also owns that distinction.

Elsewhere in Texas, Austin now ranks as the 28th most populous metro area in the U.S. (2,283,371 residents), surpassing Las Vegas (ranked 29th, with 2,265,461 residents) and inching closer to 27th-ranked Pittsburgh (2,370,930 residents).

Among the country's 50 largest metro areas, Austin notched the biggest jump in population from 2010 to 2020 (33 percent), with Dallas-Fort Worth at No. 6 (20 percent), and San Antonio at No. 7 (19.4 percent). Austin ranked second among metro areas of all sizes for population growth during the decade, trailing only The Villages, Florida, a 55-and-over retirement community (39 percent).

Dallas-Fort Worth remains the country's fourth largest metro area (7,637,387 residents counted in the 2020 Census) and San Antonio still ranks 24th (2,558,143 residents).

All four of the state's major metros moved up the ranks of the biggest U.S. regions from 2010 to 2020.

Following the 2010 Census, Dallas-Fort Worth was the country's sixth largest metro area (5,121,892 residents), San Antonio stood at No. 26 (1,758,210), and Austin was 37th (1,362,416). In just 10 years, Austin climbed nine spots up the metro population ladder.

Meanwhile, Fort Worth ranked as the fastest-growing big city in Texas between 2010 and 2020 (24 percent), followed by Austin (21.7 percent), Houston (9.8 percent), Dallas (8.9 percent), and San Antonio (8.1 percent).

"Many counties within metro areas saw growth [from 2010 to 2020], especially those in the South and West. However, as we've been seeing in our annual population estimates, our nation is growing slower than it used to," Marc Perry, senior demographer at the Census Bureau, says in a news release.

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The most at-risk areas are in poorer industrial parts of Houston. Getty Images

Texas researchers map out parts of Houston most vulnerable to COVID-19

zooming in

A group of researchers from the University of Texas and the University of Houston have created a mapping tool for identifying which parts of the greater Houston area are at the greatest risk from COVID-19.

"The map offers a comparative look at vulnerabilities across Harris County, and could help policy makers determine how to allocate coronavirus tests and health and safety resources," says Amin Kiaghadi, a research associate at UT's Oden Institute for Computational Engineering & Sciences and postdoctoral fellow at the University of Houston, in a news release.

The study, which is posted on MedRxiv, looked into access to health care, pollutant exposure, and medical insurance coverage. Kiaghadi and two UH professors, Hanadi Rifai and Winston Liaw, concluded that the areas most at risk were in the east and northeastern parts of town — especially industrial areas and high-traffic waterways.

The research showed that the highest risk areas were identified as poorer communities, like the area near the Houston Ship Channel. Consequently, populations with lower risk are in the far west areas of Harris County, which tend to be considered nicer areas. According to the release, around 17 percent of the county's population falls into a risk category.

"I'm really interested to see how decision makers look at these maps," Kiaghadi continues. "They can say 'this specific area is vulnerable to many different things—people living there have lower income, they have or they don't have access to the medical care— and that can change the way that they distribute the resources."

Kiaghadi usually focuses on floodwaters spread contamination, and he postulates that his work in this field had an application within the pandemic.

"We believe that if you're exposed to some chemicals for a long time or you were living in an area with bad air quality, that can affect your immune system long term and then make you more vulnerable to a disease like COVID-19," Kiaghadi says. "So we decided to take a new approach here and show that these factors should be considered."

Based on census data, the map is divided up into 786 polygons and looks into 46 different variables in five categories:

  1. People with limited access to hospitals and medical care.
  2. People with underlying medical conditions.
  3. People with exposures to environmental pollutants.
  4. People in areas vulnerable to natural disasters and flooding.
  5. People with specific lifestyle factors, like obesity, drinking and smoking.

According to the release, the researchers formulated the map within just a couple weeks.

"We already had a lot of knowledge and experience working with this sociodemographic data, and population vulnerability to the flaws in the environment and exposure," Kiaghadi says. "So we felt like, this is totally related to our research, so why not explore what it means?"

The map is broken down by 786 census tracts. Graphic via utexas.edu

Houston added more than a million people in the last decade. Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Bayou City comes close to topping Census Bureau's list for greatest population boom in the country

so popular

The Lone Star State is proving quite popular, at least according to the U.S. Census Bureau. As reported by numbers released on March 26, Texas is home to cities with the fastest-growing large metro area in the nation and the biggest numeric gain of residents.

Those would be Austin and Dallas-Fort Worth, respectively. And we'll delve into their numbers in a minute, because first it's time to talk about Houston.

H-Town actually nipped at DFW's heels in terms of the numeric population gain from 2010 to 2019. In that time, the Houston area picked up 1,145,654 residents, the second highest total among U.S. metros. That's around the number of people who live in the Buffalo, New York, metro area.

Houston stills holds the No. 5 position on the list of the largest U.S. metro areas. The bureau put its 2019 population at 7,066,141, up 19.4 percent from 2010.

Austin, meanwhile, saw its population shoot up 29.8 percent between 2010 and 2019, landing at 2,227,083 as of July 1, 2019. Put another way, the Austin area added 510,760 residents during the one-decade span.

From 2018 to 2019 alone, the Austin area's population rose 2.8 percent, the Census Bureau says. Numerically, the one-year increase was 61,586 (taking into account births, deaths, new arrivals to the area, and people moving away). That works out to 169 people per day.

Helping drive the Austin area's population spike from 2010 to 2019 were two of the country's fastest-growing counties. Hays County ranked as the second-fastest growing county in the U.S. (46.5 percent) in the past decade, the Census Bureau says, with Williamson County at No. 9 (39.8 percent).

In terms of numeric growth, Travis County ranked 10th in the country from 2010 to 2019 with the addition of 249,510 residents, according to the Census Bureau.

While Austin was the fastest-growing major metro area from 2010 to 2019, Dallas-Fort Worth topped the Census Bureau list for the biggest numeric gain. During that period, DFW welcomed 1,206,599 residents. To put that into perspective, that's about the same number of people who live in the entire Salt Lake City metro area.

On July 1, 2019, DFW's population stood at 7,573,136, up 19 percent from 2010. It remains the country's fourth largest metro, behind New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago.

Although the San Antonio metro area didn't make the top 10 for percentage or numeric growth from 2010 to 2019, two of the region's counties appeared among the 10 fastest-growing counties:

  • Ranked at No. 4, Comal County's population jumped 43.9 percent.
  • Ranked at No. 5, Kendall County's population rose 42.1 percent.

In the previous decade, the San Antonio area's population climbed 19.1 percent, winding up at 2,550,960 in 2019, the Census Bureau says. Over the 10-year period, the region added 408,440 residents.

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This article originally ran on CultureMap.

Texas added more residents from mid-2018 through mid-2019 than any other state. Marco Bicci/Getty Images

Texas added more residents than any other state in past year

Growing gains

Yes, everything is bigger in Texas — including population growth. From mid-2018 to mid-2019, the Lone Star State added more residents than any other state, new estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau show.

From July 2018 to July 2019, the population of Texas grew by 367,215, according to Census Bureau data released December 30. That's close to the number of people who live in the Dallas-Fort Worth suburb of Arlington (398,112).

Keep in mind that this does not mean nearly 370,000 people moved to Texas in just one year. The Census Bureau's new population estimates represent the number of people who moved to and moved out of each state, as well as the number of births versus deaths.

Texas' 2018-19 population growth eclipsed that of the country's largest state, California.

The Golden State saw its population increase by just 50,635 during the one-year period, the Census Bureau says. What's behind the meager growth? From 2018 to 2019, California's net domestic migration plunged by 203,414. Net domestic migration represents the number of people moving to a state versus the number of people moving out of a state.

Here's another eye opener: Texas accounted for nearly one-fourth of the country's population growth from 2018 to 2019 (1,552,022 people). In that time, 10 states lost population, including Illinois, New Jersey, and New York.

In July 2018, the Texas population stood at an estimated 28,628,666. By July 2019, that figure had climbed to 28,995,881, the Census Bureau says. On a percentage basis, Texas' 2018-19 population growth (1.28 percent) ranked fifth among the states.

Perhaps more impressive is how much Texas expanded from April 2010 (when the last official U.S. headcount was conducted) to July 2019. During that period, Texas added 3,849,790 residents, according to the Census Bureau. To put that into perspective, nearly 4 million people live in the entire state of Oklahoma. Texas' population jumped 15.3 percent from 2010 to 2019, the third highest growth rate behind the District of Columbia and Utah.

Experts cite economic and job growth — along with a low cost of living, a low cost of doing business, and low taxes compared with many other states — as drivers of Texas' population boom. Helping fuel the boom are substantial population spikes in the state's four largest metro areas: Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio.

In 2030, the state's population is projected to approach 34.9 million, according to a forecast from the Texas Demographic Center.

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This article originally ran on CultureMap.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

3 Houston innovators to know this week

who's who

Editor's note: Every week, I introduce you to a handful of Houston innovators to know recently making headlines with news of innovative technology, investment activity, and more. This week's batch includes a podcast with the founder of a new venture firm, a former astronaut and recent award recipient, and a health care innovator with fresh funding.

Zach Ellis, founder and managing partner of South Loop Ventures

Zach Ellis explains on the Houston Innovators Podcast that South Loop Ventures plans to invest in promising companies from across the country and bring them into Houston's ecosystem to grow and scale. Photo via LinkedIn

Houston has a lot of the right ingredients for commercialization and scaling up companies, so when Zach Ellis moved to town to stand up a venture capital firm that made investments in diverse founders, he decided to go about it in an innovative way.

South Loop Ventures, which Ellis launched two years ago, invests in pre-seed and seed-stage startups across health care, climatetech, aerospace, sports, and fintech. While the first handful of investments, which have already been made, are into Houston-based companies, Ellis explains on the Houston Innovators Podcast that the firm plans to invest in promising companies from across the country and bring them into Houston's ecosystem to grow and scale.

"Any investor wants to feel like they are looking at the best possible investment opportunities in which to deploy capital," Ellis says on the show. "So that's reason No. 1 to cast your net as widely as possible.

"At the same time, you want to give any investment that you make greatest chances of success," he continues. "The biggest factor of success outside of the team and the capital you give them, is the customers that they can call upon. In bringing targeted companies to Houston or connecting them with Houston, you introduce the opportunity for them to achieve rapid scale and work with world-class partners very efficiently." Read more.


Toby R. Hamilton, founder and CEO of Hamilton Health Box

Dr. Toby Hamilton has secured $10 million to grow his company. Photo via tmc.edu

A Houston company that is working on a value-based model for primary care has fresh funding to support its mission.

Hamilton Health Box announced the completion of a $10 million series A funding round led by 1588 Ventures with participation from Memorial Hermann Health System, Impact Ventures by Johnson & Johnson Foundation, Texas Medical Center Venture Fund, and the Sullivan Brothers.

The company, founded in 2019 by Dr. Toby R. Hamilton, will use the funding to fuel its expansion into rural areas to help assist those living in Health Professional Shortage Areas, or HPSAs. Read more.

Ellen Ochoa, former astronaut and center director at the NASA's Johnson Space Center

Ellen Ochoa was recognized for her leadership at NASA Johnson and for being the first Hispanic woman in space. Photo via NASA

Two astronauts recently received Presidential Medals of Freedom from President Joe Biden for their leadership in space.

Ellen Ochoa, the former center director and astronaut at the NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, and Jane Rigby, senior project scientist for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, were honored at the White House on May 3.

Ochoa spent 30 years with NASA, which included being the 11th director of JSC, deputy center director of JSC, and director of Flight Crew Operations. She served on the nine-day STS-56 mission aboard the space shuttle Discovery in 1993, and became the first Hispanic woman in space. She flew four more times to space with STS-66, STS-96, STS-110, and more.

“I’m so grateful for all my amazing NASA colleagues who shared my career journey with me,” Ochoa says in a NASA news release. Read more.

Houston health care institutions receive $22M to attract top recruits

coming to Hou

Houston’s Baylor College of Medicine has received a total of $12 million in grants from the Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas to attract two prominent researchers.

The two grants, which are $6 million each, are earmarked for recruitment of Thomas Milner and Radek Skoda. The Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) announced the grants May 14.

Milner, an expert in photomedicine for surgery and diagnostics, is a professor of surgery and biomedical engineering at the Beckman Laser Institute & Medical Clinic at the University of California, Irvine and the university’s Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center

In 2013, Milner was named Inventor of the Year by the University of Texas at Austin. At the time, he was a professor of biomedical engineering at UT. One of his major achievements is co-development of the MasSpec Pen, a handheld device that identifies cancerous tissue within 10 seconds during surgical procedures.

Skoda is a professor of molecular medicine in the Department of Biomedicine at the University of Basel and the University Hospital Basel, both in Switzerland. He specializes in developing treatments for myeloproliferative neoplasms, which are a group of blood diseases including leukemia.

Other recruitment grants provided by the institute to Houston-area organizations are:

  • $4 million for recruitment of Susan Bullman to the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. She was an assistant professor at Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, where she studied the connection between microbes and cancer.
  • $4 million for recruitment of Oren Rom to the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Rom is an assistant professor of pathology and translational pathobiology at Louisiana State University Shreveport.
  • Nearly $2 million for recruitment of Lauren Hagler to conduct RNA cancer biology at Texas A&M University. She is a postdoctoral scholar in biochemistry at Stanford University.

The institute also awarded grants to five companies in the Houston area:

  • $4.7 million to 7 Hills Pharma for development of immunotherapies to treat cancer and prevent infectious diseases.
  • $4.5 million to Indapta Therapeutics for the Phase 1 trial of a cell therapy for treatment of multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
  • $2.75 million to Bectas Therapeutics for development of antibodies and biomarkers to overcome a type of resistance T-cell checkpoint therapy.
  • $2.69 million to MS Pen Technologies for development of technology that differentiates between normal tissue and cancerous tissue during surgery.
  • $2.58 million to Crossbridge Bio for development of an antibody-drug combination to treat certain solid tumors.