A major change in migration to Texas will have a significant impact on the state in the decades to come, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
Texas State Demographer Lloyd Potter of UTSA says in many metros, the number of immigrants from Asia has exceeded the number of people arriving here from Mexico, changing a trend which has existed for a century that Mexico supplies the bulk of immigrants to Texas.
He says for the most part, immigration to the U.S. from Mexico is declining.
"At the very least it has leveled off," he said. "At the same time, we've also seen a very significant shift, especially for Texas, of Asian immigrants, especially from China and India, but from other parts of Asia as well."
Research released by the Texas Demographic Center at UTSA shows that in the years 2010 to 2014, Asian immigrants to the Dallas Ft. Worth metro made up 43.9% of all people settling in the metro from other countries. By contrast, immigrations from Mexico and Central America made up just 29.7% of the total immigrant population.
Asian immigrants also outnumbered Mexico and Central America as the country of origin for new immigrants in Austin and Houston.
In metro San Antonio, due to the city's long heritage of Mexican immigration, Mexico and Central America still outnumbers Asian migrants, but not by much, 36.5% to 35.9%.
Mexico has been the country of origin for immigrants into San Antonio every decade since the 1910s, when the Mexican Revolution prompted an exodus and Mexico for the first time ever in Texas surpassed Germany as the top country of origin.
Potter says despite Texas being known as the destination of choice for people across the USA, that changed this decade, with every metropolitan area in the state receiving more immigrants from other nations than from other US states.
That has a lot to do with dislocations across the world caused by wars, famines, and other causes, plus the fact the economy remains strong all across the USA, and fewer people are moving to take new jobs.
Interestingly, outside of the five large metro areas of Texas, the bulk of immigrants remain from Mexico. Experts say a lack of Asian infrastructure and current residents of Asian descent in small towns and in rural Texas makes Asian immigrants more likely to settle in big cities.
He says immigrants, from whatever country, prefer the main county in urban areas, like Bexar County as oppOsed to Kendall or Comal, for several reasons. The infrastructure and support systems for immigrants are generally more robust in inner cities, there are far more likely to be other people from their country of origin, and housing is generally less expensive.
And interestingly, immigration from Europe to Texas is on the rise. More than 17% of immigrants in the Austin Round Rock area are from Europe, as people come to Central Texas to go to the University of Texas, or to work in Austin's booming tech industry.
Potter says, as has always been the case, people who immigrate from other countires have a tendency to be a lot younger than the population as whole, especially younger than Texas' aging Anglo population.
He says that indicates that the voting demographics of the state will be changing immensely in the coming decade or so, especially if this trend continues.