A quick look around will tell you, H-Town is no small town. In any given middle-class neighborhood you’ll find residents from Pakistan, Vietnam, Turkey, South Africa, India, Syria, Russia, Bosnia, England, Brazil … oh yes, and Mexico … and they’ll all be having a BBQ together. Not even joking. But despite critics insistence that Texas is a xenophobic cowboy confederate, The Los Angeles Times has named us “The Most Diverse Place In America.” Even as battles over border control and sanctuary cities rumble, Houston is a window into the future of American demographics.
Brittny Mejia reports:
Houston boomed through the mid-20th century, thanks to the oil bonanza, and most of those who came to get rich were white. Large numbers of Vietnamese refugees began arriving in the 1970s, and after an oil collapse in 1982, they were followed by an influx of Latinos driven by cheap housing and employment opportunities. Whites, meanwhile, started drifting out.
The multi-ethnic boom has occurred deep in the heart of a state that has often seemed to regard conservatism, and Texas identity, as an element of religion.
The state’s Republican leadership has helped lead the fight this year not only on sanctuary cities, but to defend President Trump’s order on border security and immigration enforcement. Texas went to court in 2015 to successfully block expanded deportation protections for young “Dreamers” and their parents who brought them here illegally.
Yet demographic experts say the Houston metro area, home to the third-largest population of undocumented immigrants in the country — behind New York and Los Angeles — is a roadmap to what U.S. cities will look like in the coming decades as whites learn to live as minorities in the American heartland.
Census projections have opened a window into the America of 2050, “and it’s Houston today,” said Stephen Klineberg, a sociology professor at Rice University.