The Untold Story of Austin’s Growth

City Demographer Ryan Robinson gave a presentation to the board of Greenlights for Nonprofit Success and shared the fascinating statistics of Austin’s growth, and more interestingly the challenges and opportunities it presents. Austin has sustained a rapid growth since 1900, and according to the 2010 census, the current population is 790,390. The city tops the “best” lists for clear reason; the population growth is well noted and Forbes named Austin the fastest growing city in America last month.

While Austin is 35th in metro areas by total population (according to the 2010 Census), the city ranked the third metro area by percentage growth from 2000-2010 and first in the last year, 2010-2011. The growth of Hispanics dominates growth statistics. The population breakdown of ethnicity includes:

  • 48.7% Anglo
  • 35.1% Hispanic
  • 7.7% African American
  • 6.3% Asian
  • 2.2% Other

Of the under age 18 population, 50.9% is Hispanic, followed by 31.8% Anglo. Similarly, of the under age 5 population, 56.1% is Hispanic, followed by 28.3% Anglo. In addition, the Asian population doubled from 2000 to 2010.

While this population growth creates great opportunity, it also comes with issues of increasing socio-economic gaps. A huge divide exists between the “creative class” that hangs out watching movies at the Violet Crown and the massive Hispanic majority east of I-35. While the city’s median income in 2009 was $62,153, the median income for Hispanics was the lowest by ethnicity at $34,061. This also affects participation at the polls. West Austin’s high-income citizens had a good turnout with 15 to 30% of registered voters participating in the May 2012 election while the East Side’s lower income had a 2.5 to 10% participation, depending on the area of East Austin.

This information is useful for the city and organizations to see what programs are needed, as well as issues that need to be addressed to help develop Austin and provide for its residents. Schools should be a high priority as should politically engaging the Hispanic population.

To see great visuals of the statistics above, check out Robinson’s presentation here.

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