Population. – After California, according to act-test-centers.com, Texas is the other major expanding US state. On the demographic level in the seventies and eighties it went from 5th to 3rd place among the federated states. Economic development is even more sustained and brings further prospects for demographic growth, also facilitated by the large availability of space. In fact, T. is the largest state after Alaska, and unlike this or other large states of the West (California) it is almost entirely flat. In the moment of overcrowding in the industrialized and densely populated area of the Northeast, this factor becomes just as important as the strictly economic ones. Population growth, initially linked to farming and mineral resources, especially oil wealth, has recently occurred for two reasons: Sun Belt : the rise of high-tech industries and the attractive natural environment, especially for relatively mild winters. Thus there was an immigration of both young people, workers and technicians, and the elderly, in search of an ideal place for retirement. The inhabitants had already doubled between 1930 and 1970, passing from 5.8 to 11.2 million; but the growth was later even more rapid, bringing the total to 14,225,000 residents at the 1980 census and 16,986,000 at the 1990 census. The population density is relatively low (24 inhabitants / km 2), but very unevenly distributed. The highest is in the eastern counties and in the coastal strip, with peaks of about 100 inhabitants / km 2 in urban areas, while in the West the density falls below 10 inhabitants / km 2. The demographic structure is still mainly young, with 25% under the age of 15; the inhabitants over 65, despite the aforementioned migration of the elderly, are still only 10%, below the national average.
As in the rest of the United States, the cultural mosaic is complex in terms of both race and religion and ethnicity. Blacks in the state are within the limits of the national average, standing at around 16%; their presence is concentrated in large cities, with 27% in Houston, 26% in Dallas and Fort Worth. The other minority of some importance is that of the Hispanics, here almost always of Mexican origin, due to the proximity to the very long border with Mexico. The residents of Hispanic origin are officially 25% of the population, that is 4.3 million, but illegal immigrants or seasonal workers increase this figure considerably. Present in all cities and also in smaller towns and in the countryside, they count over half of the population in San Antonio, the true US capital of the Mexican minority. A similar conspicuous presence occurs in the city of El Paso, on the border. The complex cultural picture is completed by large minorities of German and Irish origin, while citizens of Italian origin are few in number (2%). Religious affiliation is also closely linked to ethnic origin: Catholicism prevails in the southern counties, Bible Belt, that is, where confessions of rigid Protestant ethics (Baptists, Methodists) prevail.
The urban population covers 80.3% of the total. There are five metropolitan areas with over half a million inhabitants; to these are added a dozen centers with over 100,000 inhabitants. While the capital Austin, along with El Paso and San Antonio, is an average city, the two true metropolises are Houston and Dallas. The Houston-Galveston metropolitan area exceeds 3.7 million inhabitants. and it is the main center of oil trade; some of the most important oil companies are based here. But because the business movement of these companies takes place on an international level, far beyond local interests, Houston has become the oil capital of the world. Dallas forms a metropolitan area of approximately 4 million residents along with Forth Worth. The two centers have maintained a ‘ only statistical union, but now they are involved in the same development plans due to the need for spaces to be allocated to new industries and transport and trade infrastructures. A common structure is e.g. the new international airport, equidistant from the two centers, has become the fourth US airport.
Economic conditions. – The Texan economy has a reputation for being prosperous, and so the stereotype of the Texan is that of a wealthy if not wealthy person. In reality there is a wide range of incomes in the state, not excluding less well-off categories, for which the average per capita income remains below the national one by about 8%. The economy has grown in the past based on agriculture and livestock and the primary sector still has significant productions. The land dedicated to crops is less than 20% of the total, with an almost exclusively extensive type of cultivation, while most of the territory is occupied by grazing. The 27 million q of wheat make up just 5% of the national production, but the production of cotton (4.6 million bales) is about 1/3 of the total. The Texas is still one of the major suppliers of meat in the country, with its 13.7 million head of cattle, mainly raised in the open air, in the eastern area; the south-west of the state, more arid, is instead occupied by sheep farming.
Oil is the foundation of Texas’ industrial fortunes. Its extraction, now accompanied by that of methane, takes place along the coast and also on the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Production dropped in the 1970s, then stabilized over the next decade. The processing of crude oil is done almost entirely within the borders of the state, bringing added value and derivative industries, such as petrochemicals. Furthermore, the presence of oil has brought significant capital to the Texas, which has allowed the financing of a wide range of other industries. Among these are the recent advanced technology productions, especially electronics and armaments. As in the analogous Californian case, a specialized technological area was formed in Texas: in Dallas there is the so-called Silicon Prairie, where computer parts and electronic communications equipment are manufactured.