Entries in Census (10)


Is the Texas Twang Dyin', Y'all? Other Accents Blend In -- J.R. and Sue Ellen had it on Dallas. The Texas twang. The "y'all" and the "howdy" -- that slow drawl that is part Southern charm, part Western swagger and pure Texas.

Yes, oil is still king in Texas, and it's easy to find a Longhorn (cow or football player), cowboys and a rodeo if you are in the mood. Neil Armstrong's first words from the Moon were "Houston, Tranquility Base here, the Eagle has landed."

Barbara Voyce is a transplant from Illinois, and she quickly learned how to say "y'all." "It replaces the Midwestern 'you guys,'" she says. Her two children grew up saying "y'all." At her favorite coffee shop, pretty much everyone she meets has learned to adapt.

But the accent is fading, as people move here from elsewhere, and as media homogenize all regional accents into one American English sound.

Stephen Murdoch, a Rice University professor who once ran the U.S. Census Bureau, understands the demographics of what has happened in Texas.

"The population in Texas has exploded because of migration from other states and other countries," he said. "It most certainly affects the Texas twang because so many of the newcomers are Hispanic and live in the urban cities of Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio."

But says Murdoch, if you are really longing for a down home Texas accent, go west to towns like Amarillo or Lubbock. The rural areas of Texas that depend on ranching and farming and oil exploration haven't grown as rapidly so you are more likely to hear a drawl.

Country star George Strait understands the power of the Texas twang -- it is integral to his music and his identity. His lyrics celebrate the Lone Star State's identity:

"There wouldn't be no Alamo
No Cowboys in the Super Bowl
No 'Lonesome Dove,' no 'Yellow Rose'
If it wasn't for Texas."

Blame the economy. It is so much better in Texas than other parts of the country. Because of the oil and natural gas boom, people are flocking to Texas for jobs. The lure of jobs makes up for the traffic and the 100-degree summer heat.

Politicians understood the power of the drawl -- on both sides of the aisle, from President Lyndon Johnson to former Speaker of the House Tom DeLay to Gov. Rick Perry. Former Gov. Ann Richards delighted the Democratic National Convention in 1988 with this zinger about the Republican presidential candidate, George H.W. Bush: "Poor George, he can't help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth." It was her Texas accent that made the punchline so memorable.

Yes, real Texans do talk like that. Lyle Lovett certainly does. Not so much actors like Jim Parsons, who hails from Houston, or Renee Zellwegger, from the town of Katy, Texas. Farrah Fawcett and Jaclyn Smith of Charlie's Angels were both Houston girls but didn't really drawl. But they were actors, so it didn't pay off as much as it does for a musician or a politician to maintain that Texas persona.

The beauty of a state like Texas is this: It embraces all comers. Come on down, make yourself at home, get a job, and make a fortune.

So even though most of the newcomers to Texas don't drawl yet, there is still time to learn the lingo. You know the saying, "I may not have been born in Texas, but I got here as fast as I could." Which means you still have time to learn how to say y'all.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Minority Births Enrage White Hate Groups

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The number of radical hate groups and militias has exploded in recent years in reaction to the changing makeup of America. And new census figures showing the majority of babies born in 2011 were non-white could fuel those simmering tensions, experts who track hate groups warned.

"White supremacist groups have been having a meltdown since the census bureau predicted that non-Hispanic whites would lose the majority by 2050," said Mark Potok, spokesman for the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups. "The demographic change in this country is the single most important driver in the growth of hate groups and extremist groups over the last few years."

The data released this week revealed a tipping point in the country's demographic shift. For the first time in the country's history, more minority children were born than white children, setting the stage for an eventual non-white majority in America's population.

The census found that 50.4 percent of births in 2011 were of Hispanic, black, Asian, and other minority children. White babies accounted for 49.5 percent of the country's newborns.

In addition, more than 49 percent of all children under 5 years old are minorities, the report said.

For white supremacist and radical right-wing groups, the data is especially troubling, and made all the more apparent by the fact that a black man was elected president, Potok said.

"This very real and very significant change is represented in the person of Barack Obama. We've of course seen the most remarkable growth in the radical right since 2008, precisely coinciding with Obama's first three years as president," he said.

According to the SPLC, the number of radical "anti-government" militia groups increased from 150 to 1,274 during the years of the Obama presidency. There have been more homegrown domestic terrorism attacks by right-wing groups than by international terrorists during his presidency as well, Potok noted.

Marilyn Mayo, co-director of the Anti-Defamation League's Center on Extremism, said white supremacist groups have increased their efforts to recruit and plot based on the changing racial makeup of America.

"I think that what we're seeing is that hate groups, particularly white supremacist groups, are talking a lot about the fact that whites will soon be a minority in this country, that their goal at all costs is to preserve the white race in civilization, which spurs them to recruit more, and have more incendiary rhetoric," Mayo said.

Potok pointed out that more young people than ever before, hovering around 95 percent of young voters, approve of interracial relationships and marriage. Though the country is going through a "backlash" against demographic changes, newer generations will come to accept the changes, he said.

"The thing I think to understand is that the radical right is not entirely composed of people who are insane. These are people reacting to real changes in the real world around them," Potok said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


More Minorities than Whites Having Babies in the US

Comstock Images/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- For the first time since it began keeping records, the Census Bureau reported on Thursday that more babies are being born collectively to Hispanics, blacks, Asians and those of mixed races than to white families.

During the 12-month period that ended in July 2011, births of minority babies reached 50.4 percent compared to 49.6 percent for non-Hispanic whites.

It’s expected that whites will remain the majority until mid-century.  However, William H. Frey, the senior demographer at the Brookings Institution, described the ongoing shift to The New York Times as a “transformation from a mostly white baby boomer culture to the more globalized multiethnic country that we are becoming.”

Census Bureau figures reveal there are nearly 350 U.S. counties in which whites are no longer in the majority.  Minorities have become the majority in four states and the District of Columbia, as well as large metro areas that include New York, Las Vegas and Memphis.

This changing face of the nation has already started a generational divide, with young minorities on one side and older white people on the other.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Census: Husband-Wife Households at Record Lows

Hemera/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The proportion of homes in America with husband-wife couples has now fallen below 50 percent, the lowest since the Census Bureau began tabulating such family data in 1940.

New Census 2010 figures, released Wednesday, reveal that 48 percent of all households include a married husband and wife, compared with 52 percent in 2000. That’s down dramatically from the peak.  In the 1950 Census, 78 percent of all households in America mirrored the Ozzie and Harriet mold, with a husband and wife in the home.

There is wide variation from state to state. Utah has the highest proportion of husband-wife households, at 61 percent. The lowest numbers are in New York and Louisiana, with 44 percent each.

There are more interracial married couples than a decade ago. Their numbers jumped 28 percent since 2000.

With the overall percentage of married couples declining, the percentage of unmarried couples living together is increasing.

It is possible that this also reflects an increase in the average age at which couples first marry. According to a study from the Pew Research Center, the average age for men is 28.7 years, and for women, it’s 26.5. Compare that to 1960, when that age for both men and women was early 20s.  

Unmarried couples make up less than 7 percent of all households, but their numbers still jumped 40 percent from 2000. The largest increase in that group was same-sex partner homes, which skyrocketed 80 percent in the past decade.  They make up less than one percent of all households, but in 2010, nearly 650,000 households identified themselves as same-sex partner homes.

Other types of living arrangements are also on the upswing.  There are more people living alone. Homes with just one person made up nearly 27 percent of households in 2010.  Atlanta and Washington, D.C., are the two cities with most residents living by themselves – about 44 percent in each.  The Census Bureau says that probably reflects young single people looking for job opportunities.

Another growing phenomenon is the number of male homeowners living without a spouse, but with other family members. Half of these are dads with their own children. The others might include an adult son whose parent moves in, or a brother housing another brother. This category of home increased by 19.05 percent, from 4.2 percent of households in 2000 to 5 percent in 2010.

It’s also more common to find multiple generations living together.  In 2010, there were 5 million families where three or more generations lived under the same roof, about a million more than a decade before.

The new Census numbers also reflects the graying of America.  In 2010, a quarter of all households included someone over age 65.  The two states with the highest percentage of elderly households were Florida and Hawaii.  Both, of course, offer nice warm weather for retirees.  In Alaska, on the other hand, only 16 percent of households included someone over age 65 -- the lowest percentage of any state.

The 2010 Census is “continuing trends we’ve seen for quite a while,” according to Rose Kreider, chief of the Fertility and Family Statistics Branch at the U.S. Census Bureau.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


North Dakota Tops US Fastest-Growing Micro Areas

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Census Bureau has released a list of the fastest-growing micro areas in the nation between April 1, 2010, and July 1, 2011, and three of the top 10 are located in North Dakota, with Williston, N.D. in the top spot.

North Dakota has seen rapid growth because of the oil drilling boom going on there.  The local paper, the Williston Herald, notes that the census doesn’t even count people living in temporary shelter.

“There are 10,000 people living in man camps in Williams County alone, and well more than a thousand households have been built in the last two years,” the paper reported.

Among the top 50 fastest-growing micro areas, New Mexico contained more micro areas than any other state: Gallup (11th), Portales (12th), Alamogordo (13th), Clovis (15th), Grants (34th) and Los Alamos (42nd).

Not one of the aforementioned areas was among the 50 fastest-growing micro areas between 2000 and 2010, which speaks to the changes in population growth in the last 12 years.

“Our nation is constantly changing, and these estimates provide us with our first measure of how much substate areas have grown or declined in total population since Census Day, April 1, 2010,” Census Bureau Director Robert Groves said.  “We’re already seeing different patterns of population growth than we saw in the last decade.”

The second spot went to The Villages, a retirement community in and around Sumter County in central Florida.  In 2000, The Villages had 8,333 residents -- now it has 97,756.

Here are the 10 fastest-growing micro areas from April 1, 2010, to July 1, 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau:

1. Williston, N.D. (8.8 percent increase)
2. The Villages, Fla. (4.6 percent increase)
3. Andrews, Texas (4.5 percent increase)
4. Dickinson, N.D. (4.0 percent increase)
5. Dunn, N.C. (4.0 percent increase)
6. Statesboro, Ga. (3.8 percent increase)
7. Heber, Utah  (3.8 percent increase)
8. Minot, N.D. (3.6 percent increase)
9. Tifton, Ga. (3.3 percent increase)
10. Guymon, Okla. (3.3 percent increase)

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Census 2010: One-Quarter of Gay Couples Raising Children

Creatas/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- An estimated one-quarter of all same-sex households are raising children, according to U.S. Census data, providing one of the first portraits of gay American families.

For the first time ever, the census counts same-sex couples and their children, and as data trickles out state by state, more gay families are being tallied in the South.

Just last week, reports from Hawaii and Alabama -- two very different states geographically and socially -- revealed that 27 and 23 percent of same-sex couples were raising children, respectively, according to an analysis by the Williams Institute, a UCLA School of Law think tank that focuses on lesbian, bisexual, gay, and transgender issues.

Data released Thursday on five more states showed that 28 percent of families in Wyoming are raising children.  In California, the percentage is 21 percent, Delaware, 19 percent, Kansas, 26 percent, and Pennsylvania, 20 percent.

The emerging profile of same-sex families comes just as New York legislators are poised to vote on a bill that could legalize gay marriage. The controversial bill is one vote away from being passed and could make New York the sixth and largest state to legalize same-sex marriage.

Five other states -- Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, and New Hampshire, as well as the District of Columbia -- allow gay marriage.  Advocates say census counts matter in these political debates.  They argue that the data is important for understanding their needs and forming policies in the best interest of their children.

"This is the first time it accurately reflects families that have always been there," said Stuart Gaffney, a spokesman for the gay rights group Marriage Equality USA.

"It's something we find out when they are lobbying in legislatures like Albany right now and reps say they don't have someone in their district who it matters to," he said.  "That's why it's so critical to show we are in every state, every city and every county in the United States.  There are constituents and they need to know we are here."

Statistics on the children of gay couples have previously been released at the state level, but never in a way that allowed demographers, legislators, and gay rights advocates to glean a national picture.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Census Data Reveals Aging Population

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Women continue to have longer life expectancies than men, but according to new 2010 Census data released Thursday, men are inching towards women as they narrow the gender gap in old age. Technological, healthcare, and policy advancements are providing many Americans with tools to lead longer lives.

In the category of Americans ages 65 and older, the number of men has grown by 21 percent since 2000 while the number of women has increased at a slower pace of 11.2 percent.  In the subgroup of Americans ages 65 to 74, the male-to-female ratio has narrowed.  Women only exceed men by 1.5 million, a drop from 1.8 million in 2000.

Women continue to outnumber men in the United States by 5.18 million, a slight jump from the 5.3 million difference in 2000.  Despite being outnumbered, the number of men in the country increased at a faster rate, growing by 9.9 percent, while the number of women only increased by 9.5 percent.  For every 100 women in the U.S. in 2010, there were 96.7 men.  In 2000, the male-female ratio was 96.3.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Texas Got a Whole Lot Bigger, Grew at Double the National Rate

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Lone Star State just got a whole lot bigger -- 4.3 million Texans bigger to be exact -- according to 2010 Census data released Thursday.

Texas’ population increased by 20.6 percent since 2000, to just over 25 million people in 2010, expanding at double the national rate of growth.  Much of this growth emerged in the areas of San Antonio, Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and the Rio Grande Valley.

San Antonio, home to the Alamo, jumped over Dallas to become the second largest city in the state.

The Hispanic and Latino population in Texas saw a boom -- it now makes up almost 38 percent of the state’s population, up from 32 percent in 2000.  The number of Hispanics and Latinos in Texas grew by nearly 2.8 million people since 2000, accounting for over half the statewide population growth.

This data will help Texas determine its redistricting in the coming year.  Texas was the biggest winner in the reapportionment process in 2010, when it gained four House seats, raising the state’s total seats to 36.  With much of the growth occurring in urban areas, cities like Dallas, Houston and San Antonio are expected to gain some of these representatives. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


New Orleans Population Shrinks By a Third In 10 Years

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- New Orleans may always hold the nickname "The Big Easy," but its population isn't quite as big as it was 10 years ago.

The population in New Orleans shrunk by nearly 30 percent in 10 years according to new data released last week.  Much of that loss was attributed to the ravages of Hurricane Katrina which devastated the city in 2005.

The U.S. Census Bureau released local 2010 Census data, which revealed New Orleans's population stood at 343,829 people in 2010.  Ten years earlier, the city's population sat at 484,674 people, reflecting a 29.1 percent change in the population.

This drop in New Orleans' population size is credited to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the most destructive and costly natural disaster in the history of the United States.

"It's obviously a smaller city," Allison Plyer, chief demographer for the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center, said.  "That drop was very much expected.  Obviously, Katrina had a huge impact."

Known for its rich traditions from cultivating the foundations of jazz music to the lively atmosphere and history of the French Quarter and Bourbon Street, the city endured the worst of the 2005 storm.  Nearly 80 percent of its population fled the city to safer locations in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Texas, but it remains unclear how many of these evacuees eventually returned to New Orleans.

Before Katrina hit, the city's racial composition was overwhelmingly black with over 67 percent of the population identifying themselves as black or African American in the 2000 census.  In 2010, this percentage dropped to 60, with the city losing 119,000 people who identified themselves as black or African American in 2010 while New Orleans saw an influx in its Hispanic population.

In addition to the change in the cultural landscape of the city, the housing sector took a noticeable hit from the storm as well.  Prior to Katrina, only 12.5 percent of housing units were unoccupied, according to 2000 census data, but the 2010 census revealed the occupancy number declined with 25 percent of housing units listed as unoccupied.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Census Bureau Data: Richest Counties Get Richer, Poorest Get Poorer

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The rich get richer and the poor get poorer, at least judging by the most extreme neighborhoods for median household income in the latest U.S. Census Bureau data.

The census' American Community Survey, released this week, provides detailed neighborhood data, including languages spoken in a home, commute time, and income levels.

The poorest county, Owsley County, Kentucky, had the lowest median household income outside of Puerto Rico.  Its median income decreased to $18,869 from $20,346 in 2000.  Of all the county or county equivalents, Falls Church, Virginia had the highest median income, at $113,313, an increase from $96,449 in 2000.

Virginia also was home to the counties with the three highest median household incomes, and the only counties with median household incomes greater than $100,000.  Fairfax County had a $104,259 median household income, and Loudoun County had one of $112,021.

The data came from surveys which were mailed to about three million addresses from January 2005 through December 2009.  The Census Bureau's official 2010 census demographic data, which provides less detail on the neighborhood level, will be released on Dec. 21.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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