The total population of Texas has increased greatly over the years. In 1900 there were only 3,048,710 persons in the entire state. In 2000 the population was 20,851,820, an increase of nearly 700 percent since 1900. During the decade from 1990 to 2000, the population of Texas increased by 22.8 percent. Texas ranks second among the states in population, after California. The average population density is 35 persons per sq km (90 per sq mi).
The first Texans were Native Americans, but there remains only one small reservation in the state, in Polk County, where members of the Alabama and Coushatta peoples still live. The French and Spanish were the first Europeans to reach Texas, but few of them settled in this land; most were explorers, missionaries, soldiers, or traders. Indeed, most of the people who live in Texas are descendants of people who came from other parts of the United States or from Mexico.
The largest number of Mexicans and Mexican Americans live in southern Texas, especially along the Río Grande and in such cities as San Antonio and Corpus Christi. Many of them still speak Spanish in their homes and read the Spanish-language newspapers published in several southern Texas cities. Many families emigrated from Germany and other parts of central Europe to central Texas in the middle of the 19th century. The names of some of the towns in central Texas, such as New Braunfels, Fredericksburg, and Schulenburg, reflect their German origin. In 2000 whites constituted 71 percent of the population, blacks 11.5 percent, Asians 2.7 percent, Native Americans 0.6 percent, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders 0.1 percent, and those of mixed heritage or not reporting race 14.2 percent. Hispanics, who may be of any race, were 32 percent of the people.
The first towns in Texas grew up along rivers and near springs, where there was plentiful water. There was little early settlement on the dry plains of western Texas. Later, with the coming of the railroads, new towns sprang up along the railroad routes. Still later a new generation of towns was built or expanded in the parts of Texas where large oil fields were discovered. In 1910 more than three-quarters of the population lived on farms or in rural communities of less than 2,500 people. By 1970 only one-fifth of the people lived on farms or in small towns. This shift to larger cities was due to two factors. Farming was mechanized and industries in the cities grew very rapidly, thus providing employment for rural dwellers leaving the farms. In 2000 urban areas were home to 83 percent of the state’s population. "Texas" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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