Anchored by the melting pot of people in its big cities, Texas continues to gain acclaim as one of the most diverse states in the country. In fact, a new study by personal finance website WalletHub crowns the Lone Star State as the second most diverse state in the U.S., behind California.
The WalletHub study shows Texas ranks fourth for cultural diversity and sixth for religious diversity — the state’s two best showings among the study’s six buckets of diversity data. Meanwhile, Texas appeared at No. 13 for both socioeconomic diversity and economic diversity, No. 14 for household diversity, and No. 28 for political diversity.
Drilling down further, Texas ranked first for diversity of industries, third for racial and ethnic diversity as well as language diversity, and fifth for diversity of household size. Lower on the list were factors such as educational diversity (No. 10), occupational diversity (No. 19), income diversity (No. 21), and No. 30 for diversity of working classes.
An earlier study by WalletHub pegged Houston as the second most diverse city in the U.S., with Dallas at No. 5, Fort Worth at No. 26, Austin at No. 38, and San Antonio at No. 57.
In a recent opinion piece for the Austin American-Statesman, state Rep. Celia Israel, an Austin Democrat, hailed the diversity of her home state. Israel, a Latina who was born and raised in El Paso, is the only openly LGBT member of the Texas Legislature.
“Recently, commentators have criticized diversity as a contrived attempt at political correctness or even weakness,” Israel wrote. “I want to correct the record. Diversity isn’t code for weakness. It’s our strength ... It’s time to reject extreme views and remember our differences are what makes Texas a great place to live.”
Texas’ diversity is buoyed, in large part, by its ascendance as a minority-majority state — meaning that the majority of residents are now what historically have been considered minorities, including people of Hispanic and Asian descent. Texas officially achieved minority-majority status in 2011.
“As the baby boomers in Texas move into the mortality years, eventually you’re going to start seeing a contraction of the non-Hispanic white population,” Lloyd Potter, the state demographer and a faculty member at the University of Texas at San Antonio, told the Texas Tribune in 2011.
“The future of the United States, like the future of states like Texas, is tied to its minority populations,” demographer Steve Murdock, a professor at Rice University in Houston and former head of the U.S. Census Bureau, told the Texas Tribune. “How well they do is increasingly how well America will do.”