Professor: Educational attainment is key to growing state population


March 30, 2010 at 7 p.m.
Updated March 29, 2010 at 10:30 p.m.

Steve Murdock

Steve Murdock

Right now, about 36 percent of Texas' population is Hispanic.

By 2040, projections show that percentage could rise to 56 percent, said Steve Murdock, a sociology professor at Rice University.

Murdock, who previously served as director of the U.S. Census Bureau, spoke to the Crossroads Commission on Education on Tuesday about the current and changing trends in education, demographics and economic development of Victoria, Texas and the nation.

The commission formed in early March to find ways to develop a more highly skilled workforce of students in the Crossroads to bring about more economic opportunities to the area.

According to the most recent data from the Texas Sate Data, the state's Anglo population is projected to decrease from about 45 percent now to about 25 percent in 2040.

That decline and the Hispanic rise is leading to a more diversified state, Murdock said, which shows the importance of educational attainment to alleviate socioeconomic concerns.

"I think that Texas population is growing and diversifying very rapidly," Murdock said. "We've got to ensure in particular the minority kids have the skills and education they need to be competitive because they are our future."

The shifts in population of the state is also similar to what is happening in Victoria, he said.

According to census data, there are about 39,255 Anglos this year in Victoria County, 5,778 blacks and 42,956 Hispanics. By 2040, there is a projection of 19,281 Anglos, 6,339 blacks and 66,756 Hispanics.

Having The Victoria College and University of Houston- Victoria in the area will serve as a big benefit to the growth of the area, he said.

"I think it is well-placed geographically to be one of the centers providing educational opportunities," Murdock said.



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