HOUSTON CHRONICLE: “Houston Immigrant Growth ‘In a Class by Itself'”
From the New York Times oped page today:
By SEAMUS McGRAW AUG. 30, 2017
… those storms and droughts are still more destructive than they ever were before, simply because there is more to destroy.
He will tell you that in the 16 years since Tropical Storm Allison deluged Houston, that city, which famously balks at any kind of zoning regulation, and the surrounding region, which encompasses all or parts of 15 counties, have undergone a period of explosive growth, from 4.8 million people in 2000 to more than 7 million today. Harris County alone, which includes the city of Houston, has grown to 4.6 million, up from 3.4 million. …
What’s more, those more than 2 million newcomers to the region are living in houses and driving on roads and shopping in stores built atop what once was prairie that could have absorbed at least some of the fury of this flood and the next. What once was land that might have softened the storm’s blow is now, in many cases, collateral damage in what could turn out to be a $40 billion disaster.
A text search for “migr” finds no mention in the article of the I Word in helping to explain who many of these millions of newcomers to the Houston region are.
From the Houston Chronicle in 2015:
Two journeys with different endings illustrate most diverse metro in U.S.
By Lomi Kriel March 10, 2015 Updated: March 12, 2015 9:46am
… “Houston is a bellwether,” said William Frey, a demographer with the Brookings Institution, a nonprofit public policy organization in Washington, D.C. “Houston is on the front lines of (immigration) in many directions, so it’s a role model for other places but also needs the resources and attention.”
The report, commissioned by the Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative, provides an in-depth look at the 11-county area’s 1.4 million foreign-born, which grew almost 60 percent between 2000 and 2013, nearly twice the national rate. The number of immigrants who, like Cruz, are from Honduras or Guatemala, more than doubled over that period, growing by more than 130 percent to about 76,000 today. Filipinos like Thompson were the area’s third-fastest growing nationality, expanding by nearly 90 percent to 34,000 in that time.
The phenomenal immigrant growth rate puts Houston “in a class by itself,” said Randy Capps, co-author of the report and director of research for U.S. programs at the Policy Institute, based in Washington, D.C. “The biggest immigrant cities, Los Angeles, Chicago and New York, haven’t been seeing this same kind of growth.”
Of the more than 245,000 residents Harris County gained in the past three years, a quarter were foreign migrants and 16 percent were Americans from other regions, said Steve Murdock, a former state demographer who heads the Hobby Center for the Study of Texas at Rice University. The rest, nearly 60 percent, were births.
No mention of what percentage of births were to immigrants, but it’s undoubtedly significant.
… In 2013, employers here requested nearly 13,000 specialized work visas, known as H1-Bs, the greatest amount after New York City.
I am of course not saying that immigration is the only interesting angle to the Houston situation. But I am saying that out of the zillions of words being written about Houston this week, some of them should mention the role of immigration in helping pave over the Houston area.