2020 Census: Austin falls short of 1 million people but continues to boom alongside other Texas metros
Instead of topping 1 million, as many expected, the city of Austin grew by just under 172,000 residents from 2010-2020 to reach 961,855 residents in 2020, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Population growth estimates predicted that Austin would swell to nearly 979,000 residents as the housing market soared with demand and reports of a great "California migration" topped the news. While not quite reaching the expected population growth, Austin still experienced 21.7% growth in the last decade, near the 22.1% growth estimate.
Austin failed to surpass San Jose, California to become the nation's 10th largest city and remains in the No. 11 spot. Still, the five-county Austin metro, which includes Travis County as well as nearby Williamson, Hays, Bastrop and Caldwell counties, has been the fastest-growing metro in the U.S. for a full 10 years, according to U.S. Census Bureau data revealed in May.
Austin was one of 14 U.S. cities that gained more than 100,000 residents from 2000-2020. Five of those cities, including Austin, Fort Worth, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, are located in Texas.
(U.S. Census Beraua/Twitter)
With 9.8% growth, Houston outpaced its expansion from 2000-2010 and topped Texas cities as the fourth-largest city in the nation. At No. 7, San Antonio grew about half as quickly from 2010-2020 as it did the previous decade but still topped Dallas with over 1.4 million residents, while Dallas experienced 8.9% growth (up from 0.8% from 2000-2010) to round out the top 10 list at No. 9.
(U.S. Census Bureau/Twitter)
Meanwhile, nearby New Braunfels was one of the top ten fastest-growing populations in the nation and was one of four Texas cities to experience a population increase of at least 44%.
Texas' rapid growth has done more than reshape its cities: it's also given the state more political power. The Lone Star State will gain two new seats in the House of Representatives come election season in 2022, giving the state more influence over the nation. The data released Thursday will also be used by lawmakers to redraw congressional districts.
The Bureau has gained recent controversy for its use of "differential privacy," which slightly alters local data in order to protect survey takers' privacy. The new algorithm has been criticized by some for inaccuracies and bugs within the system.
More information on Austin's key demographic changes will be trickled out by the Bureau through Sept. 15, when official population estimates through July 31, 2021 will be finalized.
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After months of speculation, a new report says political personality Beto O'Rourke is mulling a run for Texas governor that he will announce later this year.
Sources tell Axios the former congressman is preparing his campaign for the 2022 election, where he will likely vie for the position against incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott. The only other candidate that has announced he will take on Abbott for governor is former Texas GOP Chairman Allen West—no Democrats have announced they are running as of yet.
"No decision has been made," Axios reports David Wysong, O'Rourke's former House chief of staff and a longtime adviser, said. "He has been making and receiving calls with people from all over the state."
A new poll from The Dallas Morning News and University of Texas at Tyler shows O'Rourke is narrowing the gap between himself and Abbott's prospects for governor. In the poll, 37% said they'd vote for O'Rourke over Abbott, while 42% said they'd vote for Abbott.
Abbott has been in the hot seat due to his handling of COVID-19 and the signing of landmark legislation into law, including new abortion and voting rights laws; 54% of poll respondents voted they think the state is headed in the "wrong direction." Still, Texas hasn't had a Democrat as governor since the 90s.
O'Rourke's people-focused approach to the 2018 Senator race, which he lost to Sen. Ted Cruz, gave him a widespread following and many hoped he'd throw his hat into the ring since he said he was considering it earlier this year.
"We hope that he's going to run," Gilberto Hinojosa, the state chair of the Democratic Party, told Axios. "We think he'll be our strongest candidate. We think he can beat Abbott because he's vulnerable."
Austin rapper Jordi Esparza may not have won the 2021 Red Bull Batalla, the world's largest Spanish freestyle rap competition, but for a spirited two rounds, the 22-year old Mexican native looked like he had every right to.
On Saturday evening in Los Angeles, the event itself looked like Cobra Kai meets Star Search with graphics adding a very Batman Beyond aesthetic. Over a dozen rappers hoping to represent the U.S. in the international round of the competition took to the stage with in-your-face jabs at accents, sexual orientation and odors, among other things.
This was Esparza's second rodeo; he had placed third at the 2020 National Finals, automatically securing him a spot this year.
However, things were different this year. He was not nervous about the contest. Unlike in 2020, when he made his Red Bull Batalla debut, the anxiety of the event led him to "feeling so bad."
Affecting a casual calm, the locally-based landscaper said he just felt "so relaxed, so happy" and primarily wanted to "enjoy everything."
Choosing his first-round opponent, Esparza, whose stage name is Jordi, elected to go against LA-based Boss.
Esparza freestyled an attack on his opponent's weight and cholo style of dress.
Boss—bracketing his Latin freestyle with English appeals to the crowd—mocked Jordi's lack of education, made fun of how clean Jordi's shoes looked and suggested that Jordi just came back from a Footlocker.
That first round went to Jordi.
But his next opponent Eckonn would prove to be his undoing.
Eckonn compared Jordi to Hannah Montana, while Jordi soulfully explained that he had learned from the best.
Esparza's verbal dexterity is matched by a rattling rhythm and a game face that is as mawkish as it is mockish. The overall effect is that of an underdog with bite.
Eckonn beat Esparza in that round with the overall championship going to Palm Beach-based rapper Reverse.
However, Esparza was just happy to be there. He recently told Austonia going to the finals again was a dream come true—a pinnacle that he said he won't know how to top.
With his nimble jabs and sneaky prowess, honed from pop culture and the swagger of a young working man hungry to be more, Jordi Esparza is just getting started.