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The Re-Honkification of the Heights

March 8, 2011 Houston/Harris No Comments

One more backtrack to Harris County stuff. Obviously, the big story to hit Texas out of the Census data was the growth and diffusion of the Hispanic population, which leads to the growing diversity of in many parts of the state. Here in Houston, though, there’s one area that made substantial gains in Anglo population, however. That would be … The Heights.

This didn’t strike me as needing a full-fledged dedicated map to show & tell this story, so I hope that screencaps will suffice. Below, you see the overall trend in the county, with blue representing 10% or more growth in Anglo population. While the countywide pattern is striking, it’s important to realize that in many of the areas where Anglo population is growing among African-American or heavily Hispanic population, the growth is from one small number to another small number – like from 1 percent to 2 percent. The Heights is another animal altogether, as Anglo population in many of the tracts grows from more along the lines of 40-something percent to 60-something percent.

Harris County, zoomed out: (click for larger view)

The second screencap gives you a closeup of the Heights and you can see the near-perfect uniformity of that growth. I ran counts on all of the tracts north of Buffalo Bayou and within the 610 Loop. I added tract 5302 north of the Loop since it’s reflective of the same change. Many of the more unusual growth patterns exist because everyone is growing, but maybe just unevenly. In the case of the Heights, however, we have a net loss of Hispanic population coupled with a net gain of Anglo population. And the overall growth of the region – ~11% – is nothing to sneeze at for an area without the space to develop that a Cypress or Pearland has.

The Heights: (click for larger view)

Population Change in selected Heights Census tracts:

           2000           2010
Total     71,883         79,930
Anglo     31,025 (43.2)  44,294 (55.4)  
Hispanic  35,972 (50.0)  27,581 (34.5)  
Afr. Am.   3,313  (4.6)   3,528  (4.4)  
Asian        928  (1.3)   3,033  (3.8)   


The phenomenon is captured in political terms on the Texas Tribune’s mapping of Hispanic population growth by noting that Jessica Farrar’s HD148 is the only Harris County district to lose Hispanic population. In fact, despite the coincidence of representing parts of the two biggest traditional Hispanic areas of Houston, HD148 had the single biggest drop in Hispanic population in the entire state of Texas.

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