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By Eleanor Dearman January 30, 2016

Joe Straus accurately says Texas growing twice as fast as rest of nation

A campaign video put out by House Speaker Joe Straus, the San Antonio Republican, shows him talking up his re-election hopes and throwing out a claim about huge Texas growth.

The video, posted Dec. 17, 2015, opens with Straus signing papers to run for re-election, where he’ll face off in the March 2016 Republican primary for the District 121 seat against former schoolteacher Sheila Bean and Jeff Judson, a former San Antonio tea party director.

Straus, shown shaking hands with people, also says: "Texas is growing twice as fast as the rest of the country. This is a time for men and women who are ready to confront our challenges with humility and with purpose."

Hold on; Texas is growing two times as fast as the other 49 states combined?

By email, Straus spokesman Jason Embry pointed toward U.S. Census Bureau data as the basis of the claim.

Texas’s population growth

According to the Census breakdown, from April 2010 to July 2014, the U.S. population grew 3.3 percent. According to the data, Texas’ population grew 7.2 percent, which breaks out, Embry noted, to Texas growing twice as fast as the nation.

It didn’t take long for us to identify more recent Census data covering national and state population estimates through June 2015. Then again, that information was released Dec. 22, 2015, shortly after Straus unveiled his video -- so he wouldn’t have had access to it.

Regardless, the latest figures show Texas more than doubling the nation’s growth rate from April 2010 to July 2015 when the population of Texas grew 9.2 percent while the U.S. population grew 4.1 percent.

Not that Texas was the fastest-growing state in the period; that distinction goes to North Dakota, which saw 12.5  percent population growth, the bureau says.

Texas compared to the rest of the country

We recognized, though, that the offered basis of the speaker’s claim compares Texas to the nation as a whole. That’s not what Straus said; he compared Texas to the rest of the nation not including Texas.

So, does the growth of Texas double the growth of the rest of the country?

You bet your boots, we confirmed, both if you look at growth from 2010 to 2014, the period singled out by Straus, and at shorter time periods.

We got out our calculator and found that from mid-2013 to mid-2014, Texas grew by 1.8 percent; that rate was more than double the 0.7 population growth in the rest of the country.

From April 2010 through July 2014, according to bureau data, the population of the rest of the country increased 2.9 percent (while Texas grew, as noted above, 7.2 percent). Throw in growth from mid-2014 to mid-2015, and the rest of the nation grew 3.6 percent over five-plus years (while Texas saw 9.2 percent population increase).

Texas compared to other individual states

There’s another way to make such comparisons -- state to state. And while North Dakota, not Texas, has lately been the fastest-growing state, Texas has ranked among the very fastest-growth states.From 2010 to 2014, year to year, Texas consistently ranked as one of the  fastest-growing states. From mid-2014 to mid- 2015, only North Dakota, Colorado, Nevada and Florida grew faster than the Lone Star State.  


Year to Year Percentage Changes in Population, Fastest-Growing States








North Dakota



































Source: U.S. Census Bureau (NST-EST2015-popchg2010_2015, Jan. 20, 2016)

In this recent period, North Dakota was consistently the fastest-growing state; it grew more than 2 percent annually from mid-2012 to mid-2015 and spurted 3 percent from mid-2012 to mid-2013.

Why is Texas growing?

It doesn’t bear on the accuracy of the speaker’s claim, but we wondered why Texas remains fast-growing.

By phone, Lloyd Potter, the Texas state demographer, said much of the state’s growth reflects net migration, the difference between the number of people entering and leaving the state in a given period of time. Potter also said migration to Texas had been driven by job opportunities in the state.

"People move to one place or another, usually because they’re looking for work," Potter said. "There’s a small percentage of migration behavior that’s related to say retirement or maybe going to school, but the bulk of movement of people over space is a function of them seeking employment opportunities or leaving a place where there isn’t employment opportunities."

Another factor playing into the state’s relatively high population increases, Potter said, is a "fairly healthy" natural rate of increase, meaning births in Texas outnumbering deaths.

Like Potter, William Frey, a Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program senior fellow, attributed the growth to fertility rates and domestic migration, as well as immigration.

"Texas is unusual because it’s one of the bigger attractions for immigrants in the United States but also has really stood out in term of domestic migration," Frey said. "It’s one of the few states that have a large number of both."

Our Ruling

Straus said: "Texas is growing twice as fast as the rest of the country."

Census Bureau statistics show that Texas, indeed, is growing faster than the United States as a whole. Experts explain that the rate of population growth is due to its birth rate, foreign immigration and migration from other states.

Although Texas is growing faster that the country as a whole, it is not the fastest growing state. Although it ranked second behind North Dakota in 2014, it dropped behind North Dakota, Colorado, Nevada and Florida in 2015, according to data released after Straus published his video.

We rate this claim True.

TRUE – The statement is accurate and there’s nothing significant missing.

Our Sources

Emails (excerpted), Jason Embry, spokesperson, Joe Straus, Jan. 8, 11 and 25, 2016

Emails and phone interview, Lloyd Potter, Texas State Demographer, Office of the State Demographer, Jan. 22 and 25, 2016

Emails and phone interview, Robert Bernstein, public affairs specialist, U.S. Census Bureau, Jan. 18, 20, 21 and 22, 2016

Phone interview, William Frey, senior fellow, Brookings Institution, Jan. 20 and 28, 2016

Emails, Grace Palmer and Allison Courtin, communications, Brookings Institution, Jan. 20, 21 and 22, 2016.

Table, Table 1. Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for the United States, Regions, States, and Puerto Rico: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015,

Table, Table 3. Estimates of Resident Population Change for the United States, Regions, States, and Puerto Rico and Region and State Rankings: July 1, 2014 to July 1, 2015,

Table, State Populations, compilation of Census data,

Video, Joe Straus, Dec. 17, 2015

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Joe Straus accurately says Texas growing twice as fast as rest of nation

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