Dr. Albert L Reyes
3D Perspective on the Future: Demographics, Diversity, and Destiny
Demographics, Diversity, and Destiny was the title of my first blog on this topic last week. Dr. Thom Wolf, founder and international president of University Institute, engaged my article and referred to it as a 3D perspective, so I am running with his perceptive response. Where are we headed over the next 20 years in terms of demographics, diversity, and destiny?
The Texas Demographic Center reports that the population of Texas will grow from 29 million to 36 million by 2030, a 24% increase in just seven fast years. In that same time, the Hispanic population will become a clear majority population from 2023 through 2030 and beyond.
I mentioned in my first blog that the tipping point of a Hispanic-population majority is on track to happen in 2022. One study reported that 29% of all households in Texas are Spanish-speaking already. When you focus this growth in Texas’ large cities, by 2040 Austin will be the fastest growing city in the United States, doubling in size to reach 2 million, followed by increases in Houston (66.7%), San Antonio (57.3%), Dallas-Fort Worth (53.4%), and McAllen-Edinburg (51.3%). During the next 18 years we will see the population dramatically expand in Texas.
The opportunities for business expansion and growth, the need for quality education for Texas citizens, the need for more congregations to share the gospel and offer hope, and the increase in the number of children who are vulnerable and families in crisis will continue to expand as our state grows.
Why focus on Texas? While we expect the entire country to grow and expand, Buckner International is based in Texas with ministry in 12 cities across the state and six countries outside of the United States. Texas is home base for us. If we were to only focus on Texas and the places where we already serve in the future, we would have our hands full.
A wise leader once said, “Numbers numb, and stories stick.” So enough about numbers. Why does this matter? The point I am trying to make is that our future has changed since 1999 when I began my work at Baptist University of the Americas at the doorstep of a new century, when I served as president of Texas Baptists in 2004, wading into a new era of explosive growth in our state, and when I became the sixth president of Buckner International in 2010 just past our first decade of the 21st century.
The future happened faster than I was expecting. We are there now. When I think about the next 20 years, I am surprised at the changes that lie ahead of us. Are you? We will grow numerically as a state, but we will also become more diverse and live in closer proximity to each other. Are we prepared to engage the world that has come next door?
We are the stewards of that future. What we do today will impact Texas for the next 20 years. How will our actions today impact the nearness of God’s Kingdom for many who differ from us culturally, from those who speak another language, for the growing number of Texans who need hope? How wide is the gap between a vision for the next 20 years and what the Apostle John envisioned at the end of time? John said “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.” In the coming weeks I will explore more questions and a few answers.
“Bilingualism in Texas,” Ray Perryman; “Get ready for new neighbors: Austin to nearly double in size,” G. Scott Thomas.