This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 13th (it will be out in January 2020), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

You can download an iPhone app for the 13th edition from the App Store (search for Weeks Population).

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at:

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Will Texas Go From Red to Blue?

Prior to the recent US presidential election I had read Gail Collins' book "As Texas Goes..." which includes an interview with demographer Steven Murdock discussing the future importance of the Latino vote in that state. As expected, at least this time around, the state did vote for Romney, but it is clear in the aftermath of President Obama's re-election that Latinos in Texas are in the spotlight as people contemplate the state's future, which includes lots of immigrants and children of immigrants. The immediate thought among most people is that Texas will become a "blue" state because the Democrats did so much better this year among Latinos than did the Republicans. Ryan Lizza, writing for The New Yorker, notes that even the state's newly elected Republican US Senator Ted Cruz, is worried about this.
“If Republicans do not do better in the Hispanic community,” he said, “in a few short years Republicans will no longer be the majority party in our state.” He ticked off some statistics: in 2004, George W. Bush won forty-four per cent of the Hispanic vote nationally; in 2008, John McCain won just thirty-one per cent. On Tuesday, Romney fared even worse. 
“In not too many years, Texas could switch from being all Republican to all Democrat,” he said. “If that happens, no Republican will ever again win the White House. New York and California are for the foreseeable future unalterably Democrat. If Texas turns bright blue, the Electoral College math is simple. We won’t be talking about Ohio, we won’t be talking about Florida or Virginia, because it won’t matter. If Texas is bright blue, you can’t get to two-seventy electoral votes. The Republican Party would cease to exist. We would become like the Whig Party. Our kids and grandkids would study how this used to be a national political party. ‘They had Conventions, they nominated Presidential candidates. They don’t exist anymore.’ ”
However, Cruz (who is of Cuban-origin) also notes that many Hispanics share the traditional values of hard work and strong family ties that are regularly seen as being central to the Republican Party. If non-Hispanic Republicans come to understand this, the story may change. Indeed, even Sean Hannity of Fox News has flipped on immigration. If Fox News gets behind this, will that matter? The first task would have to be to convince people in Texas cities, which are already more blue than the more rural parts of the state, as you might anticipate, and as you can see in a very interesting map put together by Kirk Goldsberry, an assistant professor of geography at Michigan State University


  1. Hi Prof Weeks,

    Ran across this and am wondering if this is real. I recall reading about Singapore (I think) trying to get people to have more children, but not being successful. This may be a case of a person (or a Church, more precisely) seeing success in such an endeavor.

  2. The story about the birth rate and abortion rate in Georgia is only half-true. It is true that the abortion rate in Georgia dropped by half between 2005 (when the results of a Reproductive Health Survey were released) and now. But this was due to a USAID-assisted program that brought contraceptives to Georgian women, so that they no longer had to rely on abortion as their main method of fertility control. However, there is no evidence that the birth rate has risen in Georgia. It has been low for a long time and no one expects it to go up any time soon. Singapore's attempts to raise its birth rate have also been unsuccessful.