Texas, the Bellwether State

With its rapid economic growth, dynamic cities, and increasingly diverse population, Texas could offer a model for the future of the United States.

October 13, 2021, 9:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Houston

Silvio Ligutti / Shutterstock

In an opinion piece for The New York Times, Steven Pedigo argues that Texas is the country's "bellwether state," offering "a glimpse into the country’s economic future and engines of growth as well as its political fault lines in the long run."

Pedigo points to the 2020 Census as well as economic and demographic data from the last two decades, which show that "Texas is urbanizing even faster than California." And as a majority-minority state, "[i]ts present brand of politics may offer clues to the future of struggles across the country between a grasping after mythology and the shifting demographics of America."

Texas, writes Pedigo, "added 4.2 million residents between 2000 and 2010, and another four million in the last decade for a growth rate of almost 40 percent — double that of the country as a whole." Of the new Texans moving to the state since 2010, "over 95 percent of them have been people of color." Close to 70 percent of Texans live in four major metropolitan areas, which are all growing at a rapid rate.

Pedigo credits the state's business-friendly climate and "limited government" with luring major corporations to its cities. "Texas is no longer just about big oil and cattle; we have one of the most diversified economies in the country."

But Pedigo sees a problem with Governor Greg Abbott's "top-down policy agenda that is backward-looking, excludes huge swaths of Texas’s citizenry and runs against the grain of many of its new stakeholders’ values." According to polls, Texans are "deeply concerned about climate change" and "appalled by the G.O.P.’s divisive agenda." What is important to future growth, says Pedigo, is preserving  "[t]he Texas model of public-private cooperation with its mutual focus on growth."

Tuesday, October 5, 2021 in The New York Times

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