Texas Almanac, 1952-1953 Page: 62
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The most revolutionary population changes
in the history of Texas were shown by the
census of 1950. Striking changes character-
ized the new population figures in most other
states, but Texas was outstanding in this re-
The Texas total population as of April 1,
1950, was 7,711,194, an increase of 1,296,370, or
20.2 per cent over the population of 6,414,824
in 1940. This was the largest increase in num-
ber recorded by any of the eleven censuses,
beginning with 1850. Because of the larger
base for calculation, the percentage of in-
crease of 1950 over 1940 was not as note-
worthy but it was exactly twice the percent-
age of increase of 10.1 which the census of
1940 showed as compared with that of 1930.
Most remarkable was the big increase in
turban population which was -4,834,000. or
62.7 of the whole population. Total rural
population was '2,877,000, or 37.3 per cent.
This total "rural population" was broken
down as follows: Rural nonfarm population,
*1,570,000, or 20.4 per cent: rural farm popu-
lation, *1,307,000, or 16.9 per cent. (See foot-
note on new definition of urban and rural
This was the first census to show Texas
with a predominantly urban population. Be-
tween 1940 and 1950. Texas urban population
increased from 2,911,389 to '4.834,000, while
rural nonfarm population increased from
1.354,248 to -1,570,000; and rural farm popula-
tion decreased from 2,149,187 to '1,307,000.
(See tables on a following page showing
urban and rural population.)
Several developments in the economy of
Texas contributed to this radical shift from
rural to urban residence and vocation. Mech-
anization of the farming industries was one
cause. The decline in the cotton acreage was
another. Cotton growing has resisted mechan-
ization more than most crops, though it has
been partly mechanized, especially in the
western part of the state.
The rapid development of the manufactur-
ing industries was another, first the big
industries -of World War II and then the
expansion of the petroleum, chemical and
other industries after the war. Between the
censuses of manufacturing in 1939 and 1947
(two latest), Texas industries doubled their
production, and greatly increased their em-
ployment. There was a resulting increase in
employment in the distributive, transportation
and other classifications of commerce.
While employment on the farms was de-
clining, it was increasing rapidly in the urban
trades. The shift was rapid. One of the re-
sults has been a rapid decrease in farm ten-
*Preliminary figure of Census Bureau, subject
to final revision.
tBecause of adoption of a new definition of
"urban" and "rural" population, the shift from
rural to urban classification is greater than it
would have been if the old definitions had been
used. Prior to the census of 1950 the bureau held
rather rigidly to a definition that put in the
urban classification all population min incorporated
places of 2,500 or more. All other population was
classed as rural. 'In the census of 1950 urban
population includes, in addition to the residents of
incorporated places of 2,500 or more, the residents
of unincorporated places of 2,500 or more, densely
populated suburban areas of cities of 50,000 or
more population and some other areas.
However, even under the older definitions there
was a great swing from rural to urban classifica-
tion between 1940 and 1950. Counting as urban
only the population living in incorporated places
of 2,500 or more in 1950, there were 4,403,791 in
the urban classification, or 57.1 per cent of the
population, leaving 3;307,403, or 42.9 per cent in
the rural classification.
The adoption of new definitions also accentuated
the shift from "rural farm" to "rural nonfarm"
classifications, though not as much as in the min-
stances of the shift from rural to urban population
ancy, especially the share-cropper class, to-
gether with a decrease in number of farms
and an increase in average size of farms.
The decline in rural and increase in urban
population was quite evident in the percent-
age of counties that lost population as com-
pared with the percentage of towns that lost.
Out of 254 counties, 141 lost population. How-
ever, out of 421 cities and towns of 2,500 or
more population that were enumerated in
both 1940 and 1950, only forty-three lost
population. The usual pattern was a decrease
in the county population but an increase in
the population of the towns within the county.
This indicated that, while most of the drift
of population was to the larger Texas cities,
much of it was local and to the smaller towns.
Most of the increase in the Texas popula-
tion was because of excess of births over
deaths. The movement of residents of other
states into Texas was small as compared with
the natural increase. There was only a very
small emigration of Texas residents to other
Texas white population increased from
5,487,545 in 1940 to 6,825,000 (preliminary)
in 1950, or 24.4 per cent. Nonwhite population.
almost entirely Negro, decreased from 927.279
to 886.000 during the census decennium. a
loss of 4.5 per cent.
The Bureau of the Census does not classify
the population in' such way that the total
Latin-American population can be had, mean-
ing primarily the Spanish-speaking population
of both Mexican citizenship and United States
citizenship. A Spanish name calculation will
be released after full census returns are an-
nounced. A survey of the Latin-American, or
Spanish-speaking, population under a Rocke-
feller grant in recent years has indicated a
total of 1,500,000 residing in Texas with a
rapid increase in recent years
The last census enumeration of all Spanish-
speaking people of Mexican descent, including
citizens of both Mexico and the United States.
was that of 1930, when the number in Texas
was 683,681, of whom 266,046 were born in
Mexico. During the decennium, 1930-40, there
was relatively little migration from Mexico
and the census of 1940 showed only 159,266
foreign-born people of Mexican descent. The
labor demand, beginning with World War II,
encouraged migration and the number in-
creased rapidly during the 1940-1950 decen-
This large increase of Latin-American popu-
lation has created a social and political prob-
lem. Many of the migrants enter the United
States illegally. (They are locally known as
"wetbacks" because it is said that they swim
the Rio Grande at unguarded points.) The
difference in wages in Mexico and the United
States attracts the immigrants, but the new-
comers, speaking a foreign tongue, unac-
quainted with- customs in the United States
and fearful of deportation, are sometimes ex-
ploited by employers, bringing charges of
racial discrimination. Some progress has been
made in recent years in eliminating this dis-
crimination. The State Government maintains
a Good Neighbor Commission for this pur-
pose. (See index for list of state officials.)
The Socio-Economic Survey of the Spanish-
speaking People of Texas in 1948 and 1949,
directed by Dr. Lyle Saunders, was for the
purpose of finding basic information that
would be helpful in efforts. toward elimination
The Mexican and Mexican-descent popula-
tion of Texas lies principally along the border
from El Paso to the Gulf, extending north-
ward in fairly dense population as far as San
Antonio. This is the area of original Spanish
and Mexican colonization. Some families date
back to early settlement on Spanish royal
land grants more than 200 years old. They are
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Texas Almanac, 1952-1953, book, 1951; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117137/m1/64/: accessed September 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.