Texas Minorities Now the Majority

Texas in 2004 joined three other states with "majority-minority" populations-- in which non-Hispanic whites make up less than half the citizenry, according to U.S. Census data released Thursday.

Hawaii has long been a majority-minority state, but more recently New Mexico and California entered the category. Five states - Arizona, Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi and New York - are next in line with minority populations of about 40 percent.

Minorities comprise 77 percent of Hawaii's population, 57 percent in New Mexico, 56 percent in California, and 50.2 percent in Texas, the Census report said based on 2004 population estimates. Click here to see the Census data.

Texas teetered on the edge of becoming majority-minority in 2003 when minorities made up 49.5 percent of the state's population. Hispanics already had become the largest ethnic or racial group in Texas' two biggest cities, Houston and Dallas.

Even before reaching majority-minority status, the state's demographic shift became a pivotal issue in Texas' redistricting fight. Democrats said the 2003 remap was unconstitutional because it manipulated voting districts to give one party an unfair advantage and swindled thousands of minority Texans out of their voting rights.

State lawyers defended the GOP plan in court that handed six more seats to Republicans in the U.S. Congress, arguing that changes to majority-minority districts were motivated by politics, not race. In June, a U.S. District court ruled that there is no basis to declare the plan invalid.

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