The population in Texas has an obiously high proportion of Hispanics and Latinos. Close proximity to the border, and a long history of migration makes some communities in the state feel more a part of Mexico than the US at times.
The diversity in Texas reaches further, though, and is a part of life in cities throughout the state. From Fort Bend County to Dallas, the ethnic and linguistic diversity is present.
A large contibutor to this diversity is immigration. As of 2015, 4.7 million immigrants made up 17 percent of the state's population. The top country of origin for immigrants is Mexico, with 55.1 percent of immigrants. However, the second country is not even in Latin or Central America. Five percent of immigrants in Texas are from India. Followed by El Salvador (4.3 percent), Vietnam (3.7 percent), and China (2.3 percent).
These higher immigration rates have a direct impact on language spoken at home.
According to the 2009-2013 American Housing survey, of the nearly 24 million people in Texas five years or older, 65 percent speak only English at home. The other 35 percent speak more than 160 languages combined.
35 percent of Texans speak a language other than English at home.
The share of Asian immigrants to Texas has more than doubled, from 17.3 percent in 2005 to 40.4 percent in 2013, which helps explain the high numbers of Vietnamese and Chinese speakers.
What is really important about these numbers is their distribution. Asian migrants have not dispersed across the state in equal numbers; they've largely settled in the state’s big metropolitan areas, like Harris, Dallas, Tarrant and Travis counties. Dallas is the 10th most diverse county in the country.
In Fort Bend County, which has been called the most ethnically diverse county in America, the school district is charged with educating children who speak up to 100 different languages at home. Only 17 percent of the Fort Bend Independent School District’s student population is white. Asians and Middle Eastern students make up a quarter of the student population; of the remaining students, half are black and half are Hispanic. 17.5 percent of the county’s population is Asian—107,000 people. Interestingly, Fort Bend county is also the wealthiest county in the state, with a median household income of $95,389.
The most common foreign languages in Fort Bend County are Spanish (110,683 speakers), Chinese (24,334 speakers), and Urdu (14,015 speakers). Compared to other places, Fort Bend County has an impressive number of Urdu speakers, as well as Gujarati speakers (6,510), and Hindi speakers (10,205).
Some other notable population concentrations for language and diversity in Texas:
We can’t help wondering who will the citizens among them vote for - Ted Cruz or Beto O’Rourke? It will depend who can reach out to them with a message that resonates.
The presence of ethnic media sources is a reflection of the Texas' population and demographics, as is evident from the high number of Spanish and African American outlets.
This is in line with the national trend as Hispanic and African American publications make up half the ethnic press in the US. Such sources in Texas include Al Día Dallas, the largest Spanish language newspaper in North Texas with an average weekly distribution of 250,000, and the Houston Forward Times, an African American award-winning and historic weekly newspaper which boasts a paid circulation of roughly 65,000.
African American media provide a unique perspective and direct line into their community. For example, the philosophy of the weekly Dallas Post Tribune newspaper is: “The Black Press believes that America can best lead the world away from racial and national antagonism when it accords to every man, regardless of race, color or creed, his/her human legal rights. Hating no man, fearing no man, the Black press strives to help everyone in the firm belief that all are hurt as long as any are held back.”
However, Texas is also home to other ethnic groups, many of whom speak languages other than English. According to the 2009-2013 American Housing survey, of the nearly 24 million people in Texas five years or older, 65 percent speak only English at home. The rest speak more than 160 languages combined. The top three languages spoken in Texas other than English are Spanish (6,983,380), Vietnamese (193,408) and Chinese (140,971). Rounding out the top ten other languages in Texas are Tagalog, German, French, Hindi, Urdu, Korean and Arabic.
By monitoring ethnic media sources, MIREMS removes language and cultural barriers so that non-English speaking communities can be heard, offering insight into how and what they think about a range of social and political issues.
All ten of these languages are represented in the ongoing sample of ethnic media sources that MIREMS has compiled in Texas. The sample contains 64 sources covering 13 language groups: African, African American, Arabic, Chinese, Filipino, German, Korean, South Asian English, Spanish, Tamil, Urdu and Vietnamese. Most prominent are the number of Spanish (15), Vietnamese (11), African American (9) sources.
The number of Asian sources reflects the fact that the percentage of Asian immigrants to Texas has more than doubled in recent years, from 17.3 percent in 2005 to 40.4 percent in 2013. For example, DKNET Radio AM 730 broadcasts Korean language programming to more than 100,000 Koreans every day in Dallas and nearby areas. Founded in 1976, the World Journal is the most influential Chinese-language newspaper in North America and is published in various major US cities including Dallas.
Urdu is also represented in MIREMS’ sample with six sources in Houston, including the Urdu Times, which is North America’s first Urdu newspaper as well as the largest circulated Urdu publication in the world outside of Pakistan. It simultaneously publishes out of multiple US cities including Houston.
For the South Asian community, Sangeet Radio celebrates a leading position in Houston and surrounding areas as one of the longest running, multicultural radio programs of its kind. Its distinct programming reaches out to over 500,000 listeners throughout Houston and the city’s surrounding areas. According to The Express Tribune, the first internationally affiliated newspaper in Pakistan, “What truly sets Sangeet apart is its dedicated hour-long political show, which has been launched keeping in mind that the US elections are right around the corner.” Saeed Gaddi, who started Sangeet Radio in May 1997, explains: “From 7 to 8pm, we have a political show to accommodate American politicians, both local as well as congressional candidates, so that they can talk about the community’s issues.”
Many other ethnic media sources are also expressing their political opinions, including the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung, established in 1852 as the first German newspaper in Texas. It published an opinion piece in January of this year titled “Democrats have good candidates”, discussing how U.S. Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke held livestream events all over the state and saying “there’s much for Democrats and other progressives to be excited about” in the New Year.
Our sample collection of ethnic media sources in Texas includes 40 newspapers: 4 monthly, 1 twice monthly, 25 weekly, and 10 daily. This means that, out of MIREMS’ sample list, 95 ethnic newspaper issues are published each week. The remaining 24 sources are websites, TV and radio programs. As shown by the population demographics in Texas, the state’s ethnic media sources are worth paying attention to in order to listen to voices the communities which are making themselves heard in multiple languages.
As Florida’s population continues to rise—scheduled to reach 26 million by 2030—and some cities and counties already exist as minority-majority communities, it’s no surprise that the means of communication in those communities is becoming more and more important. Not just for those living in the communities, but anyone hoping to work with, influence, support, learn from or communicate with them.
More than 27 percent of Floridians speak a language other than English. And it’s more than just Spanish.
In Hallandale Beach, 25 percent of the cities 40,000 residents speak a language other than English or Spanish at home. It’s projected that 6.2 million Floridians will speak a language other than English at home by 2030.
From Russian papers with no online presence, Haitian weeklies stacked in corner stores and pirate radio stations, there’s a huge presence of ethnic media and the diverse voices they carry in the state of Florida.
Florida is home to the US’s second highest Russian population with 260,000 people. Sunny Isles, which has a weekly Russian newspaper called Express Courier, has seen many Russians arrive over the past 20 years and it has experienced an increase in recent years due to conflict in the region.
Little Haiti, aka “Lemon City”, has a large population of Haitian exiles as well as other Caribbean immigrants. Haitian-Creole is spoken widely in the area.
Florida’s largest language increases have come from Middle-Eastern languages like Pashto, and Asian languages have seen a 47 percent increase from 2005-2015.
Two main ethnic groups, Latino and African American, make up almost half of the ethnic press in the US. Florida also contains a large number of Spanish media, including well established daily newspapers such as El Nuevo Herald (with a circulation of 48,079) and Diario Las Americas weekly.
The African American newspapers include the likes of The South Florida Times and The Miami Times (with a circulation of 80,000).
MIREMS sources comprise of upwards of 250 ethnic media editions or broadcasts published or produced every week.
Written by Caora McKenna