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Place matters a lot. The spatial variable is key for understanding inequalities. For this research project place matters in virtual and real terms, online and offline. The way in which Latino/Hispanic youth will move across both virtual and real space matters for understanding their assimilation, their inclusion, their social and geographic mobility.


Geography of Hispanics


Maps of Hispanic household concentrations from Census 2000 reveal the emergence of three overwhelmingly Hispanic population centers in Austin: lower east Austin (which also serves as the political bedrock of Austin’s Hispanic community), greater Dove Springs, and the St. Johns area. Dove Springs shifted from being about 45% Hispanic in 1990 to almost 80% by 2000. St. Johns went from being 35% to 70%--this radical transition is clearly evident on the streets of St. Johns, a neighborhood that once hosted one of Austin’s oldest African American communities. Please see Hispanic Population 2000 map.

The import of this trend is this: at the same time that ethnic minority populations are moving into the middle-class and are more capable than ever to live anywhere they choose, there are parts of the city where ethnic concentration is greatly increasing. However, it is lower-income minority households that are most likely to participate in the clustering phenomenon.

1. No majority

The City of Austin has now crossed the threshold of becoming a Majority-Minority city. Put another way, no ethnic or demographic group exists as a majority of the city’s population. The city’s Anglo share of total population has dropped below 50% (which probably occurred sometime during 2005) and will stay there for the foreseeable future. Please see Ethnicity Shares History graph.

It’s not that there hasn’t been absolute growth in the total number of Anglo households in Austin but rather it’s because the growth of other ethnic groups has outpaced the growth of Anglo households. For example, the growth rate of Latino and Asian households far exceeds the growth of Anglo households in Austin.

2. Decreasing families-with-children share in the urban core

The share of all households within the city’s urban core made-up of families-with-children is slowly declining. In 1970, the urban core’s families-with-children share was just above 32%, Census 2000 puts the figure at not quite 14%. Moreover, with only a few neighborhood exceptions, the urban core is also becoming almost devoid of married-with-children households, please see Concentrations of Married with Children map.

4. Hispanic share of total population

Will it ever surpass the Anglo share? Maybe not, but they’ll be close to each other in a short 25 years. You just can’t say enough about how strong Hispanic growth has been. The city’s Hispanic share in 1990 was under 23%, the Census 2000 figure was almost 31%, and this share of total is probably around 35% today.

Importantly, the city’s stream of incoming Hispanic households is socio-economically diverse. Middle-class Hispanic households have migrated to Austin from other parts of the state and the country for high-tech and trade sector jobs while international immigrant Hispanic and Latino households have come here for construction and service sector jobs. Among other effects on the total population, the huge influx of Hispanic families into Austin, with higher-than-average household sizes and more children per household, has acted to dampen the increase in the city’s median age, keeping Austin one of the youngest cities in the country. Moreover, were it not for Hispanic families moving into the urban core, the city’s falling families-with-children share would have had a much steeper descent.

Poor Urban and Suburban Settings

limited economic opportunities, ethnic tensions, low performing and toxic schools, little community engagement.