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The Brief: March 24, 2010

Census results released yesterday reconfirm that the state Sarah Palin likes to call Alaska’s little sister is anything but little. Texas cities continue to break population records, according to the last population estimates from the Census Bureau.

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THE BIG CONVERSATION:

Census results released yesterday reconfirm that the state Sarah Palin likes to call Alaska’s little sister is anything but little. Texas cities continue to break population growth records, according to the last population estimates from the Census Bureau before the 2010 numbers.

More people moved to the Dallas-Fort Worth area in 2009 than to any other metropolitan area in the country —  nearly 147,000 transplants. Houston was just behind the Metroplex nationally, with 141,000 new residents. The two Texas cities beat out Los Angeles, New York, and Washington D.C., which rounded out the rest of the top five. Austin, which ranked 12th, and San Antonio, which ranked 16th, were also in the top twenty growth cities.

And Travis County’s population bounced past the 1 million mark, with Williamson and Hays counties joining Collin and Rockwall in the ranks of the fastest-growing counties.

El Paso County grew, too, but by rates “unspectacular” by Texas standards. (That still means it ranked 40th nationally.) The number of residents leaving the region dropped from about 5,600 to 2,000 from 2007 to 2008. At the same time, more people migrated to the city — and those estimates “may not reveal the full effect of drug-cartel violence and loss of factory jobs in Juárez.”

Demographers attribute Texas’ growth in to “good jobs and a better-than-elsewhere economy” and say the trend will continue in the 2010 data.

"You've got a diverse economy with lots of jobs in high tech and industry. I think the fact that the bottom dropped out of the housing markets in formerly hot areas like Florida and California made Texas look more attractive. I would guess Texas' low unemployment rate also played a part,” says Mark Mather, associate vice president of the Population Reference Bureau.


CULLED:

· Recently-announced state senate candidate David Sibley will get a little help from his friend George W. Bush. The former president will endorse Sibley’s bid against Baylor political scientist Gayle Avant, Granbury motivational speaker Brian Birdwell and Burleson businessman Darren Yancy for Kip Averitt’s old seat at a Waco luncheon.

· State Rep. Patrick Rose, Chairman of the House Committee on Human Services, chastised state officials yesterday for failing to alert legislators that employees of state homes had criminal backgrounds including murder and sexual assault. The Dripping Springs Democrat said: “We want to know that information not three months later, 31/2 months later.”

· U.S. Rep. Randy Neugebauer told the Abilene Reporter News he will not apologize on the House floor to Bart Stupak, the Michigan congressman he called a “baby-killer” during Sunday’s healthcare vote. Stupak called for a formal apology during on interview with CBS News last night. The Lubbock Republican also issued a new YouTube video reiterating his pro-life views this week.

· The Texas GOP filed a complaint with the Texas Ethics Commission against gubernatorial candidate Bill White yesterday, charging he hasn’t reported $83,000 worth of income to the body. The White campaign says it wasn’t required to report the money because it was “occupational income.”

· The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower court decision that said the state was responsible for the poor performance of students with “limited English proficiency.” The federal court ruled that while the gap is “alarming,” it falls to local school districts, not the state, to offer programs to help those students.

"Texas is the bright light in this very dim decade."William Frey, a demographer at Brookings Institution who analyzed the recently released census data.

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