Hispanics account for two-thirds of Texas' growth over the past decade and now make up 38 percent of the state's total population, new U.S. Census figures show.
Non-Hispanic whites dropped to 45.3 percent and blacks make up 11.5 percent of Texas's population. The figures, which were obtained by The Associated Press, were given Thursday morning to state leaders and were set to be released publicly Thursday afternoon.
The detailed demographic data will be used to redraw boundaries for Congress and the Legislature. Texas is getting four new Congressional seats, more than any other state, and Hispanic leaders say more Latino-dominated seats should be drawn as part of the redistricting process.
"As Census figures show, Texas is becoming more ethnically and racially diverse. Without the tremendous growth of the Hispanic community, Texas would have had very little growth," said Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, leader of the Senate Democrats. "Our gain of four new congressional seats is solely due to minority population growth."
Former U.S. Census Director and longtime Texas demographer Steve Murdock said the figures for the number of non-Hispanic whites came in below previous estimates. Minority groups accounted for more than 80 percent of the 4.3 million increase in the state's population.
"The Hispanic growth has been even larger than we anticipated," Murdock said.
Texas grew by more than 20 percent over the last decade, more than twice the national rate of 9.7 percent. The state's population stands at 25.1 million. Though the state's total population grew by more than any other state, Nevada, which saw its population rise by more than a third, grew the fastest. Michigan is the only state that lost population in the past decade.
When it comes to added strength in Congress, Texas is in a league by itself. Because the seats go where the people are, the southwest is gaining influence in the U.S. House of Representatives, and Texas is adding more than any other state.
Texas already had the largest Republican delegation in Congress, holding 20 of the state's 32 seats. In the 2010 elections, the party picked up another three seats, two of them in heavily Latino districts in South Texas. With all the new growth, Texas will now have 36 seats and 38 presidential electoral votes.
Populations boom in North Texas
Based on the just release data from the 2010 Census, Dallas County remains the second most populated county in the state with 2.37 million residents. The population increased by 6.7 percent since the 2000 Census.
Tarrant County is the third most populated with 1.8 million residents, a 25 percent increase since 2000.
Collin County showed a significant jump into the seventh most populated county in the state with over 782,000 residents. The county increased its population by 59 percent since 2000.
Denton County also increased its population by 53 percent, making it the ninth most populated county in Texas.
When broken down by incorporated cities, Dallas only showed an increase of 0.8 percent in the last 10 years, while other cities in the area grew in much larger amounts.
Fort Worth and Grand Prairie both saw increases in population around 38 percent, Plano grew by 17 percent, and the city of McKinney was listed as growing a whopping 141 percent.
Fort Worth is state's fast-growing major city
According to the Census data, Fort Worth leads the Texas "big five" in growth, followed by Austin, San Antonio, Houston and Dallas.
Mayor Mike Moncrief said the numbers show what city leaders already know -- people like it in Cowtown.
"They like the business-friendly atmosphere," he said. "They like the quality of life they find here."
But the rapid growth also the city has some growing pains, such as traffic on old freeways that were not designed for so many people.
Moncrief said light-rail transit, a southwest toll road and the expansion of Interstate 35W to Highway 287 will improve the situation.
NBC DFW's Ken Kalthoff contributed to this report.