Texas and California are both large states with populations in the millions. California is known for sunshine and beaches, while Texas is known for expansive ranches and delicious steaks. With the two states being so large, you may wonder if Texas’s population will ever surpass California’s. 

Some studies show that the population of Texas could surpass that of California in as soon as 20 years. With the current population of Texas at 29.53 million and California at 39.24 million, Texas’s growth is happening quicker than previously expected.

Below, we’ll discuss more information on the population of both of these great states. Keep reading to learn the upsides and downsides of population growth! 

What Are the Populations of Texas and California?

According to the US Census Bureau, Texas had a population of 29.53 million people as of 2021. 

Per the same census, California had a population of 39.24 million. 

Due to tax increases in California surrounding the pandemic of 2020, these numbers have changed. 

Dubbed a “Mass Exodus,” many larger companies opted to move out of California and to other more tax-friendly states, including Texas. 

Texas is considered the second most populated state, and California the first. 

According to a CBS News interview, the population of Texas could surpass California as soon as 20 years from now. 

The Population Reference Bureau claims that three states made up approximately 27% of the US population — California, Texas, and Florida.

This number continues to grow by leaps and bounds each year. 

How Have Changes in Government and Business Affected Population?

After the 2021 census, Texas gained two congressional seats, while California lost one.

This increase in seats is due to a changing population, partly because of corporations moving from California to Texas. 

Companies that have made this move include:

  • Oracle: Previously located in Santa Clara, California, now in Austin, Texas.
  • SpaceX: Previously located in Hawthorne, California, now in Austin, Texas.

Some are beginning to say that Texas has everything needed to move into the future of business and technology. 

Population Growth in Texas vs. California

The first-ever census taken in Texas was done so in 1777. Texas came in with a population of 3,103 people. 

The first-ever census was taken in California in 1850. The census was taken in the midst of the gold rush, so the numbers are thought to be incorrect. 

There were also several counties where census documents were lost or destroyed. These counties included:

  • Contra Costa
  • San Francisco 
  • Santa Clara

Another census was done in 1850 and fully recorded. The population count for California at this time came in at 92,597. 

Over the last decade, the population growth percentage in California has been at its lowest since 1910. It had a growth of 6.1 percent. Texas, however, more than doubled the national average at 15.9 percent growth. This was also more than double the percentage rate of California for the decade. 

The Upside to Population Growth in Texas

Population growth can have a positive effect on a state’s economy. Not only does it create more business opportunities, but it also helps create jobs for people in those businesses. 

Businesses buy real estate and pay taxes to the city, creating an influx in revenue. 

The city then turns that money outward and creates better parks, smoother roads, better school systems, and libraries. 

The increase in taxes paid by the new businesses can be spent on things like better healthcare. These things, in turn, bring even more people to the area, and the cycle continues. 

These changes would affect Texas in a few ways, mainly in revenue. 

Long known for producing oil and raising cattle, population growth in Texas could mean the need for more meat.

This, in turn, raises ranchers’ income and creates more jobs for ranch hands and veterinarians. 

The Downside to Population Growth in Texas

Most people think population growth is always a positive thing. 

You get more businesses to give consumers more options, create more jobs, and increase the city or state’s overall revenue. 

These are all great, but there are also negative aspects to consider. 

Some of these population growth concerns, specifically for Texas, include: 

  • Higher cost of living
  • Congested streets and highways
  • Potential water shortages

Whenever you have a higher cost of living and an increase in population, you get more traffic and longer commutes. 

People who can’t afford the cost of living will move outside the area and commute to bigger cities to make more money. 

That increases traffic congestion and issues such as air and noise pollution. 

With the increase in construction, you also get increased congestion around construction sites and increased air and noise pollution from the use of heavy machinery. 

While most of that is temporary, it can take a few years to complete. 

Most of the west has been in a drought for quite a while, so there is always concern about water availability. 

In these hot, dry climates, water is needed for drinking and cooling off in a pool, lake, or river. 

Increased population means more people are taking in water that is already at an all-time low. 

In Conclusion

While Texas is considered the second most populated state in the US, it is quickly heading toward the number one spot. 

Some experts estimate that Texas could surpass California’s population in as little as 20 years,  bringing even more meaning to the Lone Star state’s slogan of “Everything is bigger in Texas.”

Population growth in Texas is happening naturally with births, but also with more people moving to the state than moving out. 

Businesses moving in to escape high tax rates in California are also increasing the population.