Nightly News | February 18, 2011
>>> there are new numbers out tonight from the u.s. census . they hold some staggering information about the second largest state in the union, texas . it was big before. it's now even bigger, and there's a reason. in our "we the people" report tonight, nbc's janet shamlian in houston with the story behind the numbers that are in the news tonight.
>> reporter: this is the new face of texas , young and hispanic.
>> dos, tres, cuatro.
>> reporter: ruth lopez and her family moved to houston eight months ago after 20 years in madison, wisconsin.
>> i got a great job offer from my employer, but i also was really eager to be near family, especially because now i have children.
>> reporter: families are feeling a population explosion in the lone star state . the number of texans has grown a colossal 20% in ten years. that's more than four million new residents. hispanics account for two-thirds of that increase. they're now 38% of the population. while the number of whites is dropping and the african-american population is staying about the same.
>> yes, it is certainly significant.
>> reporter: according to the experts, as goes texas , so eventually goes the nation.
>> the current diversity that you see in texas is the future of the u.s. and that is something we'll be dealing with in decades to come.
>> reporter: it's not an influx from across the border, but young families there are in the u.s. now growing.
>> i have a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old, and they love it here.
>> reporter: the biggest increases are in the largest cities, houston and dallas. and that growth is sliding into nearby rural areas, which are becoming sprawling suburbs, no longer predominantly white. it's bound to result in growing pains , from housing to health care in a state that's already financially strapped. and it will change politics, not just here but across the country. the state picks up four congressional seats, a louder voice in washington and a host of challenges as a new generation changes the face of texas . janet shamlian , nbc news, houston .