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Texans Want Slower Growth, Limited Immigration

The population of Texas has more than doubled since 1980, and most voters in the Lone Star State want policies to slow that pace, including reducing immigration. 

A new telephone and online survey by Rasmussen Reports and NumbersUSA finds that only 13% of Likely Texas voters want their state’s population to continue to grow rapidly, while 46% want the population to grow more slowly.

Twenty-four percent (24%) want the Texas population to stay about the same size and 13% want the state’s population to become smaller. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Nearly half (46%) of Texas voters want local and state governments in Texas to make it more difficult for people to move to Texas from other states by restricting development, while 57% favor reducing immigration.

“Texas likely voters are surprisingly willing to slow down – or even stop – growth and development in order to secure a future quality of life that involves less congestion, traffic, and crowding,” said Jeremy Beck, director of NumbersUSA’s Sustainability Initiative.

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The survey of 1,020 Texas Likely Voters was conducted on March 8, 2023 by Rasmussen Reports and NumbersUSA. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

If recent migration and fertility trends continue, Texas demographers project that the state's population of 30 million will reach about 44 million by 2060.

Fifty-five percent (55%) of Texas voters find the prospect of adding another 14 million residents to the state’s population to be more negative, while 30% find it to be more positive. Another 15% are not sure.
If Texas adds another 14 million residents, 73% of Texas voted expect traffic to become much worse, compared to 21% who believe the state Department of Transportation would be able to build enough extra road capacity to accommodate the extra residents without more congestion.

Among other findings of the Rasmussen Reports/NumbersUSA survey of Texas voters:

– Ninety-three percent (93%) believe it is important to protect U.S. farmland from development so the United States is able to produce enough food to feed its own human population in the future, including 74% who think it is Very Important to protect farmland from development.

– A strong majority of Texas voters want to protect the state’s limited water supply. Fifty-seven percent (57%) believe water used to irrigate farmland should not be diverted to support additional human population growth in Texas. Sixty-nine percent (69%) believe the remaining amount of water in free-flowing streams and rivers should be used to support forested wildlife habitat, fish and birds, rather than to support the projected increase of residents in the state.

– Ninety-two percent (92%) think that, from an environmental standpoint, it is important to preserve Texas’ woodlands, natural wetlands, rivers, grasslands, and mountains, including 67% who say environmental preservation is Very Important.

– Seventy-one percent (71%) of Texas voters think that In trying to control illegal immigration, the government should mandate that all employers use the federal electronic E-Verify system to help ensure that they hire only legal workers for U.S. jobs. Only 17% are opposed to mandating E-Verify, while 12% are not sure.

– There is strong consensus across party lines and demographic categories about many issues related to population growth in Texas. For example, 70% of Democrats, 65% of Republicans and 67% of independent voters believe it is Very Important to preserve Texas’ woodlands, natural wetlands, rivers, grasslands, and mountains. Seventy-four percent (74%) of whites, 59% of black voters, 65% of Hispanics and 83% of other minorities favor making E-Verify mandatory to help control illegal immigration.

– Currently the federal government adds about one million legal permanent immigrants to the country each year, but 43% of Texas voters believe that should be reduced to half a million or less. Ten percent (10%) think annual immigration to the U.S. should be increased to 2 million or more annually, while 13% support increasing it to 1.5 million a year. Twenty-four percent (24%) want to keep annual immigration at around one million, 20% would reduce it to a half-million, and 23% want to reduce yearly immigration to 100,000 or less.

– Ninety percent (90%) of Texas voters say that In recent years, they have sensed that Texas’s cities, parks, neighborhoods, schools, and roads have become more crowded, including 54% who feel Texas has become much more crowded.
– Eighty-eight percent (88%) say it is important that they can easily get to Natural Areas and Open Space, including 54% who say it’s Very Important. A study of government data found that 70% of the loss of Texas’s Open Space, natural habitat, and farmland in recent decades was related to the state's rapid population growth. Fifty-eight percent (58%) believe that continuing this level of population growth into the future would make Texas worse.

“Texans place a high value on the Lone Star State's natural and open spaces,” NumbersUSA's Beck said, “and strong majorities would rather see limited water resources be left in rivers, lakes, and streams than be diverted to accommodate additional population growth.”

The Rasmussen Reports Immigration Index for the week of March 19-23, 2023, decreased to 86.4, down nearly six points from 90.2 two weeks earlier.

Immigration Index has been under the baseline in every survey since Election Day 2020. The index is about 15 points below where it was in late October 2020, indicating voters are looking for tighter immigration control from President Joe Biden’s administration.

In communities affected by recent illegal immigration, voters believe the impact on schools, health care and employment has been mainly negative.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to the public as well as Platinum Members.

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The survey of 1,020 Texas Likely Voters was conducted on March 8, 2023 by Rasmussen Reports and NumbersUSA. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research.

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