Houston’s racial and ethnic diversity is one of the characteristics that makes it such a compelling destination. A significant foreign-born population coupled with rapid growth among Black, Asian and Hispanic populations over the last decade fosters a unique environment of diverse cultural celebrations, foods and experiences.

The latest American Community Survey from the U.S. Census tells us a lot about the changing face of the region’s residents. Nearly a quarter (23.9%) of the metro population was born outside of the U.S.—up from 22.3% a decade ago, according to an analysis of the data completed by the Greater Houston Partnership. The 370,000 foreign-born folks who moved to this region over the last decade represent about one-third of the overall population gain during that period. To put things into perspective: metro Houston’s total foreign-born population now exceeds the total population of metros such as Milwaukee, Jacksonville, Fla. and Oklahoma City, according to the Partnership.

So where are these folks coming from? Roughly 61% are from Latin American countries. A little over a quarter (25.9%) came from Asia, with another 6.8% from Africa, and 4.9% from Europe.

Language is incredibly important to many newcomers, and estimates suggest that more than 145 different languages and dialects are spoken in our region. Among residents five years or older, 40.1% speak a language other than English at home.

On the racial front, Houston’s Black, Asian and Hispanic populations have each grown significantly over the last decade. Census data shows that many more people are self-identifying as more than one race compared with 2012. And while Hispanics now comprise the largest racial/ethnic community in the region, no single group constitutes a majority of the population—a fact that has held true since the late 1990s, according to Partnership researchers.

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