Texas’ Education Challenge: A Demographic Dividend or Bust?

  • Marta Tienda


Texas is positioned to harness a demographic dividend—a productivity boost enabled by human capital investments in its outsized minority youth cohorts. To do so, I argue, Texas’ political leadership must act decisively and boldly to close achievement gaps along racial and ethnic lines and to raise college completion levels.

Drawing on selective national and international comparisons, I show that Texas is falling behind in college completion rates even as the statewide share of graduates continues to inch up. Racial and ethnic differentials are more troubling because the largest gaps correspond to the fast-growing Hispanic population. Underinvestment in higher education has created a college squeeze that will constrain Texas’ ability to harness a demographic dividend.


Gross Domestic Product Human Capital Investment Human Capital Stock Demographic Dividend Education Challenge 
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© Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas 2015

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  • Marta Tienda

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