Comal County is growing younger, despite national trends moving the other way.
Census Bureau data released Thursday showed the nation, as a whole, is growing older, yet Comal County is seeing the opposite trend — further iterating young people are the ones driving the county’s growth.
Also driving the county, state and country’s growth is the boom of the Hispanic population, a population that is projected to flourish over the next 30 years and shift national demographics.
“The nation is aging — more than four out of every five counties were older in 2018 than in 2010,” said Luke Rogers, the Chief of the Population Estimates Branch at the Census Bureau. “Now, half of the U.S. population is over the age of 38.2.”
The median age for the nation went from 37.2 years old in 2010 to 38.2 years old in 2018, however in Comal County the median age shifted from 42.5 years old in 2010 to 41.7 years old in 2018.
This is something that is apparent in the appearance and growth of more young networking groups such as the New Braunfels Jaycees, NB Next, and more, said Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Mike Meek in an earlier interview with the Herald-Zeitung.
“We have the Jaycees, and we have the NB Next group, we’ve got all these groups — 20 years ago we couldn’t even have one,” Meek said.
During the chamber’s Retirees Are Progressive Council meeting Wednesday morning, Mayor Barron Casteel also noted the city council is overall much younger than it ever has been.
“There’s only two members who are older than me,” Casteel said. “And I’m only 48.”
The new data also showed that in 2010 about 24.88% of Comal County was Hispanic, but that percentage grew to an estimated 27.75% as of July 1, 2018 — a 2.87% increase.
“Along with this general aging trend, we also see variation among race and ethnicity groups both in growth patterns and aging,” Rogers said.
The nation is growing more diverse, as the race and ethnicity composition changes, Rogers said.
Just from 2017 to 2018 alone, the Hispanic population grew by 2% — by 1.16 million — in the United States, due to high birth rates. The total number of Hispanics in Comal County grew from 38,718 in 2017 to 41,187 in 2018 — or by 2,469 people.
As a young Millennial mother married to a Hispanic, New Braunfels resident Amanda Arriola said she thinks it’s very cool to see the area becoming more diverse.
“Culturally, Hispanics tend to be very family oriented and have larger families too,” Arriola said. “I know my husband, who is from El Paso, loves it here in part because he has connected with many other Hispanics who he shares values with and with whom he can speak Spanish.”
Emily Diaz, another Millennial mother and New Braunfels resident, said she has definitely noticed the area growing younger.
“We built a house two years ago here and our entire community is pretty young,” Diaz said. “They also just broke ground on another phase of the community that was not planned when we initially started building that I’m sure will be another bunch of young families.”