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Monday, 28 March 2011 13:57

Hispanic Population Now 50 Million

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A few weeks ago, CNN.com columnist Ruben Navarette averred that the United States is rapidly becoming an Hispanic country. “And it's happening,” he crowed, “much faster than anyone expected.”

Navarette based his conclusion on a report from the Pew Hispanic Center, which used the decennial census in 2010 to show that the Census Bureau’s estimate in 2009 of the Hispanic population was too low. 

The latest data from the Census Bureau show Navarette may well be right. The Census reports that the Hispanic population of United States is more than 50 million, about 16 percent of the total. As well, growth in the Hispanic population accounted for more than half this country’s population increase in the last 10 years. During the time, the number of Hispanics grew 43 percent.

Reports the Bureau’s “Overview of Race and Hispanic Origin: 2010":

More than half of the growth in the total population of the United States between 2000 and 2010 was due to the increase in the Hispanic population. In 2010, there were 50.5 million Hispanics in the United States, composing 16 percent of the total population (see Table 1). Between 2000 and 2010, the Hispanic population grew by 43 percent—rising from 35.3 million in 2000, when this group made up 13 percent of the total population.

The Hispanic population increased by 15.2 million between 2000 and 2010, accounting for over half of the 27.3 million increase in the total population of the United States. The non-Hispanic population grew relatively slower over the decade, about 5 percent. Within the non-Hispanic population, the number of people who reported their race as White alone grew even slower between 2000 and 2010 (1 percent). While the non-Hispanic White alone population increased numerically from 194.6 million to 196.8 million over the 10-year period, its proportion of the total population declined from 69 percent to 64
percent.

State Breakdown

Data reporting state populations show that the increase of Hispanics in some states was more than 100 percent, with the most heavily concentrated growth in the south, east of the Mississippi River.

South Carolina’s Hispanic population grew about 148 percent, making Hispanics 5.1 percent of the population. Alabama’s increase was 144.8 percent, making Hispanics 3.9 percent of the population, while North Carolina’s growth was 111.1 percent. Maryland’s Hispanic population increasd 106.5 percent; Virginia’s shot up 91.7 percent. Hispanics are 8.4, 8.2 and 7.9 percent of the population, respectively, of those three states.

Farther west Arkansas’ population of Hispanics increased 114.2 percent, while South Dakota’s population increased 102.9 percent. Hispanics are 6.4 and 27 percent of the population in those states.

The Census data show that states with traditionally large Hispanic population did not increase nearly as much.

Texas Writ Large

The Pew Hispanic Center’s analysis of Census data is consistent with this latest release, and in early March, The New American reprised the conclusion of what these data mean in general for states such as Texas.

Rice University demographer Steve Murdock, looking at the Hispanic population data in the Lone Star State, has concluded that “it’s basically over for Anglos.”

Murdock told the Houston Chronicle that demography will determine Texas’ destiny, which looks bleak for a simple reason: the white population is old and dying; the Hispanic population is young and growing. For one things, two-thirds of the children in Texas are "non-Anglo."

Today's Texas population can be divided into two groups, he said. One is an old and aging Anglo and the other is young and minority. Between 2000 and 2040, the state's public school enrollment will see a 15 percent decline in Anglo children while Hispanic children will make up a 213 percent increase, he said.

That does not bode well for Texas, the demographer said, because the income and educational level of Hispanics falls dramatically below that of whites.

Unless the trend line changes, 30 percent of the state's labor force will not have even a high school diploma by 2040, he said. And the average household income will be about $6,500 lower than it was in 2000. That figure is not inflation adjusted so it will be worse than what it sounds.

"It's a terrible situation that you are in. I am worried," Murdock said.

The question is whether the fate that Murdock predicts for Texas might also apply to the country as a whole.

Navarette offered his assessment after Pew published its findings:

One day soon, Hispanics will help define the worlds of media, politics, commerce, fashion, music, entertainment, sports and science. There will be no turning back.

But you knew that already. Maybe your first hint was the Latina models on magazine covers. Or that salsa is more popular than ketchup. Or the Spanish-language billboards you see on rural highways. Or that some members of Congress gather weekly for Spanish lessons.

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