A report released by the U.S. Census Bureau on June 20 indicated that the Hispanic population in the United States grew by 2.0 percent (1,164,289) between 2017 and 2018, reaching a record 59.9 million. The Hispanic population was the largest in Los Angeles County, California, with a population of 4.9 million in 2018. The largest numeric growth between 2017 and 2018 was in Maricopa County, Arizona (Phoenix), increasing by 34,395 people, or 2.6 percent.
For census classification purposes, those counted as “Hispanic” may be of any race, notes the Census Bureau report. The federal government treats “Hispanic origin” and “race” as separate and distinct concepts. In surveys and censuses, separate questions are asked on Hispanic origin and race. The question on Hispanic origin asks respondents if they are of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin.
An analysis of the date by Pew Research showed that between 2008 and 2018, the Hispanic share of the total U.S. population increased from 16 percent to 18 percent. Hispanics accounted for about half (52 percent) of all U.S. population growth over this period.
Pew used the term “Latino” as a synonym for “Hispanic” in its report, but the two terms are not completely interchangeable. To be precise, Hispanic refers to language and to someone whose ancestry is from a country where Spanish is spoken. Latino refers to geography, namely to someone with origins in Latin America. Brazil is in Latin America, but because Brazilians speak Portuguese and not Spanish, they are not classified as Hispanic.
Even though the population increase among Hispanics outpaced other groups (growing by 3.4 percent per year from 2005 to 2010), that increase has slowed to only two percent per year since then. Both the white and black populations grew at smaller rates than Hispanics. Only Asian Americans had faster population growth than Hispanics, with a 2.8 percent growth rate between 2015 and 2018.
An article posed by The New American recently asked rhetorically: “Will Nine New Hispanics for Every One New “White” in Texas End GOP Presidential Chances?” The premise of the article is that Texas — safely Republican in recent years and having the second-largest number of electoral votes of any state — is a “must-win” state for Republican presidential candidates. If a large increase of predominately Democratic-voting Hispanics in Texas flips the state from red to blue, there goes any chance for a Republican to win the White House in the future.
One hope for the Republican Party to escape extinction at the hands of Hispanic voters is to make inroads among them, as it did a few decades ago with other “ethnic” voters who at one time were almost exclusively Democrats. There is little the GOP can do about changes in demographics that are making our population more heavily Hispanic. But the Republican Party can and must demonstrate to Hispanic voters that it is more closely aligned with their values on moral and family issues than is the increasingly radical Democratic Party.
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