New Census Milestone: Hispanics to Hit 50 Million

Hope Yen, Comcast News, March 24, 2011

In a surprising show of growth, Hispanics accounted for more than half of the U.S. population increase over the last decade, exceeding estimates in most states. Pulled by migration to the Sun Belt, America’s population center edged westward on a historic path to leave the Midwest.

The Census Bureau on Thursday will release its first set of national-level findings from the 2010 count on race and migration, detailing a decade in which rapid minority growth, aging whites and increased suburbanization were the predominant story lines. {snip}

Racial and ethnic minorities are expected to make up an unprecedented 90 percent of the total U.S. growth since 2000, due to immigration and higher birth rates for Latinos.

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Currently the fastest growing group, Hispanics now comprise 1 in 6 Americans; among U.S. children, Hispanics are roughly 1 in 4.

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Asians for the first time had a larger numeric gain than African-Americans, who remained the second largest minority group at roughly 37 million. Based on the 2010 census results released by state so far, multiracial Americans were on track to increase by more than 25 percent, to about roughly 8.7 million.

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The population changes will result in a shift of 12 House seats and electoral votes affecting 18 states beginning in the 2012 elections. Most of the states picking up seats, which include Texas and Florida, are Republican-leaning, even as most of their growth is now being driven largely by Democrat-leaning Hispanics.

Among other findings:

* In at least 10 states, the share of children who are minorities has already passed 50 percent, up from five states in 2000. They include Mississippi, Georgia, Maryland, Florida, Arizona, Nevada, Texas, California, New Mexico and Hawaii.

* Over the last decade, Latino population growth was most rapid in the South, where many states have seen their Latino populations double since 2000. For the first time, Hispanic population growth outpaced that of blacks and whites in the region, changing the South’s traditional “black-white” image.

* More than half of the cities with the largest African-American concentrations showed black population declines in the last decade, including Chicago and Detroit. In contrast, the suburbs of growing southern metro areas like Atlanta, Dallas and Houston saw some of their highest gains.

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