Thursday, October 23, 2008

'Latino Settlement in the New Century'

Hispanics Account for Half of U.S. Population Growth Since 2000, New Report Finds

WASHINGTON - Hispanics accounted for just over half of the overall population growth in the United States since 2000 - a significant new demographic milestone for the nation's largest minority group, a new Pew Hispanic Center report released today finds.

The report, "Latino Settlement in the New Century," includes a series of web-based interactive maps that illustrate the size and spread of Hispanic population growth since 1980, including easy access to detailed state and county-level data. It also presents a list of the counties with the largest Hispanic populations, as well as a list of those counties with the fastest-growing Hispanic populations.

In the 1990s the Hispanic population also expanded rapidly, but its growth accounted for less than 40% of the nation's total population increase in that decade. From 2000 to 2007, Latinos accounted for 50.5% of the total U.S. population growth, even though, as of mid-2007, they made up just 15.1% of the total population.

In another change from the 1990s, Latino population growth in this new century has been more a product of the natural increase (births minus deaths) of the existing population than it has been of new international migration, according to Pew Hispanic Center analysis.

The report identifies 676 fast-growing Hispanic counties among the nation's total of 3,141 counties. These counties all share two characteristics: a 2007 Latino population of at least 1,000; and an above-average Hispanic growth of at least 41% from 2000 to 2007. The list includes 148 counties that did not experience rapid growth in the 1990s.

There are both continuities and differences in the Hispanic settlement patterns of this decade, compared with the patterns of the 1990s. The dispersion of Latinos in the current decade has tilted more to counties in the West and the Northeast than it had in the 1990s. Despite the new tilt, however, the South still accounted for a greater share of overall Latino population growth than any other region did from 2000 to 2007.

Much of the Latino population growth in this decade has taken place in small and mid-sized cities and in suburbs - many of which had relatively few Latino residents until the past decade or two. A handful of big cities have also played a sizable role in Latino population growth in this decade. For example, the Latino population grew by more than 400,000 from 2000 to 2007 in just three counties: Los Angeles, Maricopa (Phoenix) and Harris (Houston). But because these counties already had a large base of Hispanic residents at the start of the decade, the growth of their Latino population since then has been less dramatic in percentage terms.

Percentage growth in the Hispanic population from 2000 to 2007 exceeded 300% in three counties - Frederick and Culpeper counties in Virginia and Paulding County in Georgia. These two states are home to eight of the 10 counties with the greatest percentage growth in the Hispanic population since 2000. The other two counties are Kendall County in Illinois and Luzerne County in Pennsylvania.

Other major findings include:
Hispanic population growth since 2000 has been widespread. The Hispanic population has grown in almost 3,000 of the nation's 3,141 counties.
At the same time, Hispanic population growth in the new century has been fairly concentrated. Hispanic population growth in just 178 counties accounts for 79% of the nation's entire 10.2 million Hispanic population increase.
In spite of dispersal to new settlements, the Hispanic population continues to be geographically concentrated. In 2007, the 100 largest Hispanic counties were home to 73% of the Latino population.
By this measure, Hispanics are more geographically concentrated than the nation's black population. Nearly six-in-ten (59%) of the non-Hispanic black population live in the nation's 100 largest non-Hispanic black counties.

The report "Latino Settlement in the New Century," is available on the center's website, www.pewhispanic.org.

source: Pew Hispanic Center press release
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