US Hispanic population tops 50m

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Niccolo and Donkey
US Hispanic population tops 50m

Johanna Kassel in New York

May 26, 2011

The US Hispanic population grew of 43 per cent in 10 years, which is four times faster than the total US population, according to 2010 census data released on Thursday .

The Hispanic population increased by more than 15.2m people, which is more than half of the total US population increase of 27.3m. In terms of total population, people that reported being of Hispanic origin was 50.5m people, or 16.3 per cent of the total population of 308m.

The census counts all US residents, whether they are citizens, and if not, whether they are documented or not.

“A lot of this population growth is US citizens that were born in the US or are documented,” Patricia Foxen, associate director of research at the National Council of La Raza, said. “There is a misunderstanding that the majority of Latinos are undocumented immigrants.”

More than 73 per cent of Latinos are US citizens, she said.

In spite of the fact that more than half of the Hispanic population is concentrated in three states – California, Florida and Texas – there is newer, significant growth in other areas around the country.

“Change is happening on the ground all over the US, in some ways in the less concentrated areas is where the impact – social, economic and every day life impact – is happening,” Audrey Singer, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, said.

One of the key issues about the rapid Hispanic population growth is that it is overwhelmingly young, with more than 17 per cent in the US is under 18, according to 2009 data released by the Pew Hispanic Center . The median age of Hispanics is 27, compared to 41 in the white population, according to the same study.

“This is a population that is going to be the most important contributor to our labour force and most of the future growth of our workers will come from this group,” Ms Singer said.

There are also concerns about the economic impact the population boom could have, Josefina Saldaña-Portillo, an associate professor of Latino studies at New York University, said. She said the growing population can be a boon for the US economy in many ways, but because of inadequate educational opportunities, there is also a risk of some Hispanic groups getting “stuck in working class mode”.

The success of the younger demographic depends on early educational and workplace preparedness support.

“The majority of kids born to immigrants are citizens of the US and are here to stay,” Ms Singer said. “Their advancement hinges on how well they are prepared in school and in other ways. We’ve seen with this group what we have seen with other groups historically.”

In addition to the impact on workforce, the Latino population also has consumer power.

“Businesses are targeting us because we have buying power,” Julian Teixeira, director of communications at La Raza, said.

There are also political implications of the overwhelming youth within the demographic. “Hispanics for the first or second generation tend to be relatively progressive on social issues; they are a boon to the Democratic party,” Ms Saldaña-Portillo said.

The effect of this has also not been completely realised as much of the population has not yet reached voting age. “There is a lag,” Ms Singer said. “All eyes are on this group because it is such a fast growing group … and with the campaign season coming up and with emphasis on the Latino vote; this is something that everybody is watching.”

One more non-Hispanic president, then we will have Hispanics in the White House until the final dissolution

Team Zissou
Translation: More taxes, more schools, etc., taking perfectly content mestizo and Aztec working class and telling them it's the white man's fault they're not all neurosurgeons.