According to the latest demographic information culled from the 2010 U.S. Census, the Latino population now totals 16.3% of the nation’s inhabitants. The Hispanic population increased 43% over the last ten years, growing from 35.3 million to 50.5 million. Demographers also reported that 56% of the country’s total population expansion in the last decade can be attributed to Latinos.
Even though the Latino population’s growth in raw numbers over the last ten years exceeded totals from previous decades, in terms of the growth rate percentage, the Hispanic population increased more slowly than in years past. For example, the Latino population saw growth rates exceeding 50% in the 1980s and 1990s; however, the first decade of the 21st century witnessed a slightly more modest 43% increase in the number of U.S. Hispanics.
Hispanics, who may self-identify with any race or ethnicity, constitute the country’s largest minority group. By race, 53% of Latinos – 26.7 million people – identified themselves as white only. The next biggest group, 36.7% (18.5 million) of Latinos, identified themselves as “some other race.” A further 6% endorsed multiple races/ethnicities.
In terms of geographic distribution, the majority of the Latino population remains in nine states with significant, established Hispanic communities: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York and Texas. The trend over the last decade, however, is one of dispersion, with the percentage of Latinos living in other states on the rise.
Southeast states including Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee and South Carolina registered some of the most impressive growth in the Latino population. Maryland and South Dakota also saw their Hispanic populations double over the last decade.
In six states – Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island – an increase in the number of Latinos constituted all of those states’ population growth. In the event that the Latino population had not multiplied, those states would have seen negative growth.
The census count of the U.S. Latino population was slightly higher than anticipated. The 2010 Census results for Hispanics yielded 955,000 more people than the Census Bureau had estimated for this segment of the population.
Source: The Pew Hispanic Center