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.

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.

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