Hispanic Population Growth
In today's knowledge-driven economy a college degree is critical to the success of a competitive U.S. workforce. The international competitiveness of the United States will depend on the academic success of Latino students. The Latino community has experienced unprecedented demographic growth in the United States in the past five decades (Figure A), yet Latinos educational attainment has not kept pace over the past 40 years.2
According to the recent Census Bureau statistics, Latinos now represent one in six residents in the United States, a growth that is a result of both high birth rates and immigration patterns (Figure B).3 In the past decade alone, over half of the nation's growth is attributed to the increase in the number of Latinos in this country.
The majority of Latinos in America (70 percent) are native-born (Figure C), and this group increased 43.7 percent from 2000 to 2009. Figure D shows that in 2009 65.5 percent of Latinos in the United States were from Mexico, followed by Puerto Rico (9.1 percent), El Salvador (3.6 percent) and Cuba (3.5 percent).
The vast majority of Hispanics in teh United States are concentrated in a handful of states. The top four states by Latino population — California (14,013,719), Texas (9,460,921), Florida (4,223,806) and New York (3,416,922) — account for 61.6 percent of the total Latino population in the United States (Figure E). In comparison, the next six states by Latino population — Illinois (2,027,578), Arizona (1,895,149), New Jersey (1,555,144), Colorado (1,038,687) , New Mexico (953,403) and Georgia (853,689) — account for 16.5 percent of the total Latino population in the United States. Collectively, these top ten states account for 78.1 percent or more than three-fourths of all Latinos in the United States.
While these states represent a large share of the Latino population, many of the fastest-growing states in terms of Latino population are those in the southeastern United States. From 2000 to 2010, the 10 fastest growing states were Alabama (145.5 percent), South Carolina (144.8 percent), Tennessee (131.7 percent), Kentucky (119.1 percent), Arkansas (117.5 percent), North Carolina (111.5 percent), South Dakota (109.3 percent), Maryland (106.6 percent), Mississippi (104.6 percent) and Georgia (96.8 percent) (Figure F).
Latino youth now represent the largest minority group in U.S. K-12 schools and they are the fastest-growing segment of students (Figures G, H and I). In addition, Latinos accounted for more than 39 percent of all growth among children 16 and under in the past 10 years. Latinos are a youthful, largely bilingual population; with over 89 percent of the Latino children under the age of 18 in 2007 were born in the United States4. And while multiple generations of Latinos reside in the United States and Latino children are largely American born, the majority of Latino students in the K-12 system (52 percent in 2006) have at least one parent who is an immigrant.
2Gandara & Contreras, 2009. The Latino Education Crisis. Harvard University Press
3U.S. Census, 2010. The Hispanic Population: 2010.
4Aud, Fox, & Kewalramani, 2010.