US Latinos seen topping 50 million

2011-03-24 22:21

Washington - The US Hispanic population is tipped to break 50 million for the first time, the 2010 Census is expected to report on Thursday, with most growth over the last decade driven by Latinos, analysts said.

The US Census Bureau is set to release first national findings from the 2010 Census later on Thursday. It is expected to show greater-than-expected growth for the Hispanic population, currently at around 47 million, analysts say.

"I think it likely that they will top 50 million and will account for most of the nation's population growth over the last decade," said D'Vera Cohn, senior writer at the Pew Research Centre think-tank, which has analysed data from 48 states so far tallied.

"This is a population that's young, whose growth is driven increasingly by births and not immigration. It's a population that's expanding into virtually every county of the country, and growing especially sharply in states where Latino's had not been a presence a decade or so ago," she added.

A preliminary breakdown of returns for 48 states that have so far reported showed that 56% of the overall population growth over the past decade is because of Hispanic immigration and childbirth, Cohn said.

Outstripped estimates

Fast growth among the Hispanic population is also keeping the population stable in states that would otherwise have shown a decline since the last full census in 2000, including Massachusetts and New Jersey.

"We are awaiting the results for New York, and its possible it could be true for New York as well," Cohn said.

A previous report by the Pew Hispanic Centre released earlier this month drawing on a partial tally found that the Hispanic population had outstripped estimates by the US Census Bureau, according to a study released on Tuesday.

The study found that the population in 33 states tallied totalled 38.7 million, 1.5% higher than Census Bureau's own previous estimates.

The gap between the Census 2010 count and the bureau's projections was widest in states in the Southeast and upper Midwest which had not previously had large Hispanic populations.

Hispanics are the largest and fastest growing minority in the United States. A previous Census Bureau projection forecast ethnic and racial minorities in the United States to become the majority by 2050, by which time nearly one in three US residents will be Latino.

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