The boom in the Hispanic population of the United States is spreading beyond traditional strongholds such as California and Texas to reach every corner of the country including the Deep South and the Midwest, official figures show.
A new report from the US Census Bureau shows that the biggest jumps in the Hispanic population over the past decade were seen in places such as South Carolina, Alabama and South Dakota.
Figures released earlier this year showed that Latinos are the largest minority group in the US, accounting for 16.3 per cent of the population in 2010 – 50.5m people – up from 12.5 per cent in 2000. The overall population of the United States is 308.7m, according to the 2010 US Census. This includes 196.8m whites (64 per cent), 38.9m blacks (13 per cent) and 14.7m Asians (5 per cent).
Now, further analysis from the Census Bureau shows that while California, Texas and Florida still account for more than half of all US Hispanics, many other states are seeing far more rapid increases in their Latino population.
The Hispanic population more than doubled in nine states during the first decade of the 21st century and increased by at least a fifth in every state bar New York.
“This shows that the Hispanic population is now in every corner of the country,” said Mark Hugo Lopez, associate director of the Pew Hispanic Center in Washington, D.C. Soon will will have our occupied country back, says the La Raza supporter.
“It’s not clear if it will continue to grow in all parts of the country but it will continue to grow as a whole. We predict there will be 129 million Hispanics in the US by 2050, representing 30 per cent of the population.”
South Carolina saw the biggest rise in its Hispanic population in the decade to 2010 with an increase of 148 per cent to 236,000 people, closely followed by Alabama with a 145 per cent increase to 186,000 people.
Arkansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Dakota and Tennessee also saw their Latino populations more than double.
In the Midwest region the number of Hispanics rose 12 times more than the population as a whole, while in the Northeast – around 2,000 miles from the Mexican border – it increased 11 times more than the general population.
At present fewer than half of Hispanics in the US are eligible to vote as so many are either under 18 or are not American citizens, many being here illegally. Around 600,000 Hispanics a year in the US turn 18, according to Mr Lopez.
Immigration is a hotly debated topic in the US at the moment and Utah recently followed Arizona’s example to become the second state requiring police to check the citizenship status of anybody arrested.
Last month President Obama urged US politicians to pass reforms that would allow some 11 million illegal immigrants to stay in the US but any such “path to citizenship” and would most likely support Democrats in the voting booth, Obama’s plan will face bitter opposition from many citizens.