WASHINGTON – The size of the U.S. Hispanic community grew by 3.1 percent in 2009 to 48.4 million people, or 15.8 percent of the total population, the largest minority in a country that is ever more diverse, the Census Bureau said Thursday.
The new data reflect how minorities continue growing, now comprising 35 percent of the total population.
The figures are the latest to be released before the 2010 Census data becomes available at the end of this year, information which will determine the new demographic geography of the country. This year’s census data will allow congressional representation to be adjusted and more than $400 billion in federal funds to be more fairly distributed.
Meanwhile, the new estimates reveal a country of larger and younger minorities, with Hispanics having the greatest growth rate due to their higher birth rate, rather than immigration, for instance.
Between 2008 and 2009, the nation’s Hispanic population increased by 1.44 million, a slightly smaller figure than the increase from the year before.
Even so, Hispanic represented 55 percent of the total growth in the U.S. population during 2009 and the larger portion of this increase, 68 percent, was due to births, not immigration, which has fallen off to some degree in recent years.
For the moment, non-Hispanic whites number 199.9 million, 65 percent of the U.S. population and 14 percent less than their percentage in 2000, when the country’s white non-Hispanic population was calculated to be 195.5 million.
In that year, minorities represented 17 percent of the total U.S. population and numbered 85.9 million people. Nine years later, minorities included 208 million people.
The demographic change is explained by the number of births among minorities, above all in the Hispanic community, which is growing at a faster pace than any other minority.
The growth rates reflect the fact that for every nine Latino births there is just one death of a Hispanic, while the country’s white population is merely maintaining itself at just about a zero growth rate.
These figures show that the largely white, baby boom generation is aging.
The average ages of various groups in the country are of considerable interest, with Hispanics’ average age being 27.4 years and Asians’ being 35.3 years, both relatively young, compared with the national average of 36.8 years, and an average age of 41.2 years for whites and 31.3 years for blacks.
The nation’s youth is also becoming more diverse, as demonstrated by the fact that 48.3 percent of the children under age five belong to minorities, but only 19.9 percent of the people 65 years or older belong to those groups.
Although Hispanics constitute the country’s “big minority,” blacks’ numbers grew 1 percent in 2009, compared with the previous year, totaling 37.7 million people and representing 12.3 percent of the population.
With regard to Asians, this group was the second-fastest growing, after Hispanics, with a 2.5 percent growth rate, but comprising 13.7 million people, making them the country’s third-largest minority.
The transformations illustrate the fact that the country is taking on an ever more diverse character, even more so when one takes into account that Americans are defining themselves more and more as belonging to different races.
Thus, people identifying themselves as of mixed race totaled 5.3 million, 3.8 percent more than the previous year, when there were 5.1 million people who viewed themselves in that way and far above the 3.8 million who placed themselves in that category in 2000.
By states, New Mexico, Hawaii, California and Texas, as well as the District of Columbia, have populations where minorities, when taken together, make up the majority of residents. EFE