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Hispanic Population Passes 50 Million in US but Raises Question

Mar 24, 2011 – 5:01 PM
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Laura Parker

Laura Parker Contributor

WASHINGTON -- The Hispanic population topped 50 million for the first time, new census data shows, as Latinos became the second-largest population group in the United States.

The Census Bureau today released its final numbers for the 2010 census, which show how rapid growth of the Asian and Hispanic population dramatically transformed the U.S. into a more ethnically diverse country than it was 10 years ago.

The swelling Hispanic population made up more than half the 27.3 million increase in population in the U.S. since 2000. While the nation's population grew by 9.7 percent in the past decade to 308.7 million people, the Hispanic population grew by 43 percent to 50.5 million.

In this May 1, 2006 file photo, participants in an immigration rights rally walk under a giant American flag during a march through downtown Chicago.
M. Spencer Green, AP
Participants in an immigration rights rally walk under a giant American flag during a march through downtown Chicago on May 1, 2006. The Hispanic population grew by 43 percent to 50.5 million in past decade, new census figures show.
In at least nine states, the Hispanic population more than doubled. Large concentrations of Latinos live along the Atlantic seaboard, across the South, from Texas to California, and along the Pacific coast, said Nicholas Jones, a Census Bureau demographer.

A Fox News reporter asked what part of the soaring Hispanic numbers can be attributed to Hispanics in the country illegally, but Jones declined to speculate. He said the Census Bureau is still analyzing the figures.

The Asian population grew faster than any other race group. About 14.7 million people, or 5 percent, identified themselves as Asian alone.

In contrast, the non-Hispanic population grew by about 5 percent, and the white population all but stagnated, with an anemic 1 percent growth, the data shows.

The black population now numbers 38.9 million, or 13 percent.

Census Bureau Director Robert Groves announced the population center of the United States is still in Missouri -- where it has been for the past four decades. But it has moved 23.4 miles south and west from Edgar Springs, the population center in 2000, reflecting the general southwesterly migration of the population at large. The center is now in Texas County, 2.7 miles northeast of the town of Plato, population 109, Grave said.

In the last of the state counts to be released, the data showed New York state grew slightly to 19.4 million since 2000, while New York City's population inched up to 8,175,133.

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Mayor Michael Bloomberg disputed the count as too low.

Groves offered sympathy but said a more intensive dissection of data for New York and other cities where officials think the count is too low will occur later this year.

"This is the time that mayors receive counts that disappoint," Groves said, adding that Census Bureau demographers were seeing the numbers themselves for the first time today. "We haven't drilled down into them," he said.

Washington, D.C., grew by 5.2 percent in the past decade -- the first growth the city has experienced since 1950, when it experienced a 21 percent increase as a result of the boom in government jobs during World War II. The population reached 802,178 that year, and then began a 50-year decline, dropping to 572,059 in 2000.
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