New Century Foundation - 1 - Hispanics: A Statistical Portrait
Hispanics: A Statistical Portrait
ispanics are the fastest-growing major popu-lation group in the United States, and haveoutstripped blacks as the largest minority.According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s medium ormost likely projection, they will account for one infour of the American population by 2050. Large ma- jorities of both legal and illegal im-migrants are Hispanic, and would bethe major beneficiaries of any pro-gram to offer undocumented resi-dents a path to legal status. In May,2006, for example, the Senatepassed S. 2611, which wouldamnesty10 million illegal im-migrants and triple legal im-migration from one million tothree million people everyyear.
Decisions on amnesty,guest-worker programs, orany other immigration-relatedmeasures will therefore deter-mine whether the United Statesretains its current demographic characteristics or be-comes increasingly Hispanic. These decisionsshould not be made without regard to the impactHispanics have already had on the United States.
In 2005, there were 42.7 million Hispanics in theUnited States, and they were 14.4 percent of a popu-lation that was 66.9 percent white, 12.3 percentblack, 4.2 percent Asian, 1.4 percent Pacific Islander,and 0.8 percent American Indian.
The great majority of Hispanics—66 percent—are of Mexican origin. No less than ten percent of the population of Mexico now lives in the UnitedStates, and one out of every seven Mexi-can workers migrates here.
Manymore would like to come: Accord-ing to a recent survey, almost half of all Mexicans said that theywould move to the United Statesif they had the chance.
The 33 percent of Hispanicswho are not from Mexico havemainly the following heri-tages: 17 percent LatinAmerican, nine percentPuerto Rican, and four per-cent Cuban (see figure to theleft).
The characteristics of these populations are oftenquite different, with Cuban im-migrants generally more economically successfulthan those from Mexico, Central America, or PuertoRico.Between 2000 and 2005, the Hispanic popula-tion increased at a rate of 3.7 percent a year, no lessthan 14 times the growth rate for whites and morethan three times the black rate.
This increase wasdue both to high birthrates and to immigration of about 800,000 Hispanics every year.
Much of this