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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Hispanic Boom: Not About Immigration

A new Census Bureau Report on demographic trends in the U.S. population came out yesterday, and the buzz is about its estimates and projections of a rapidly growing Hispanic population, fed by relatively high birth rates more than by immigration.
Hispanics now make up 15% of the U.S. population, up from 12.6% in 2000. More strikingly, one in five children now born in the U.S. are Hispanic.
62% of the increase in the Hispanic population since 2000 is atttributable to births in this country.
This is no longer the surprise it used to be, but the states with the highest percentage increases in Hispanic populations during the last seven years are mostly in the South.
By 2050, the Census Report predicts, Hispanics are expected to make up nearly a third of the working-age population. Indeed, Hispanic immigration and birth rates will immeasurably help cushion the impact of the retirement of the baby boom generation.
The political impact of the growth in the Hispanic population will obviously occur in stages, given that population’s youth, variable citizenship status, and relatively low levels of voting. And anti-Hispanic or anti-immigrant sentiment will likely continue to be concentrated in areas with visibly large Hispanic public school participation but low citizenship and/or voting rates.
But over time, Hispanic political clout is likely to grow at a rate that will marginalize anti-Hispanic or anti-immigrant appeals in most parts of the country.

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