How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Latinos and population growth: Five interesting tidbits

Source: U.S. Census Bureau


News about the nation's growing Latino population has been rolling out almost continuously since the results of the 2010 Census were announced late last year.

First there was the speculation about who was driving population growth in some of the nation's most politically influential states. When ethnic and racial data was released earlier this year, it was revealed that Latinos in the United States now number more than 50 million.

The last few days have brought a fresh crop of Latino population growth headlines, these stemming from new data released by the U.S. Census Bureau last week. The gist: The Latino population in the U.S. rose by 15.2 million between 2000 and 2010, growing four times faster than the nation's overall growth rate and accounting for half the nation's population increase of 27.3 million since 2000.

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Report: U.S. population growth almost exclusively minority-driven

Art by Eric Fischer/Flickr (Creative Commons)


We already know that Latinos accounted for more than half the nation's population growth in the last decade.

Today the Pew Research Center broadened the minority growth picture in its Daily Number feature, distilling this nugget from the 2010 Census: The U.S. population growth between 2000 and 2010 was driven almost exclusively by racial and ethnic minorities.

From the post:

Overall, racial and ethnic minorities accounted for 91.7% of the nation's population growth over the past 10 years.

The non-Hispanic white population has accounted for only the remaining 8.3% of the nation's growth. Hispanics were responsible for 56% of the nation's population growth over the past decade. There are now 50.5 million Latinos living in the U.S. according to the 2010 Census, up from 35.3 million in 2000, making Latinos the nation's largest minority group and 16.3% of the total population. There are 196.8 million whites in the U.S. (accounting for 63.7% of the total population), 37.7 million blacks (12.2%) and 14.5 million Asians (4.7%). Six million non-Hispanics, or 1.9% of the U.S. population, checked more than one race.

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Latino, Asian voters still lag in turnout in spite of numbers

Source: Pew Hispanic Center

Source: Pew Hispanic Center

A report released yesterday by the Pew Hispanic Center on the Latino electorate in 2010 led to very different headlines as news outlets reported the results, and for good reason.

"Latinos voted in record numbers in 2010 elections," read the headline in USA Today. The headline in the Washington Post, "Latino and Asian voters mostly sat out 2010 election, report says," indicated a different story altogether.

But both interpretations are correct. According to the report, more than 6.6 million Latinos voted in last year's election, setting a record for a midterm election. Latino voters also made up a larger share of the electorate than in any previous midterm election. They represented 6.9 percent of all voters, up from 5.8 percent in 2006.

All that said, Latinos showed poorly at the polls when considering their sheer numbers - more than 50 million of them in the U.S., per the 2010 Census. From a summary of the Pew voter report:

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Do we live in the nation's most diverse city? It depends.

Photo by Chelsea Nicole Conner/Flickr (Creative Commons)

The skyline as seen from the Griffith Observatory, August 2010

As it promotes its special quarterly issue highlighting Los Angeles, the magazine GOOD recently posted an interesting short piece that examines how diversity is measured - and where, depending on the metrics, Los Angeles places among other large U.S. cities.

From the piece:

If you look at the total number of minorities in an area, Los Angeles does come out on top. According to county-level data from the 2007 U.S. Census, Los Angeles County has more Hispanic residents (4.7 million), Asian residents (1.4 million), and Native American residents (146,500) than any other in the nation. But that’s largely because Los Angeles County has more people, period. L.A. County has 9.8 million residents, nearly twice that of Cook County, Illinois, the second largest.

Another method is to look at the percentage of minorities in an area. By this measure, according to the online data repository City-Data, New York is the most diverse major city, with only 35 percent of residents identifying as “white only,” followed by Dallas, Chicago, and Houston. However, City-Data’s figures don’t jibe with the 2005 to 2009 U.S. Census American Community Survey, which places the New York figure at 45.4, behind Chicago’s 41.9 percent.

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Black or mixed race? Obama's census choice sparks debate over how people identify

Photo by rob.rudloff/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Barack Obama on the campaign trail in Pennsylvania, October 2008

More than a hundred comments have been posted so far in reaction to an interesting opinion piece today from the Los Angeles Times' Gregory Rodriguez on how "the most famous mixed-race person in the world," President Obama, identified himself racially on his census form last year. He checked off only one race, black. From the piece:

It could have been a historic teaching moment. Instead, President Obama, the most famous mixed-race person in the world, checked off only one race — black — last year on his census form. And in so doing, he missed an opportunity to articulate a more nuanced racial vision for the increasingly diverse country he heads.

The president also bucked a trend. Last month, the Census Bureau announced that the number of Americans who identified themselves as being of more than one race in 2010 grew about 32% over the last decade. The number of people who identified as both white and black jumped an astounding 134%. And nearly 50% more children were identified as multiracial on this census, making that category the fastest-growing youth demographic in the country.

To be sure, the number of people — 9 million, or 2.9% of the population — who identified themselves as of more than one race on their census form is still small. But the trend is clear.

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