BY STEPHEN OHLEMACHER | ASSOCIATED PRESS
Heartland communities with jobs to offer are becoming magnets for Hispanics, who account for half the nation’s population growth.
Hispanics in the United States—both recent immigrants and people born here—are moving beyond traditional ports of entry in large numbers, boosting the populations of states such as North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia and Indiana, a study by the Brookings Institution shows.
And they not only are heading to big cities; many are moving to historically white, non-Hispanic suburbs, said William Frey, a University of Michigan professor and author of the Brookings study, which is being released today.
“The people there are now getting a taste of diversity firsthand,” said Frey, who analyzed U.S. Census Bureau population estimates from 1990, 2000 and 2004 for 361 metropolitan areas. He found:
In 2004, white non-Hispanics made up 67% of the U.S. population, but they accounted for only 18% of the population growth from 2000 to 2004. Hispanics made up only 14% of the population in 2004, while they accounted for 49% of the population growth since the start of the decade.
Blacks made up 12% of the population in 2004 and accounted for 14% of the population growth from 2000 to 2004.
Asians made up 4% of the population in 2004 and accounted for 14% of the population growth.
Those trends are expected to continue, with white non-Hispanics making up less than half the U.S. population by about 2050, according to Census Bureau projections. Los Angeles, New York, Miami and Chicago continue to have the largest Hispanic populations in the country. But Hispanic populations are growing faster elsewhere. From 2000 to 2004, Hispanic populations grew by more than 40% in Atlanta; Cape Coral, Fla.; Charlotte, N.C.; Indianapolis; Nashville, Tenn., and Raleigh, N.C.
Hispanics moved to those areas because their economies are creating jobs, said Roberto Suro, director of the Pew Hispanic Center, a research organization in Washington.