As reports from the 2010 Census roll in for each of the 50 states, there’s one major theme: a rapidly growing Hispanic population–one that’s even bigger than was predicted by experts. According to a new Pew Hispanic Center report, Hispanics accounted for 58 percent of the population growth in the first 33 states for which the U.S. Census Bureau has released data.
The underestimates were mostly in states where Hispanic populations are relatively new. In Alabama the count was 186,000, 16 percent higher than estimated. In Virginia the count was 632,000, 40,000 more than was estimated. A Pew Hispanic Center analysis showed that “Hispanic voters are nearly three times more prevalent in states that gained congressional seats and Electoral College votes in the 2010 reapportionment than they are in states that lost seats.” This was particularly evident in western and southern states.
These numbers affirm what many experts in the field of migration policy have been saying for awhile–Hispanics are relocating to states and areas with job opportunities, even if they have not traditionally been havens for immigrants or offer services for newcomers on the scale of traditional destinations such as Los Angeles or New York. Many have migrated into the suburbs, creating tensions within enclaves unaccustomed to immigrants and lacking services for them.
Simultaneously, traditional immigration magnets continue to attract Hispanics and – with the addition of first and second generations Hispanics – are rapidly changing demographics in California, where Hispanic children now account for more than half of all children.