The Hispanic population in the USA is growing. According to the Pew Research Center, in 2018 this segment of the American population reached nearly 60 million people and is closing in on a fifth of the total population (which makes it the second-largest population group after non-Hispanic whites). This increase in the size of the American Hispanic population is not surprising since, in the period 2008-2018, over half of the USA’s population growth (52 per cent) was made up of Hispanics. Since 1970 the growth of the Hispanic population has been rapid: that year the total Hispanic population was 9.6 million people (less than five per cent of the total population). In the next forty-eight years the Hispanic population grew six-fold to 59.9 million people in 2018.
However, the growth rate in the Hispanic population is slowing. From 2005 to 2010 the Hispanic population grew by 3.4 per cent, but in the eight years since it has slowed to two per cent. Even two per cent is higher than the growth of non-Hispanic whites (negligible growth in the last few years) and that of black Americans (one per cent per year in the last few years). Only Asian Americans have grown faster than Hispanics in the last four years (at 2.8 per cent per year). The growth is also unevenly spread: while the west of the country (Colorado westward) has seen its Hispanic population grow by 19 per cent since 2008, the South (the Virginias southward and across to Texas) has seen its Hispanic population grow by a third. The states with the fastest growing Hispanic population though are not in the South, instead they are further north and do not have significant existing Hispanic populations: North Dakota; South Dakota; the District of Columbia; Montana; and New Hampshire.
It is likely that the proportion of Hispanic Americans is set to continue to grow as immigration (legal and illegal continues). Aside from the heated migration debates there is also the fact that the Hispanic population in the USA is young: the median age of Hispanics is only 30, compared to 34 for blacks, 37 years for Asian Americans and 44 for non-Hispanic whites. And while the median age is climbing, it is still significantly lower than the rest of the nation. The American melting pot continues to bubble – and the USA’s population will look a bit more like its southern neighbours in the decades to come.
Marcus Roberts is co-editor of Demography is Destiny, MercatorNet's blog on population issues.