Hispanic wave pushes them to 1 of every
7 U.S. residents
Arizona Daily Star
June 9, 2005
From condiments to politics, the
influence of Latino culture will be
difficult to ignore in the coming years.
Say hola to the 41.3 million
members of the nation's largest minority
group, the latest figures on Hispanics
the Census Bureau will release today.
Blacks are the second-largest minority
other words, one out of every seven
people living in the United States is
Although the number is record-setting,
the telltale signs of an impending surge
were all over. Salsa has been outselling
ketchup in the country for several
years. In Arizona, Josť has become the
most popular name for babies.
The bureau's report is not expected to
include state numbers. But the most
recent figures, released in September,
showed that 27.8 percent of Arizona's
5.6 million residents identified
themselves as of Hispanic or Latino
origin, up 2.5 percentage points from
The state's rising Hispanic population
mirrors the nation's upward trend.
"The impact is going to be tremendous
all over the country," said Dave
Rodriguez of the League of United Latin
"Hispanics in general want to contribute
to society," added Rodriguez, the
Hispanic advocacy group's national vice
president for the Far West region.
"We're very hardworking people,
protective of our families."
Nationally, Hispanics accounted for
one-half of the overall population
growth of 2.9 million between July 2003
and July 2004. That was a growth rate of
3.6 percent, compared with the overall
growth of 1 percent.
The population growth of Asians, who now
total 14 million, came in a close
The Census Bureau counts Hispanic or
Latino as an ethnicity rather than a
race; therefore Hispanics can be of any
race. The population of non-Hispanic
whites grew just 0.3 percent in the past
year, to 197.8 million.
Rodriguez said Hispanics slowly are
gaining clout in entertainment and
political circles. He pointed to the
recent election of Los Angeles Mayor
Antonio Villaraigosa, the son of Mexican
immigrants, as an example.
"We have immigrated to this country,
like all other cultures and we have
assimilated into society like all other
cultures," he said.
Experts say the rising numbers of
Hispanics largely can be attributed to
immigration, but higher birthrates also
are a factor.
Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for the
Federation for American Immigration
Reform, noted that the mass migration of
people into the United States over the
past 30 years is out of control.
"The issue of the ethnicity of the
people is not what concerns us - it's
the sheer numbers," said Mehlman, adding
that the country's immigration laws are
in dire need of reform.
Current immigration laws "don't take
into account the interest of people
Mehlman said the growing number of
immigrants poses a strain on resources,
including schools and the health care
"They have to be subsidized by the rest
of the population," he added.
Frank Felix, president of the Tucson
Hispanic Coalition, disagrees.
said many immigrants, whether they live
in the country legally or illegally,
take jobs no else wants.
"They contribute back into the economy
substantially," Felix said, adding that
they pay taxes like everyone else.
And as the purchasing power of Hispanics
grows, Felix said corporations and
government entities will need to pay
even more attention if they want to reap
the benefits of serving the Hispanic
"There's no one-size-fits-all," said
Felix, noting the diversity within
Hispanic culture of people with roots in
various Latin American countries bound
by a common language.
The Census Bureau estimates population
change using annual data on births,
deaths and international migration.
early July of last year, the nation's
population was at about 294 million.
Other racial and ethnic breakdowns: 240
million whites, 39.2 million blacks, 4.4
million Indians and Native Alaskans, and
980,000 Native Hawaiians and other
Pacific islanders. Of the people
counted, 4.4 million listed themselves
as having more than one race.