Hispanics Fuel U.S. Population Rise

June 9, 2005: Hispanics Fuel U.S. Population Rise

(The conservation/environmental argument for stabilizing US population seems to have taken a back seat to discussions about language, displacing Americans from jobs, and the fiscal burden of immigrants on welfare, public healthcare, and public schools. But the environmental, carrying capacity reasons for stopping rapid population growth are as real today as ever.

With fuel costs rising, how many more people do we want here, to drive up demand? With drought periodically threatening various parts of the country, how many more people can tap into the water system without threatening the water supply needed to grow our food? With traffic congestion becoming ever worse, how many more roads and interstate lanes can we afford without breaking the bank and encroaching evermore on agricultural land and wildlands habitats? When is a country FULL, where further growth degrades the quality of life for its present citizens?)


Hispanics fuel US population rise
Hispanic growth is due to births as well as immigration

Hispanics account for about half the current growth rate of the US population, according to new figures released by the US Census Bureau.

Hispanics rose 3.6% to 41.3m in the year to July 2004. Overall, the US population went up 1% to 296m.

In 2003, Hispanics overtook blacks to become the largest US minority group.

The population growth for Asians ran a close second. The rises in both cases are attributed to higher birth rates and immigration.

In the 1990s, Hispanics accounted for 40% of the country's population increase. From 2000 to 2004, that figure grew to 49%.

Whites – 240m
Hispanics – 41.3m
Blacks – 39.2m
Asians – 14m
Native Americans – 4.4m
Native Islanders – 1m
Total – 294m
Source: US Census Bureau

But the Washington Post reports that in contrast to the 1990s, births in the US have now overtaken immigration as the largest source of Hispanic growth.

One academic specialising in US-Latin American relations saluted the boom.

“If we didn't have those elements, we would be moving into a situation like Japan and Europe, where the populations are greying in a way that is very alarming and endangering their productivity and endangering even their social security systems,” Lewis W Goodman told the Associated Press news agency.

Rising minorities

The Census Bureau classifies Hispanics as an ethnicity rather than a race, so Hispanics can be of any race.

This explains why the numbers for all races and ethnic groups do not match the total of almost 300m people who make up the US population as a whole.

The population of non-Hispanic whites indicating no other race increased just 0.3% in the past year to 197.8m.

Last year, the Census Bureau predicted that whites and minority groups overall would be roughly equal in size by 2050, with the Hispanic and Asian populations tripling by that time.