The Hispanic population in the U.S. is growing at a rapid rate, and nowhere is that more evident than in the deep south where nine out of the ten fastest growing populations call home, according to Pew Research. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise given the U.S. has more immigrants from Latin American than the rest of the world combined.
The data compiled and analyzed by the Pew Hispanic Trends Project reveals that while the largest Hispanic populations are in unsurprising places like California and Texas, the fastest growing ones may not be that expected. Alabama, South Carolina, and Tennessee had the fastest growing Hispanic groups from 2000 to 2011 (the most recent data Pew could analyze) and South Dakota came in 5th as the only non-Southern top 10 state with a growth of 129% over the century’s first decade.
The following charts were compiled by The Huffington Post based on Pew’s data. It’s worth noting that these population growths may have been altered dramatically by recent state-level immigration reforms passed.
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Alabama passed one of the most draconian state laws aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration in 2011, following Arizona’s lead. The law prompted an exodus of Hispanic residents, according to The New York Times. Georgia — the state with the tenth-fastest growing Latino population, with 103 percent — passed a similar law the same year.
Also of interest is that despite these gains in other states, the population remains very dense with a handful of counties and states representing the lion’s share of the total numbers.
Today, the 100 largest counties by Hispanic population contain 71% of all Hispanics. Los Angeles County, CA alone contains 4.9 million Hispanics, or 9% of the nation’s Hispanic population. But the share of all Hispanics who live in these same counties has fallen from 75% in 2000 and 78% in 1990 (Fry, 2008), reflecting Hispanic population growth outside of these 100 counties.
Half (52%) of those counties are in three states—California, Texas and Florida. Along with Arizona, New Mexico, New York, New Jersey and Illinois, these eight states contain three-quarters (74%) of the nation’s Latino population. But with the dispersal of the U.S. Latino population across the country, this share too is down from 79% in 2000 and 84% in 1990.