While Dominicans left New York City over the past decade, Mexicans took their place, new population data released by the NYC Department of City Planning suggests.
Dominicans poured into the city for many decades. But for the first time, in the last decade, more Dominicans left New York City than arrived since 2000. And, Mexican immigrants, "nearly bumped them ahead of South Americans into third place among Hispanic groups," according to a report by the NYTimes.com City Room blog.
Latinos aren't just changing the demographics of the Big Apple, however.
Around the country, Latino population growth is shifting the makeup of both big cities and rural America. In Florida, for example, the Hispanic community now includes a fast-growing Puerto Rican, South American and Mexican population, which some say is threatening a Cuban stronghold on the political landscape in of Florida's largest cities.
"For years we lived in this world that was all about the Cubans," Democratic strategist Steve Schale told MSNBC.com. "[Florida's] changing mosaic is going to have an impact on our politics," he added.
When it comes to population shifts, it isn't just Hispanic's country of origin that has the Census Bureau and politicians paying attention. Across the country, the Latino population is larger proportionally to the non-Latino population than it has ever been.
In some congressional races in Texas, a rapid Latino birthrate (largely comprised of Mexican-American births) may have profound effect on certain congressional races.
"For the first time in the state's history, a quarter of all Texas congressional races will be held in specially designed districts where Latino voters make up the majority," LatinoVoices writer Janell Ross reported on Monday.
According a report by VotoLatino, all but six states in the U.S. experienced Latino population growth of over 40 percent between the years of 2000 and 2010. In most Southern states, the Hispanic population more than doubled. And, many Midwestern states saw huge increases in farming and manufacturing communities. Check out this interactive map, put together by NPR, which illustrates the trend.
Almost two-thirds of Latinos living in the U.S. describe themselves as "of Mexican origin." And, according to a 2011 report by the Pew Hispanic Center, "Nine of the other ten largest Hispanic origin groups—Puerto Rican, Cuban, Salvadoran, Dominican, Guatemalan, Colombian, Honduran, Ecuadorian and Peruvian—account for about a quarter of the U.S. Hispanic population."
Latinos aren't just changing the population, they're even changing how the population is measured.
While collecting population data, starting in 2000, the Census Bureau began to identify the white racial category as "white, non-Hispanic," and allowed for Latinos to use both racial and ethnic identifiers to categorize themselves. Alluding to a group of people of various racial backgrounds, the terms "Hispanic" and "Latino" most commonly describe those peoples united by the Spanish language and Latin American culture. Some groups of Latinos, such as Afro-Latinos, often self-identify in both racial and ethnic terms.
Ruben Rumbaut, a professor of sociology at the University of California at Irvine, told NPR last year that, "in the year 2000, persons that checked that they were Hispanic, when they answer the question on race, approximately 48 percent check white and another 43 percent check some other race."
Rumbaut concluded that race "is not a biological given category." Rather, he says, it's "a social and legal and political construction whose meaning changes over time."
<blockquote><strong>43% </strong>is the percentage increase in the Hispanic population between April 1, 2000, and April 1, 2010, making Hispanics the fastest-growing minority group. Source for all statistics: <a href="http://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/briefs/c2010br-04.pdf" target="_hplink">United States Census</a> </blockquote>
<blockquote><strong> 50.5 million</strong> is the size of the Hispanic population of the United States as of April 1, 2010, making people of Hispanic origin the nation's largest ethnic or race minority. Hispanics constituted 16.3 percent of the nation's total population. In addition, there are 3.7 million residents of Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory. </blockquote>
<blockquote><strong>132.8 million</strong> is the projected size of the Hispanic population of the United States on July 1, 2050. According to this projection, Hispanics will constitute 30 percent of the nation's population by that date. </blockquote>
<blockquote><strong>2nd</strong> is the ranking of the size of the U.S. Hispanic population worldwide, as of 2010. Only Mexico (112 million) had a larger Hispanic population than the United States (50.5 million). </blockquote>
<blockquote><strong>14 million </strong>is the size of the population of the Hispanic-origin population that lived in California in 2010, up from 11 million in 2000. </blockquote>
<blockquote><strong>96%</strong> is the percentage of the population of Webb County, Texas, that was Hispanic as of 2010. This is the highest proportion of any county in the country.</blockquote>
<blockquote> <strong>82</strong> is the number of the nation's 3,143 counties that were majority-Hispanic.</blockquote>
<blockquote>10.4 million is the number of Hispanic family households in the United States in 2010.</blockquote>
<blockquote><strong>35 million</strong> is the number of U.S. residents 5 and older who spoke Spanish at home in 2009. Those who <em>hablan español</em> constituted 12 percent of U.S. residents. More than half of these Spanish speakers spoke English "very well." </blockquote>
<blockquote><strong>26.6%</strong> is the poverty rate among Hispanics in 2010, up from 25.3 percent in 2009, and 23.2 percent in 2008.</blockquote>
<blockquote> <strong>14%</strong> the percentage of the Hispanic population 25 and older with a bachelor's degree or higher in 2010.</blockquote>
<blockquote><strong>47%</strong> is the percent of the foreign-born population that was Hispanic in 2009.</blockquote>
<blockquote><strong> 9.7 million </strong>is the number of Hispanic citizens who reported voting in the 2008 presidential election, about 2 million more than voted in 2004. The percentage of Hispanic citizens voting went from 47 percent in 2004 to 50 percent in 2008. </blockquote>
<blockquote><strong>1.1 million</strong> is the number of Hispanics or Latinos 18 and older who are veterans of the U.S. armed forces.</blockquote>