According to analysis by the Pew Hispanic Center, new Census numbers indicate that the Hispanic population of the country is growing at a faster rate than was expected. NPR's Pam Fessler reports Latinos accounted for 58 percent of the population growth in the 33 states for which the Census has released 2010 numbers. Pam reports:
The 2010 Census found almost 39 million Hispanics in those states, about a half million more than estimated. The Census Bureau updates its once-a-decade count every year to reflect births, deaths and other demographic changes. These estimates are used for planning purposes and to distribute billions of dollars in aid. But there have been concerns in the past that certain groups, especially immigrants, have been undercounted.
The Pew Center says things have improved. The gap between the estimated Hispanic population ten years ago and the actual census count was much wider.
In 2000, the Washington Post reports, the estimate was 10 percent lower than reality. USA Today reports that Arizona, probably because of its tough immigration laws, lost latinos, but the paper paints a picture of a changing South:
The Census found 186,000 Hispanics in Alabama— 26,000 more than estimated. In North Carolina, Hispanics total 800,000, or 54,000 more than was estimated. Louisiana, where construction jobs soared after Hurricane Katrina, the Census counted 22,000 Hispanics — or 13.2% — more than estimated.
The underestimates show that immigrants continue to spread into the South and the Midwest from traditional gateways, such as California and New York.