Based on the 2010 American Community Survey, researchers at the non-profit Pew Research Center have developed a ranking system and map that depict important population and migration trends among the Latino population in the United States.
While the data reported a consolidation and increase of the Latino presence in long-time strongholds including California, Texas, Florida, New York City and Chicago, the latest population numbers also document tremendous growth in places like Atlanta, Georgia, whose 530,000 Latinos made up 10.8 percent of the total metro area’s population, and Charlotte, North Carolina, where 189,279 residents, or 9.7 percent of the population, were of Latino heritage.
In both Atlanta and Charlotte, people of Mexican origin constituted the majority national group of the Latino population, with 58.5 percent and 50.5 percent of the population share, respectively.
In 2010, El Paso ranked number 14 on the list of the top 60 Latino metropolitan areas. El Paso’s 662,000 Latinos constituted 82.3 percent of the overall population, with 30 percent of the Latino community born abroad. At 96 percent, Mexican-origin residents comprised the overwhelming majority of the Latino community.
Just across the state line in New Mexico, the Las Cruces area, which consists of Dona Ana County, came in at number 50 on the list. The 138,829 Latino residents represented 65.9 percent of the entire local population. With 25.1 percent of all Latino respondents reporting a foreign birthplace, Las Cruces’ immigrant population was proportionally smaller than El Paso’s, though not by a huge difference.
Four hours north of the US-Mexico border, Albuquerque placed number 26 on Pew’s list. New Mexico’s largest city was home to 411,000 Latinos who constituted 47.0 percent of the total population in an expanding metro area. Immigrants were a much smaller share of the overall Latino population than in either El Paso or Las Cruces, with 15.9 percent of the survey takers claiming a birth place outside the United States.
Another difference between Albuquerque and El Paso-Las Cruces, which together with Ciudad Juarez has emerged as a single metro area for all practical purposes, was that a greater percentage of residents claimed a Spanish heritage.
The two biggest U.S. Latino population centers were in Los Angeles-Long Beach, with 5.7 million residents out of a total of 12.8 million, and New York City-northeast New Jersey, with 4.2 million residents out of 17.8 million. Of the 60 U.S. metropolitan areas covered in the study, immigrants were the greatest percentage of the Latino resident population in the Miami-Hialeah area, with slightly more than two-thirds of the group born outside the country’s borders.
While Mexico still remains the recent or ancestral homeland of most US Latinos, significant numbers of people also trace their roots to Cuba, Puerto Rico, El Salvador and the Dominican Republic, among other places. The latest data compiled by Pew signify transcendental social, cultural, economic and political ramifications for the 21st century United States. Readers interested in the top 60 Latino metropolitan areas and accompanying map can go to:
Frontera NorteSur: on-line, U.S.-Mexico border news
Center for Latin American and Border Studies
New Mexico State University
Las Cruces, New Mexico
For a free electronic subscription:
e-mail [email protected]