July 30, 2002

Latino Growth In Metropolitan America

Changing Patterns, New Locations

The Latino population is rapidly evolving and that its demographic impact on the nation is changing quickly. Significant concentrations of Hispanics are no longer confined to a few regions such as Southern California or the Southwest, or only to a few cities like New York and Miami. Instead, in the coming years Hispanic population growth will most impact communities that had relatively few Latinos a decade ago.

• The Hispanic population is growing in most metropolitan areas, but the rate and location of increase varies widely. Four distinct patterns of growth can be discerned. Established Latino metros such as New York, Los Angeles, Miami, and Chicago posted the largest absolute increases in Latinos between 1980 and 2000. However, new Latino destinations like Atlanta and Orlando charted the fastest growth rates, despite their historically smaller Hispanic bases. Metros with relatively larger Latino bases, such as Houston, Phoenix and San Diego, meanwhile, became fast-growing Latino hubs during the past 20 years, with population growth averaging 235 percent. Small Latino places, such as Baton Rouge, posted much lower absolute and relative growth than the other locales.

• Fifty-four percent of all U.S. Latinos now reside in the suburbs; the Latino suburban population grew 71 percent in the 1990s. In 1990 the central-city and suburban Hispanic populations in the 100 largest metros were nearly identical, but during the next decade suburban growth so outpaced central-city growth that by 2000 the suburban Hispanic population exceeded the central-city population by 18 percent. New Latino destinations saw the fastest growth of Latino suburbanites.

• Hispanic men outnumber Hispanic women by 17 percent in new Latino destination metros where the Latino population grew fastest. By contrast, in slower-growing metros with large and well-established Latino communities, more Hispanics live in family households and gender ratios are more balanced.